Jeep Grand Cherokee Manual: It Exists

Jeep Grand Cherokee Manual: It Exists

I never knew about this. In fact, I still wouldn’t know about this if not for Christian Hepler, a vigilant reader from the Gaithersburg, Maryland, area who, like me, clearly spends way too much time on eBay.

The “this” I am referring to is a stick-shift Jeep Grand Cherokee. For those of you who also didn’t know about this, and therefore think it’s some sort of bizarre transmission swap, I can assure you this is not the case. Apparently Jeep really did offer a manual transmission on the first few Grand Cherokee models, including a full complement of three pedals, a tachometer, and a gear lever that resembles a hockey stick in both shape and size.

The real crime here is that Christian sent me the eBay listing AFTER the auction had ended, which is a shame, because this thing would’ve been pretty cool to bid on. Oh, sure, the speedo only goes up to 100 miles per hour, and the controls look like they’re from the 1970s, not the 1990s. And yes, it’s finished in a paint shade that the owner identifies as “Wild Berry Metallic,” which sounds like a statue they might have at the corporate headquarters for Gushers.

But this is still very much the kind of vehicle I would want to buy, or at least test drive to find out just how awful that gear lever really is. And so, if you see another of these come up for sale, let me know. That’s unlikely, though, considering they only made about 1,000, and 975 of those are probably rusting away in a junkyard with the rest of Chrysler’s forgotten products.

20 Responses to “ “Jeep Grand Cherokee Manual: It Exists”

  1. Craig says:

    I owned a 1996 Explorer 4-door 4×4 with a 5-speed stick. It was a great truck, and truly one of a kind out of the 400,000 Exploders that Ford made that year. It had dealer installed leather and moonroof. I bought it with 140,000 miles, put 30,000 on it, and sold it to a buddy who drove it for a few more years. It was pretty much bulletproof except for the clutch slave cylinder, apparently those were problematic on the Mazda 5-speed. It was great for off-roading to have low range + the manual. It did suck for towing, as it lowered the capacity quite a bit.

  2. Sammy B says:

    I’m with you, Doug. I had no idea this existed! Very cool…but not in a “I want to buy that” kind of way. I’ll wait to get my hands on a 5MT Previa (this will compliment my 1984 Toyota Van 5MT and will one day be joined by a Mazda5 5MT). If one stick shift minivan is good, surely 3 must be better

  3. Lenn says:

    One came up for sale here in the Charleston, SC area a few months back, maybe about September time frame. It was a dark green 4×4 model in near prestine condition. I found it cruising AutoTrader one day.

    IIRC, they were only offered in the 1992 model year and only on the 4.0L.

  4. Alex says:

    My friend owns a ’98 Grand Cherokee Sport 2 door with a 5 speed. The first thing he did was put a short shifter in it because it would always smash into the radio in first, third, and fifth gear. That and lift it to put 33′s on.

    My other friend found and bought a ’95 Grand Cherokee with a five speed.

    Both of these cases just make me jealous because my WRX has an automatic in it. :(

    • madanthony says:

      I don’t think he had a Grand Cherokee 2 door, because that is something that really doesn’t exist. I think you mean the Cherokee 2 door.

      • Alex says:

        Cherokee Sport is what it was. He took the stickers and badges off so I always forget what it actually is. My apologies.

  5. James says:

    That would be a lot of fun. I have a 2000 Cherokee with a 5 speed and the 4.0. It’s just my winter beater but is still tons of fun. The thing will actually scoot pretty good in a straight line. While I really wanted a two door model, I just couldn’t pass it up at the price.

  6. Chandru says:

    I’ve seen one of these in my life. I’ve seen more of these in the wild than BMW X5 manuals or Porsche Cayenne manuals though.

  7. mark says:

    Hey Doug,

    love your writing and also love manual transmission cars that aren’t supposed to be manual transmission cars, like that Grand Cherokee.

    Growing up in Stucksupville, CT in the 80s, most of my classmates and I were carted around in normal Audi 200 quattros (before they called Avants), Volvo 740 Turbo Intercoolers, and Peugeot 505 SW8s. My best friend’s mom, however, drove to the country club in an ’87 grey Taurus Wagon.

    But not just any grey ’87 Taurus Wagon – this one was the MT5, the manual transmission trim level. You could identify it with a the MT5 letters embossed in the black side rub strip between the front wheel arch and front doors. In southern CT it was probably also identifable by slowly ambling up the hills of the Merrit Parkway, thanks to its 90 hp 2.5 4-cyl.

    It even gets its own webpage on

  8. Sammy B says:

    Doug – just thought of another one (well, two): Lexus ES300 could be had with V6 5MT for one year (1992…though I may be wrong and 1993 had it too). The Infiniti I30 came with a stick as well for a few years (not quite as rare as the Lexus, but hard to find nonetheless)

  9. Timothy In Boston says:

    Had no idea you could get a regular Taurus with a stick. Awesome. I did know that you could get a JGC with a manual. I remember when they first came out. I made my parents drive to the local Jeep store and proceeded to tell them that it was best possible option to replace the 85 LeBaron GTS (TURBO!) and that they should definitely get red one with a manual that was on the lot! They got a GDV instead (GodDamnVan).

  10. R says:

    The only year this was offered was 1993. There was one for sale on about a year ago. It had 200,000 mikes and the owner wanted $2000. It is far more rare than the Ford Explorer manual thatvwas offerd in the 4-door in all three of the first generations. I am looking for a 1990/91 Suburban with the 4-speed manual…talk about rarer than hen’s teeth!

  11. R says:

    The only year this was offered was 1993. There was one for sale on about a year ago. It had 200,000 miles and the owner wanted $2000. It is far more rare than the Ford Explorer manual that was offered in the 4-door in all three of the first generations. I am looking for a 1990/91 Suburban with the 4-speed manual…talk about rarer than hen’s teeth!

  12. R says:

    Another rare manual I’d love to find is an ’87-88 Chevy Celebrity Eurosport Wagon with the 5-speed (I beleive it was even a Getrag).

  13. R says:

    Or how about a 76-77 Oldsmobile Cutlass with a 260 cid V8 and a 5-speed manual with overdrive? It could be ordered and I have seen exactly ONE in my lifetime.

  14. nik says:

    A college room mate had (and still has) a ’94 5-speed manual Grand Cherokee with about 225k on it. I drove it a few times and it was definitely an experience, although I had no idea it was so uncommon – to the point of being considered a myth, apparently. It would make a great Regular Car Review video.

  15. Walt says:

    Does Doug Actually write on his own website anymore?. Just curious…..

  16. cgjeep says:

    I sold Jeeps in the early 90s, the made these in 93 and 94. Drove a couple. It had the same manual and actual stick as the Cherokee had at that time,so easy to experience what it felt like. Only think I remeber was how much louder it was because of big hole cut in floor for lever. Oh and that color had previously been called black cherry. Not as bad sounding ad wilberry.

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