1983 Jeep Wagoneer Limited SUV

With Jeep about to introduce a brand new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, my thoughts turn back to the nowclassic eighties Wagoneers.

In addition to my historical interest, there’s a personal reason for these thoughts. Back in the eighties, I walked to my local high school almost every day. On cold winter mornings, I’d be trudging alone toward school, and sometimes I’d hear the quiet rumble of a Wagoneer’s V8 behind me along with a female voice. “Get in, John,” she’d say—and I would, grateful for the Wagoneer’s warmth and the lady’s company. I remember you, Patricia, and I hope you are doing well.

“The Ultimate Wagon.”

For 1983, Jeep’s Wagoneer gained a new Selec-Trac four-wheel-drive system, which replaced the decade-old Quadra-Trac system. Jeep also changed the Wagoneer’s trims. 1982’s base Custom trim was no longer available, with what had been the Brougham package now marking the base trim. The loaded Limited trim continued as the top of the Wagoneer line.

The standard engine for the Brougham was a 115 bhp 4.2 liter/258 ci inline six with a two-barrel carburetor. Optional on the Brougham and standard on the Limited was a 175 bhp 5.9 liter/360 ci V8 with a two-barrel carburetor. Mileage was, of course, awful, especially with the V8—the Limited got 12 city/16 highway by the standards of the day (10/12 by 2020 standards). With a 20.3-gallon fuel tank, a Limited owner could expect a range of 200 to 255 miles with a 10% fuel reserve. Wagoneers could go just about anywhere, but they couldn’t go that far. They also wouldn’t get there that fast: 0-60 mph took about 16 seconds.

1983 Jeep Wagoneer advertisement
1983 Jeep Wagoneer Limited magazine advertisement

The $13,173 1983 Wagoneer Brougham was about $34,800 in today’s dollars—almost exactly what a base 2020 Grand Cherokee goes for. Standard mechanical equipment included power variable-ratio steering, power front disc/rear drum brakes, and P225/75R15 white sidewall tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels with full wheel covers. Inside, Coventry checked cloth or Deluxe grain vinyl front and rear bench seats, Custom interior trim, Light Group, and an AM/FM stereo radio were included.

Moving to the upscale Wagoneer Limited added tinted glass, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, power windows, power door locks, air conditioning, and a premium audio system with electronic tuning. Limited trim and upholstery included leather bucket seats up front, power seats for the driver and front passenger, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and extra-thick 22-ounce carpeting in the seating area. All of this equipment raised the Limited‘s price to 44% to $16,889—$44,600 in today’s dollars, which is 2020 Grand Cherokee Limited X money.

Options for the Limited included halogen fog lamps ($82), a power sun roof ($1,637), an electric rear window defroster ($184), and a cassette tape player ($300).

Sales of the SJ Wagoneer were up by almost 28% in the 1983 model year, with the 18,478 produced marking 21% of overall Jeep production. Today, Wagoneers of this era have many adherents—in fact, there’s a company that makes its entire business restoring them. According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1983 Wagoneer Limited in #1/Concours condition is an astounding $40,600, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for $20,800.

SJ Jeep Wagoneers are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at auction. As I write this post, a Deep Night Blue with woodgrain sides 1983 Wagoneer Limited with nutmeg leather bucket seats and 115,000 miles is for sale on Hemmings for $42,500.

Make mine Deep Maroon Metallic, please.

I have written about one other Jeep in this blog—the 1982 CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck. Years ago, I wrote about the 1980 AMC Eagle station wagon.


1983 Renault Alliance sedan

A girlfriend of mine owned a light blue Renault Alliance, which she named “Pierre.”

“Driver appeal and room for five.”

Renault’s Alliance sedan debuted in 1983. Based on the Renault 9 and 11, the Alliance was re-engineered for the North American market and built in AMC’s Kenosha, WI assembly plant—the first front-wheel-drive car built there. The Alliance was available in four-door sedan and two-door coupe versions.

The Alliance’s only engine was Renault’s Cléon-Fonte 64 bhp 1.4 liter/85 ci inline four with Bendix central fuel injection, already over two decades old in its basic design. Transmissions for the sedan varied depending on equipment level; the L (there was no absolutely base sedan—only a coupe) came standard with a four-speed manual, while the better equipped DL and Limited came with a five-speed manual. All three models could be ordered with an automatic ($420 for an L/$325 for others).

