The ultimate antidote to automotive boredom: A hugely entertaining 'go anywhere' Jeep Wrangler TJ - ready to be enjoyed.
At a glance:
- 1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport
- Only 3 owners over 21 years; 1997 -1998, 1998 - 2001, then one lady owner for 17 years; 2001-2018
- 2.5 litre four cylinder, manual gearbox, two & four wheel drive
- TSW 6 spoke 15" alloy wheels, standard size
- Hankook Dynapro ATM 215/75/15 tyres with 12-14mm tread, under 1,000 miles since fitting
- Flame Red paintwork with grey interior and geo-patterned seats
- 'Bestop' replacement black soft top
- 121,827 miles
- Massively fun to drive
- MOT to 14th October 2020
- Loads of paperwork; all old MOTs and plenty of service history
- Will have a 12,000 mile annual service - so ready to enjoy
- HPI Clear
The most widely held theory of the origin of the Jeep name is that the military designation GP (for Government Purposes or General Purpose) "geepee" was slurred into the word Jeep in the same way that the contemporary HMMWV (for High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle) has become known as the Humvee. Although there is some debate as the 'P' was said to be the designation of an 80 inch wheelbase by Ford, then working in collaboration with Willys-Overland to supply the US Army requirements in the 1940s. Whatever the origins, the Jeep name has become synonymous with rugged, tough and utilitarian vehicles, and through the 70s, 80s and 90s Jeep also established their reputation for fun, recreational activity and off road entertainment. The conceptually consistent Jeep Wrangler remains in production today, since its beginning in 1986. With its solid axles and open top, the Wrangler has been called the Jeep model that is as central to the brand’s identity as the rear-engined 911 is to Porsche. The Jeep Wrangler TJ is the third generation of this hugely popular off-road and sport utility vehicle. Introduced in 1996 as a 1997 model, the TJ reintroduced the circular headlights the classic Jeep models had been known for. Unveiled on January 2, 1996, at the 1996 Detroit Auto Show the TJ was an evolutionary update of the YJ model, itself derived from the CJ7, which followed the earlier CJ models which trace their heritage all the way back the 1940s military Willys Jeeps. The TJ arrived in Jeep showrooms in April 1996, after 6 years of overall investment and 36 month production development phase. Instead of leaf springs as found on the YJ predecessor, this updated Wrangler featured a modern coil-spring suspension front and rear for better ride and handling, and a return to the classic CJ's round headlamps. The update proved massively popular and brought the Wrangler up to date as a far more modern and 'easy to live with' Jeep whilst still being truly iconic.
This is the 2.5 'Sport' edition, in eye-catching Flame Red paint finish (paint code PR4) with grey patterned interior and a replacement 'Bestop' black diamond cloth soft top. The soft top sits on a sturdy frame which can be partly opened a bit like a folding sunroof, or the rear and side window panels can be removed, and the top lowered completely for fully open top motoring. These hoods are extremely durable, very well designed compared to the earlier models, and keep the interior snug all year round. They are very solid and offer a great degree of insulation from noise, heat and rain. The fitted hard tops can be rather cumbersome, so the soft top is much easier to live with if you plan to use the car with the roof down at any time of year. The doors can also be removed easily, undoing two bolts to give you that classic open-top Jeep look. This Jeep is unmodified and in the original factory specification, apart from aftermarket TSW wheels instead of the original pressed steel wheels, additional front spot lamps and replacement CD/Bluetooth/USB/SD music player. The majority of Jeeps of the era have had the stereo upgraded as they had a cassette player fitted as original equipment - remember them? The car comes with power steering as standard, and a host of charming retro features: wind up windows, doors that lock and unlock with a key, chunky switches and knob controls for the heating/cooling and a total lack of touch screens in the middle of the dash board. It's refreshingly 'old school' on the inside and the outside. Another reason why people enjoy these retro Jeeps is their sheer simplicity; no warning messages advising you to go to your nearest dealer, no overly complex electronics and no 'limp mode' - it's a more traditional car which you can repair with a spanner rather than a laptop. As a result, servicing, maintenance and repairs are a breeze in comparison to more modern, often overly complex vehicles.
This car has covered 121,827 miles - an average of under 6,000 miles per year over its 21 year life.
