Beautiful vintage Jeep Grand Wagoneer comes with a heck of an engine
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There's a new trend in classic cars — to rip out classic powertrains and replace them with something fully electric.
It's a trend that makes the motoring fibres in my being shiver. Surely half the point of buying and preserving a classic car is to retain the vehicle's original charm? Yes, sure, it's potentially more reliable and helps with 'future proofing' for when the automotive apocalypse comes and when petrol becomes an outlawed good. But ... no, it's not for me.
But, what about taking out an old engine and slotting in something of a similar leaning but from the modern world? Well, I can be a bit more sympathetic to that.
This giant American behemoth is a Jeep Grand Wagoneer — an institution of American summers over almost three decades (it was produced between 1963 and 1991) and a bit of a pioneer in the SUV space.
It was one of the first luxury and family orientated big off-roaders of the time, having been given sophisticated architecture (for the period) and a well appointed interior.
The lofty goals of the interior are plain to see in this Iris Blue 1984 example, with roominess and period charm complimented by Nutmeg leather, suede complimenting, and wood accents. Although, one look at the modern centre console spills the beans on what makes this Wagoneer different from most.
Yes. Despite the pristine vintage Americana aesthetic, this isn't your regular Grand Wagoneer.
The centre console comes from a much newer Ford Explorer, and is equipped with a few USB ports, a 12-volt charger, and more. Other modern interior mod-cons include a Polk audio system, a 10-inch subwoofer, and an amplifier.
But those aren't the only things capable of making a big noise on this Jeep. There's also the minor matter of what sits under the bonnet.
The Wagoneer came from factory with numerous inline six and V8 engine options. But none of them created quite as big of a bang as the 5.7-litre LS1 small-block V8 that came fitted to the 2001 Chevrolet C5 Corvette.
That engine and a four-speed automatic from the same car found its way into this Wagoneer, as part of what was clearly a quite comprehensive retrofit rebuild. This wasn't a back-alley job — rather, the Jeep's entire body was taken off its frame during the process. The frame was powder coated and repainted, fresh body mounts were installed, and new leaf springs, larger front and rear sway bars, and a more modernised braking system.
Combined with a contemporary engine making 260kW of power and 494Nm of torque, this would be a great road trip mile muncher.
Interest in this particular Jeep jumped up when it was recently listed for sale on American classifieds website Bring a Trailer. It eventually sold for US$61,000 (NZ$92,487) late last week.
Not bad for a slice of American motoring capable of turning heads and flexing a bit of muscle.