The following year saw the first significant changes with the 1965 Jeep Wagoneer. At introduction, nothing seemed different on the surface.
The 1965 Jeep Wagoneer boasted improved
safety and performance features.
But the optional Jeep Vigilante engine arrived and that was welcome news. The new engine was the two-barrel-carburetor version of the American Motors 327-cid V-8 that made 250 bhp. Along with the V-8 came a new optional automatic transmission, General Motors's excellent Turbo Hydra-Matic.
Motor Trend's test of a V-8/automatic Wagoneer yielded a 14.5-second run to 60 mph. Fuel economy ranged from 11.5 to 15.2 mpg. "These added horses let the Wagoneer cruise quietly and effortlessly at 75 mph, give it bags of low-speed torque (340 pounds-feet as compared to 210 for the Six), enable it to crawl up any hill it can get traction on," wrote Motor Trend's Bob McVay.
The Tornado OHC remained the standard engine. Both engines came with a three-speed stick as standard. Overdrive was offered with either engine, though again only on two-wheel-drive models. Wagoneers equipped with the six continued to offer an automatic, though not the new General Motors unit.
Later that same year, Wagoneer was given a handsome new full-width grille. At the same time, the Tornado OHC was replaced by AMC's more powerful 232-cid, 145-bhp seven-main-bearing ohv engine, which Jeep dubbed the Hi-Torque Six.
A new standard safety package included padded sun visors and dash, seat belts front and rear, two-speed electric wipers with washers, back-up lights, chrome outside mirror, safety-glass windshield, and dual-circuit self-adjusting brakes.
For the first time, a low range was offered for four-wheelers ordered with the automatic transmission.
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