On the Road:
I absolutely adore driving these Jeeps, they are so much fun! They have immense charm and character, and have a fabulous 'Tonka Toy' feel to their classic, chunky design, both inside and out. The Jeep starts first turn of the key, and runs smoothly with no unusual behaviour or untoward noises. It surges eagerly under acceleration, starts, stops and does exactly what it should. The ride quality is more refined than the earlier YJ models and it's engaging to drive, happy at any speed and goes wherever and whenever you need it to. I have driven a number of these Jeeps, this one is very smooth and drives very well with no significant noises from the drivetrain. These cars can be used for everyday commuting if required, as reliable family and pet transport, as a working thoroughbred 4x4, full on mud-plugger, or just for pleasure as a weekend treat - by being capable of all uses these Jeeps are brilliant all-rounders. They are great fun to own and very sturdily built, being less 'agricultural' than old Land Rovers, and not as monstrously expensive as the Mercedes G-Wagen.
This car is fitted with the fuel injected 2.5 litre (2464cc) AMC 150 inline four cylinder engine, one of four AMC engines kept in production when Chrysler bought AMC in 1987. It features an OHV pushrod design with short cam timing chain, which should last the life of the engine, as opposed to a timing belt which needs changing at regular service intervals. This 2.5 version used the same architecture as the larger 4.0, but with two less cylinders and slightly modified design. Due to the similarity of design, they are considered to be equally durable, tough and reliable. The advantage of the 2.5 is that it is lighter making the car feel more nimble to drive with less weight over the front axle, it revs more freely and doesn't have the same gas-guzzling thirst of the 4.0 litre. It doesn't have quite have much power, but Wranglers were never really intended to have fighter jet performance or to be relaxed motorway cruisers. There are pros and cons to both the 2.5 and 4.0 engines, but neither are really inferior to the other, just different depending on your particular requirements and tastes.
The car has the Aisin-Warner AX5 manual transmission as used in the 1984 to 2001 XJ/MJ Cherokee/Comanche Jeeps, and in 1984-2006 Jeep XJ, YJ, and TJ Wrangler models. It changes gear as it should and the clutch works smoothly as you would expect it to. The main gear levers selects the five forward and reverse gears, whilst the shorter handbrake style lever selects either 2H (two wheel drive high ratio) for normal driving conditions, 4H (four wheel drive high ratio) if you need some more traction on slippery surfaces, or 4L (four wheel drive low ratio) if you need to drag yourself out of a bog, up a slippery mountain face, through desert slopes or face the ultimate challenge known as Waitrose car park in the snow.
Sold with MOT until 14th October 2020.
This car appears to have been extremely well cared for over the years, as you tend to find with cars which have good service history, only three owners in total and the most recent owner for the last 17 years. Mechanically it seems excellent for its age, and structurally it seems to be in good condition too. As you can probably see from the pictures, this Jeep is in good condition but as with any car of its age, it is not in showroom condition. This Jeep is very presentable but upon close inspection does come with a little 'patina' as these Jeeps all tend to do, with a few scratches, minor dents and light wear. At some point the front wings have been replaced (a known rust trap on these cars) and are now rust free, but the paintwork on the wings is perhaps not quite as good as the original factory finish. There are also a few marks on the front edge of the bonnet. However, in my experience Jeep owners are more concerned with using and enjoying the car, rather then seeking cosmetic blemish-free excellence. The utilitarian idea that 'use is more important than beauty' is often the case with classic Jeeps, a view shared by most Land Rover Defender owners. The alloy wheels are presentable but not perfect, but the next owner may wish to change the wheels to suit their specific tastes and requirements anyway. The Hankook Dynapro tyres are excellent and appear as new having been on the car for less than 1,000 miles. The interior is in good condition - just a little wear on the vinyl side panel of the drivers seat near the adjustment handle, they all do tend to suffer with this. The soft top is in very good condition too and the 'Bestop' replacement hoods are considered the best ones available. It’s always difficult to express in words the condition of any car, and most people have differing opinions about condition, so the best way to get a true impression will be to view this lovely car in person. I’m confident that anybody with realistic expectations will be delighted to own and enjoy this lovely four wheel drive. The best way to work out if it is the right car for you, would be to come and have a look. The Jeep also will undergo an annual 12,000 mile service so it will be ready for immediate enjoyment by the next owner.
The general value range for these legendary TJ Wranglers in good, road worthy and presentable condition with long MOT is normally £6000 - £9,000 with immaculate or heavily modified examples priced considerably higher. This Jeep is offered to sell swiftly at a very tempting £5950.
This is a hugely entertaining 'proper' 4x4, always fun to drive with superb traction and ultimate 'go anywhere' credentials, it’s sure to put a smile on your face with every mile. With the the roof and doors removed (a 10 minute job) on a sunny day, it's hard to beat the thoroughly enjoyable experience. Or over winter, they are a sure-footed, go-anywhere, faithful companion. It’s a great conversation starter, and being so far removed from all of the humdrum everyday cars on our roads, people can’t stop staring at it. If you are looking for something different & interesting to liven up your day to day motoring, I'm quite sure you'll love it!