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Fully Restored Canyon Red 1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler Is A Keeper

Michelle Marus
Fully Restored Canyon Red 1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler Is A Keeper

You better scramble to your feet if you’re interested.

This fully restored 1985 AMC Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler is for sale through Vintage Motorcars in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. For those who are unfamiliar, the Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler is the pickup truck version of the largely successful Jeep CJ Series lineup of off-road vehicles. Now owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, this Jeep was originally owned by American Motors Corporation when it debuted in 1981. The CJ-8 is the longer wheelbase variant of the Jeep CJ-7 and served as a replacement for the CJ-6.

In the early 1980s, small and lightweight Japanese pickup trucks were becoming a staple in American driveways. Many fuel-conscious drivers were buying Datsuns and Toyotas, as well as import versions from the Big Three, in the form of the Chevy LUV (Isuzu), Ford Courier (Mazda) and Dodge D-50 (Mitsubishi). Jeep was still years away from producing its own small pickup; so in the meantime, it stuck with what it knew best: the CJ-7. Jeep was able to develop a “passable” small pickup by merely adding 10 inches to the CJ-7’s wheelbase and two feet to its overall length. It also capped the passenger cabin with a short version of the CJ-7’s traditional hardtop.

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In 1981, Jeep introduced the CJ-8 Scrambler, which was a hybrid of sorts between the old CJ-6 and a pickup. Benefits included standard four-wheel drive, a choice of four- or six-cylinder engines and Jeep’s overall reputation for unbeatable toughness. Production of the Jeep CJ-8 Scrambled topped out at just 27,792 over a span of five years.

The 1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler featured here is powered by the 4.2-liter gasoline-powered engine paired to a desirable four-speed manual transmission. All Scramblers were equipped with the Dana 300 transfer case and locking hubs. Finding a Jeep CJ-8 is certainly harder than one of the more plentiful CJ-7 versions, especially with the upgraded I6 258 cubic-inch 4.2-liter engine. This example has been fully restored front to back and is completely rust free, which is difficult to find with any older vehicle.

During the restoration process, the body was taken apart, sandblasted, acid etched, and then painted to the stunning Canyon Red clear coat paint you see here. Also, all new grey decals were installed for added appeal. The engine was completely rebuilt and runs just as well as it did when it came off the assembly line. The transmission shifts effortlessly and the clutch pedal feels great. The bucket seats are also in excellent condition and the interior is devoid of any unusual wear and tear. So, not only is this pickup truck a dream to drive, but it also provides comfort and utility.

The entire truck sits on a classic set of Cragar Chrome wheels with almost-new Goodyear tires. It also comes with several added goodies, including a hardtop, Class 3 tow hitch, custom rear bumper, full hard doors with roll-up windows, and more! It may have 96,000 miles to the dash, but this baby has a long way to go.

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