The Jeep Grand Wagoneer Was One of the Last Carbureted Cars Sold New in the US

Jeep first brought out this luxury 4x4 in 1963. It didn't change much over its near three decades in production.

image
The Smoking TireYouTube

The fact that in 1991, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer came equipped with a carbureted 360ci V-8 that dated to the 1970s tells you a lot of what you need to know about this truck. Even 30 years ago, it was old. Over at The Smoking Tire, Zack Klapman gets his hands on a lovely 1991 Grand Wagoneer owned by . It's an experience.

Musto points out that the Grand Wagoneer first arrived for 1963, and it basically remained unchanged until 1991. The styling was updated a little bit here and there, and the interior was upgraded in places, but mostly, it was a 1960s solid-axle 4x4. Consequently, the Grand Wagoneer drives exactly like you'd expect. It'll hold a steady cruise at 70 mph on the highway, but anywhere else, it doesn't like to be hurried. Better to drive slow and let people admire the timeless styling. And be sure to plan your braking well in advance.

But even though the Grand Wagoneer was old-school, it was an innovator and an icon. Pre-dating the Range Rover by almost a decade, the Grand Wagoneer was the first luxury SUV, and its unchanging styling helped it become a status symbol for the American upper class. Even today, one of these still looks perfectly at home in a place like Nantucket. You can see why Jeep wants to bring it back.

Oh, and on the subject of the last carbureted cars sold in America, that determined the last was the 1994 Isuzu pickup. The Grand Wagoneer, along with a Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, probably had the last carbureted V-8 sold in a new US-market car. It was the old AMC V-8, which in this, its final iteration, made 144 horsepower. Paired with a three-speed auto, you'd be happy to get more than 10 MPG in your Grand Wagoneer. Expect better from the new one when it arrives in 2021.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Vintage