Jeep’s Wagoneer Roadtrip Concept is time travel done right
While the Range Rover became the world’s first luxury SUV in 1970, the 1964–91 Jeep Wagoneer was already a pioneering station wagon with a raised body and four-wheel drive, furnishing customers with more versatility than any Jeep before. Luckily for fans who have been missing it from the lineup since the early ’90s, the Wagoneer badge is now set to make a comeback next year. Yet until we can drive the new thing, Jeep decided to grant us its ultimate nod to the ’60s original, as shown on the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.
Based on a 1965 model found on Craigslist, this Wagoneer Roadtrip is part of a whole fleet of custom vehicles built for Moab’s annual Easter Jeep Safari. What makes it stand out from all those classic woodies is not simply the lack of such classic trim but also its extended wheelbase. While retaining the original ’65 frame, the team of Jeep designers led by Mark Allen and Chris Piscitelli pushed both axles further out, making room for its 33-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires and compensating for the donor Wagoneer’s raised platform. The Roadtrip’s flared fenders cover the widened and raised wheel wells, which also called for a complete redesign of the wagon’s rear quarter. Flipped Chevy C10 bumpers complete the look, along with a ski rack, fitted luggage and a toolbox fabricated from the valve cover of the original Tornado straight-six.
Under the new bottom half of the metal are mostly Wrangler JK Rubicon mechanicals, including a four-link coilover suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and a manual transfer case with locking differentials, front and rear.
Finally, Jeep went for its 5.7-liter crate Hemi for this built. Knowingly that there’s already a Hellcat-powered 1989 Wagoneer out there, the design team felt the combination of a 380-horsepower, naturally-aspirated V-8 engine and an automatic gearbox was the right call for their retro crowd pleaser. Jay Leno seems to agree with them:
Looking for a late model Jeep Wagoneer to start your own adventures with? Values of those 1984–91 models are on a rise, so don’t forget to check out our detailed buyers’ guide before heading to Craigslist—the same place where Jeep finds its classic projects.