We’ve been recently discussing the Jeep Grand Wagoneer over on TTAC, which has reminded me of a very unusual used car: the second-generation Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
No, I’m not talking about the various facelifted and updated versions of the original Grand Wagoneer, which came out in the 1960s and used the same outdated chassis for decades. I am instead referring to the 1993 Grand Wagoneer, which was really just a rebadged Grand Cherokee.
Here’s what happened: when Chrysler ditched the Grand Wagoneer in the early 1990s, they were highly afraid of losing loyal customers. That makes sense, as many Grand Wagoneer owners were old-money car shoppers who really didn’t want anything else.
So, to keep things familiar when the Grand Cherokee came out, Jeep created a trim level designed to capture Grand Wagoneer buyers. It was, quite simply, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, even though it was actually just a Grand Cherokee with wood on the side.
The result of this was that, like many Chrysler rebadges, precisely no one was fooled. The Grand Wagoneer sold in tremendously small numbers, and I don’t remember the last time I actually saw one on the road. But it didn’t matter: the Grand Cherokee was such a success that Jeep sort of forgot about those high-end Grand Wagoneer buyers it once owned. In turn, they forgot about Jeep, instead buying the Land Rover Defender (or just a refurbished Grand Wagoneer) in the ensuing years.
But if you ever see a first-gen Grand Cherokee with wood on the side, remember: it isn’t a Grand Cherokee, but rather a Grand Wagoneer. And it’s definitely a 1993.