Why Wait Until 2018 When You Can Get a Woody Now?

While Jeep readies the 2018 Grand Wagoneer, fans are paying top dollar for this classic, wood-sided SUV.
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While Jeep readies the 2018 Grand Wagoneer, fans are paying top dollar for this classic, wood-sided SUV.

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer was a preppy staple in the 1980s, jauntily ferrying around too-cool-for-minivan moms, and sometimes even towing their daughters' horse trailers.

This now-classic SUV went out of production in 1991, but according to trade journal Automotive News, Jeep is preparing for the model’s return in 2018 in a bid to harvest the remaining goodwill for the "Woody" nameplate.

Reflecting modern expectations, the neo-Wagoneer will be a full-size SUV to take on the Range Rover. No word on whether Jeep will attempt to interpret the classic model’s signature wood-panel siding on the new edition, but the company did try that once before with the 1993 Grand Wagoneer.

That wood-trimmed version of the Grand Cherokee was hugely popular in the 1990s. But by that time, customers were tired of the faux paneling and the Wagoneer idled on dealers’ lots for the single year it was offered.

Ford’s solution to evoking paneling without actually using it on a contemporary vehicle was to stamp horizontal lines in the sides of the Flex that were meant to prompt dormant memories of wood panels.

Jeep tried building a three-row SUV once before too, the Commander of 2005 to 2010. That was a long-tailed version of the Grand Cherokee, and again, it failed to resonate with buyers.

Time will tell whether the 2018 Grand Wagoneer will be embraced, but interest in classic Wagoneers is heating up, so it's a good time to consider buying a restored vintage Grand Wagoneer.

Restoration candidates cost only a few thousand dollars, while a clean, low-mileage 1985 example on AutoTrader Classics lists for $26,900 and Wagoneer specialist shops like Wagoneer World gets as much as $70,000 for restored models. Check out some prime examples in the slideshow:

Photos by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC