Over the next decade, the 1967-1977 Jeep Wagoneer underwent many changes. Two-wheel-drive models put in their final appearance in 1967. The two-door Wagoneer, never a big seller, was discontinued after the following season.
The 1972 Jeep Wagoner Custom had an impressive
But bigger changes began after American Motors bought Kaiser Jeep Corporation in 1970. American Motors Chairman Roy D. Chapin, Jr., saw great opportunities in the sport-utility market and ordered his engineers to upgrade and refine the Jeep line.
The base six, meanwhile, became the corporate 258-cid, 150-bhp unit. In mid-1970, an electric sliding steel sunroof became an option, possibly the first offered on an SUV. Interiors were upgraded, and AMC engineers made special efforts to solve noise and vibration problems.
One important result of the AMC buyout was the merging of the Jeep dealer group into AMC's larger sales network. Many more dealers were now retailing Wagoneers. As a result, sales increased at a steady pace throughout the Seventies.
Innovations kept on coming, too. In 1973, Wagoneer got the new Quadra-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive system. It eliminated the need to shift in and out of four-wheel drive, endearing it to drivers intimidated by the shift levers of conventional 4×4s. Not that Quadra-Trac was only for suburbanites.
After testing a Quadra-Trac-equipped Wagoneer, Pick-up Van & 4WD declared it "the best 4WD vehicle in the world." Quadra-Trac started a trend. Today, all premium SUVs offer full-time four-wheel drive.
The following year, a 175-bhp, 360-cube V-8 became the standard Wagoneer engine, with a 235-horse 401-cid powerplant ushered in as the step-up option. Quadra-Trac joined the standard-equipment list in 1975.
To compete with the new breed of truck-based SUVs like the Chevy Blazer and Dodge Ramcharger, Jeep brought out the Cherokee -- a virtual revival of the two-door Wagoneer -- in 1974.
When a four-door Cherokee was added in 1977, the Wagoneer was reduced to a single model with appointments roughly equivalent to those of the former Custom version. That isolation wouldn't last long, though.
Continue on to the next page to read about the 1978-1979 Jeep Wagoneer Limited.
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