1962 – 1983 Grand Wagoneer (SJ)
The 1960s introduced the Jeep® Wagoneer in 1962, an instant classic designed by Brooks Stevens and advertised as “All-New, All-Jeep.” It featured the first automatic transmission and independent suspension in a 4×4 vehicle.
In 1962, the Jeep® Brand introduced the Wagoneer—the father of all luxury 4×4 SUVs. Replacing the Willys utility wagon lines, the Wagoneer was designed to provide passenger-car styling, comfort, and convenience with the advantages of four-wheel drive (4WD).
The revolutionary Wagoneer was filled with innovation and industry firsts: the first automatic transmission in a 4×4 vehicle; the first overhead-cam six-cylinder truck engine, the first 4×4 vehicle with an independent front suspension; the first automatic full-time 4×4 system. The revolutionary Quadra-Trac® 4×4 system, introduced in 1973, was available in full-size Jeep® Brand trucks and wagons, and later in the CJ-7.
Jeep Wagoneer ‘Ski Rack’
Styled by the famed industrial designer Brooks Steven, the Wagoneer captured the public imagination with its modern styling and good looks. The entire line of “Senior” (SJ) vehicles included the Gladiator and J-Series Trucks, Wagoneer Station Wagons, Panel Deliveries, and early Cherokee models.
The SJ line was in production for more than 28 years with only minor technical changes and when production ended–was the longest continuous automotive production run, on the same platform, in U.S. automotive history.
The Wagoneer was renamed the Grand Wagoneer in 1984 to coincide with the introduction of the downsized Wagoneer and Cherokee (XJ) models.
In 1969, Kaiser Jeep started a “Jeep® Great Escape” advertising campaign showing the variety of recreational uses of Jeep vehicles. Kaiser Jeep sold the company to American Motors (AMC) in 1970 for approximately $75 million. Four-wheel-drive vehicles were becoming very popular – by 1978, AMC was producing 600 vehicles a day. In 1972, the Quadra-Trac® 4×4 System was introduced, the first automatic full-time four-wheel-drive system.
FULL-SIZE JEEP® BRAND 4×4
The new Cherokee was a sporty, two-door version of the Wagoneer and featured bucket seats, a sports steering wheel, and racy detailing designed to appeal to younger, more adventurous drivers.
In February 1974, the Jeep® Cherokee was the 1st vehicle to win Four Wheeler magazine’s Achievement Award that we know today as the Four Wheeler of the Year award.