Unearthed

Unearthed: 1970 Jeep Wagoneer

This 1970 Jeep Wagoneer may look like a classic, but it's still fully capable of handling plenty of off-road terrains.

For any Jeep or SUV fan, the Wagoneer was something unique. With its production run beginning in 1963, it was the first luxury 4x4 SUV ever made. By the time it was discontinued in 1991, it had undergone very few mechanical and styling changes. Basically, the Wagoneer began an all-new automotive niche that's still very much with us today, the luxury SUV. At the time of its launch, Land Rover and International Harvester were building vehicles that were more work-oriented without a hint of comfort.

Thus came the idea from Kaiser Jeep Corporation in the early 60s to develop something a bit different. As a full-size body-on-frame vehicle, the Wagoneer was first offered as a two and four-door along with a panel truck. It was powered by Willy's then new "Tornado" 3.8-liter six-cylinder with 140hp. Believe it or not, it was also considered to be fairly fuel efficient at the time. Built in Toledo, Ohio (of course), the Wagoneer underwent some changes in the late 60s such as a new engine, Buick's "Dauntless" 350 cu in 5.7-liter V8 with 230hp.

This featured 1970 Wagoneer is equipped with this engine, although it's been rebuilt. It's mated to a four-wheel-drive transmission with a Dana 20 transfer case and Dana 44 rear axle. It has a total of 127,000 miles on the odometer, with just 4,200 miles since the rebuild. The interior has also undergone a complete restoration. Keeping the original frames of the bench seats and the black cloth, the seats are now covered with black Naugahyde vinyl. The dash and headliner are also original. Some other updates include an in dash Alpine radio/CD/mp3 player with a 400 watt amp and 2-way speakers.

This restored Wagoneer is proof once again that it's entirely possible to maintain a vehicle's original classic styling while managing to give it a number of solid upgrades. And it'll make plenty of current 4Runner and Land Rover owners jealous. Photos courtesy of 70jeep.

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