New book delves into original Wagoneers, Gladiators, and other Jeeps

A new book from the founder of Mopar site—and this site, aCarPlace—delves into the origins of classic Jeeps, including the innovative, twinned Wagoneer and Gladiator—vehicles which lasted for decades in almost their original form, aside from a few engine swaps.

Published by Enthusiast Books, the history covers the modern incarnations of the famed go-anywhere 4x4s made by Willys, Kaiser, AMC, and Chrysler. It’s available from numerous sources, including Amazon, the writer’s own page (which includes the Dodge Viper and minivans book), and the publisher.

The 126 pages are filled not only with history and technical details, but also with original photography and well-reproduced brochures and advertisements from “back in the day.”

To quote the publisher:

As Jeep sales have skyrocketed in recent years, the company has put more money and muscle behind vintage names like Wagoneer and Gladiator, and has jumped into pickups as never before. But what made their past vehicles good enough to bring their names back now?

The Wagoneer and its companion, the Gladiator pickup, were well ahead of their time in technology, the first 4x4s with an independent front suspension and automatic transmission. Updates through the years kept them at the forefront of 4×4 technology, but their tough, go-anywhere nature never changed over a long, long product run. The Wagoneer name was also attached to the revolutionary “XJ” series; more commonly associated with the original Cherokee, these tough wagons were an efficient, lightweight unibody design, but were just as capable off-road as the senior Wagoneers.

Wagoneer, Gladiator, Comanche, and Scrambler dives into what made the “XJ” and “ZJ” Wagoneers special—and how they differed from the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. With the new Gladiator making a splash, it’s time to look back on Jeep’s pickups, not just the original Gladiator, but also one of the most innovative trucks ever made: the Comanche. It shared a great deal with the Cherokee, but clever design gave it both superior ground clearance and the lowest bed height of any comparable 4×4 pickup. The book also covers the CJ-8 Scrambler, which is possibly more popular off-road today than it was at dealerships when it was made. This book traces the history and present state of some of Jeep’s newest vehicles, including the upcoming Wagoneer and the new Gladiator, and some of its most famous and most-loved, with original and period photography; it’s a “must-have” for any Jeep enthusiast.


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