Despite a curb weight of around 2,000 pounds, the Alliance was not a fast car. 0-60 times ranged between 15 and 17 seconds depending on transmission. On the other hand, fuel mileage ratings were impressive: the four-speed manual returned 37 city/54 highway by the standards of the day. Of course, applying modern standards lowers the numbers, but what would now be 29 city/37 highway still isn’t that bad. Interestingly, the five-speed manual didn’t do any better, despite the extra gear (it did help a little bit with acceleration and lowered noise at highway speeds). Even the automatic was reasonably efficient at 29 city/38 highway. With a 12.4-gallon gas tank, a new Alliance owner could expect a range of between 370 and 505 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.

1983 Renault Alliance advertisement

Standard equipment on the $6,270 Alliance L (about $16,500 in today’s dollars or about what a 2020 Toyota Yaris sedan goes for) included front-wheel-drive, rack-and-pinion steering, power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes, and 155/80GR13 tires (a size still available thanks to Kumho) on 13-inch wheels. Inside, vinyl bucket seats, a soft-feel steering wheel, a day/night mirror, and a trip odometer were included.

Moving up to the $6,905 DL added tinted glass, a dual-note horn, and 175/70SR13 tires (still readily available) with wheel trim rings. Inside, DL buyers got Deluxe six-way cloth reclining bucket seats, a color-keyed remote left mirror, a soft-hub steering wheel, a tachometer, and a digital clock.

The top-of-the-line Limited ($7,470) included halogen headlamps and Luxury wheel covers. Inside, Light Group, Visibility Group (dual remote mirrors, lighted visor mirror, and intermittent wipers), textured cloth reclining bucket seats, a rear center armrest, and luxury door panels were included.

Individual exterior and mechanical options for the Alliance included two-tone paint ($199) and power steering ($199). Inside, power door locks ($170), speed control ($170), rear defroster ($130), air conditioning ($630), and a variety of radios were available. Leather bucket seats were available for the Limited only and set the buyer back $413.

Early on, the Alliance received many good reviews—in fact, it was Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year for 1983. Obtaining this particular plaudit led Renault to (really!) build an MT special edition for the Alliance late in the model year. MT-specific equipment included charcoal gray metallic paint, a decklid luggage rack, painted aluminum wheels, and a right-hand remote mirror. Inside, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an electronic-tuning stereo radio with six speakers were included.

Those initial positive reviews of the Alliance have not aged well, and many disparaging articles have been written about MT‘s choice. They were not alone—Car and Driver included the Alliance on their 1983 “10 Best” list (26 years later they apologized). Perhaps reviewers of the day wanted the idea of the Alliance to work so much that it clouded their judgment of the actual product delivered.

I have not seen an Alliance in over a decade. Alliances rarely show up for sale in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors—in fact, they seem to have virtually vanished, despite the 623,573 made between the 1983 and 1987 model years.

Another Renault I have written about is the 1982 Fuego hatchback coupe. I’ve also covered the 1980 AMC Eagle station wagon and the 1982 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler pickup truck.

1980 AMC Eagle station wagon

“The Eagle has landed … on all fours!”

Essentially (and brilliantly) an AMC Concord with 4-wheel drive, the 1980 AMC Eagle came standard with AMC’s 4.2 liter/258 ci carbureted inline six, making a grand 100 bhp, giving a 0-60 time of around 15 seconds, and returning 16 mpg by the standards of the day. A three-speed automatic was the only transmission available to help move the almost 3,500-pound vehicle.

Station wagon page from the 1980 AMC Eagle brochure, courtesy of the Old Car Manual Project’s amazing brochures section.

The Eagle was available in all the Concord’s body styles, so buyers had a choice between the 2-door sedan, the 4-door sedan, and the 4-door station wagon. Standard equipment at a base price of $7,168 (for the 2-door) included power steering, power front disk brakes, and 15-inch wheels. Moving to the Limited trim level (an extra $400 or so) added a tilt steering wheel, power door locks, and snazzier interior appointments. Options included air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, and an Eagle Sport package.

The Eagle had a 3-inch taller ride height than the Concord and came with a stone/gravel deflector under the front bumper and 3-inch wide fender flares. It was a significant hit for AMC in 1980, selling over 46,000 units, with the station wagon configuration selling about 56% of that total. AMC would sell them through the 1988 model year for a total of almost 200,000 built.

AMC Eagles show up with some consistency in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds and on eBay Motors. As I write this in January 2014, there are no 1980 Eagles, but there is a Cardinal Red 1982 2-door sedan with 44,000 miles for sale for around $7,000.