Derived from the CJ-7, with a 10-inch longer wheelbase and extended rear overhang, the CJ-8 Scrambler was initially available as a pickup with a bulkhead behind the seats. Buyers could choose either a hard fiberglass pickup cab with steel doors or folding vinyl pickup top with vinyl doors. Its introduction in 1981 meant that it preceded all other domestic-made compact pickups by at least a year (the Chevrolet S-10 was introduced in 1982 and the Ford Ranger was a mid-year introduction for 1983). Later, a full-length hard fiberglass wagon roof was made available, but very few were fitted. By and large, the majority of Scramblers were hard cab pickups.
Powertrain availability and options generally mirrored both its CJ-7 and CJ-5 stablemates. As such, only for the introductory year was the AMC 304 cid V-8 available as an option. Trim packages, however, were generally unique and limited on the Scrambler. Aside from the plain entry level model, a SC Sport and SL Sport were also available. Both featured “SCRAMBLER” decals on the hood sides, but the SL also had most fittings in chrome, to include the grille and bumpers. During 1982, the Laredo package was also made available on the Scrambler, becoming Jeep’s top end trim package for all models.
The Scrambler never saw large sales (even for Jeep) and was dropped for 1986. In addition to low sales, it was also dropped because Jeep’s new Cherokee/Wrangler based pickup – the Comanche – had just been introduced.