The Jeep Wagoneer was the first luxury 4x4, sold and produced through numerous marques from 1963 to 1991. A "sport utility vehicle" (SUV) for decades before the term was even coined, the 4WD Wagoneer saw only minor mechanical changes during its 28-year plus production run, the third longest in US automotive history.
The Wagoneer pioneered the sport utility vehicle marketplace, the most car-like 4x4 in spite of its massive boxy shape. Compared with offerings from International Harvester and Land Rover — which were producing utilitarian work-oriented vehicles with spartan truck-like interiors — the Wagoneer's luxury set it apart. Based on the Jeep SJ platform, the revolutionary Wagoneer sported an advanced overhead cam inline 6 cylinder, and offered features unheard of in any other 4WD vehicle made it at the time such as power steering and automatic transmission.
The Wagoneer made its debut seven years before Land Rover launched its Range Rover in Great Britain, and 24 years before that upscale marque appeared in the United States. It was succeeded by the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Grand Wagoneer was produced from 1984 until 1991.
Chrysler bought out American Motors on March 2, 1987. Despite its advancing age the Grand Wagoneer remained popular. Chrysler largely left it untouched over its few years overseeing Grand Wagoneer production from the final setup under AMC's watch, and even continued to build the Grand Wagoneer with the carbureted AMC V8 instead of its own (and, arguably, more modern) fuel-injected V8s. Year-to-year changes were minimal. At the time of Chrysler's purchase, customer demand for the Grand Wagoneers continued to be steady, and it was a very profitable model generating approximately five to six thousand dollars on each unit.
The 1987-1991 model years "are considered the best of the breed" due to a number of upgrades. These include upgraded wood siding and modernized aluminum wheels that lost their gold colored inlays in favor of gunmetal grey metallic. All exterior colors were now applied in a two stage base/clearcoat system.
Finally, a number of further improvements were made for the 1989-1991 model year series including a quality replacement for the earlier, leak-prone air conditioning compressor, the addition of the visually identifiable rear wiper assembly, as well as a general improvement in fit and finish. An interior overhead console, taken from Chrysler's popular minivans, was also added. This functional console featured much brighter map lights, an outside temperature sensor and compass, and an infrared remote-controlled key-less entry system.
The last model years also featured new paint colors. These "new" colors included the rare Hunter Green metallic that was only available in the 1991 model year and is the paint color of the 91 Grand Wagoneer in the Chrysler museum, as well as the color of the very last Grand Wagoneer ever made, which was a significant part of the historic collection at the National Automobile museum.