- Written by webmin
Image via oldcarbrochures.com
You knew this was coming, especially after the Jeep ad insert scan I posted last month. Yes, SUVs have been with us in highway-clogging numbers for a quarter-century now, and the model that many auto historians hold responsible for popularizing the compact SUV is the Jeep Cherokee, known to its fans as the XJ.
Introduced in 1984, the boxy Cherokee recycled an old Jeep name, but that, its four-wheel-drive capability, and the slotted grille were about all it shared with previous Jeeps. It was the first Jeep with a unibody structure, making it stiffer and less expensive to produce than a conventional body-on-frame SUV. As with most vehicles in their sophomore years, the 1985 models saw only minor refinements: the introduction of a cheaper two-wheel-drive version and the addition to the option sheets of an intercooled turbodiesel four-cylinder from Renault. The two gas engine selections – AMC’s carbureted 150-cu.in. four-cylinder and GM’s carbureted 2.8L V-6 – carried over from 1984. While the XJ debuted to an excellent reception – 93,326 sold in 1984 – it easily topped that figure in 1985 with 120,328 sold.
But popularity doesn’t necessarily equate to collectibility, as we all know. Most XJ enthusiasts prefer the later 4.0L-powered versions, and the revolutionary XJ unibody is prone to severe headache-inducing rust.
So do 1985 Jeep Cherokees deserve a spot on the Class of 1985, or should the XJ be held back a few years? Let us know in the comments below.
As for last week’s candidate for the Class of 1985, the Chevrolet Corvette, 86 percent of you who voiced your opinion believed that it should indeed be hallowed as a collector car, so we have our first inductee. We’ll tally your votes for this week’s candidate just prior to presenting next week’s.
BTW, speaking of 1985 Jeep Cherokees: obligatory Goonies reference.