The Jeep Comanche is the Perfect Truck


The Jeep Comanche is the perfect truck for collectors, and in recent years, it’s becoming a classic. Low production numbers, great design, and rugged Jeep toughness make the Comanche an iconic truck.  

The Tradition of the Jeep Comanche

From 1986 to 1992, the little Jeep Comanche pickup truck roared through Jeep dealerships. Over 190,000 Comanche trucks were sold over those seven production years. And now, we remember how great the rig actually was. The appreciation of the Jeep Comanche has been steadily rising since the early nineties.

The Jeep Comanche featured three different engines. The 2.5 liter inline 4 cylinder, with 121 horsepower, the 2.8 liter V-6 with 117 horsepower, and the Renault 2.1 liter inline-4 turbodiesel. Comanche buyers compared the new truck with the Ford Ranger, which was released in 1983. Compact pickups were gaining popularity as useful tools and tough work vehicles.

The Comanche was built with a cargo bed incorporated into the Jeep Cherokee’s unibody frame. There were minimal cabin luxuries, but as a rugged pickup, that was to be expected. Single cab configurations, with a six-foot bed or a seven-foot bed. Turbine-style wheels and a bench seat in the cab were standard features. One of the great things which put the Comanche ahead of its time was excellent fuel economy at 21 to 24 miles per gallon.

Check out this Retro Review of the 1986 Jeep Comanche.

The Comanche had a variety of transmission configurations over its lifespan. First was the manual, 4-speed and 5-speed, with an automatic transmission 3 speed in 1986. Then, in the 1987 model year, Jeep introduced the automatic transmission 4 speed to go along with the 5-speed manual transmission for the remaining years of assembly line production.

The Wagoneer, The Cherokee, and The Comanche

The Comanche was produced alongside a few other popular Jeep models, where some people might have overlooked the truck at the time. The popularity of SUVs rose during the late 80s, and the Jeep Cherokees, Wagoneers, and Grand Wagoneers were huge sellers. 

The Jeep Cherokee XJ and Wagoneer were much more profitable for Jeep, and to make room on the production line, the Comanche run ended after only seven years. But looking back now, there’s a growing appreciation for the truck as a tough, rugged, and well-designed collector’s classic.

Jeep was pulling out all the stops for their line of Cherokee and Comanche vehicles in the mid-80s.

The Old Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator was introduced in 1963 and became the longest-running pickup in the lineup. Over 25 years, the Gladiator sold on a single vehicle platform. Gladiator trucks were produced in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. It also featured independent front suspension for a short period of time.

The Old Jeep Trucks

In 1962, the Jeep J-Series was introduced, replacing the FC Series. The old Jeep trucks had a long life running all the way to 1988 when Chrysler bought the parent company, AMC. The J-Series wasn’t the only Jeep truck during this time period. The Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler was also produced from 1981 to 1986. Although it would only sell 30,000 units, the Scrambler is a favorite for many Jeep fans.

Another favorite model that went into production around the same time the Scrambler ended was the Jeep Wrangler. The first model year for the Wrangler was the first year Chrysler had taken ownership of the company.

When Chrysler bought out AMC, production of the J-series pickups was halted. The models were aging, and the full-size pickup was in direct competition with a broader line of Dodge trucks in the United States. There was one pick-up that Chrysler left remaining on the production line – the Jeep Comanche truck.

Jeep Comanche For Sale

Only 190,000 units were sold over the production life of the Comanche. Fast-forward thirty years later, and that number turns out to be relatively low. One of the biggest problems with finding collector Comanches for sales was the rust issue. The Comanche’s production run didn’t last long, so fans of the compact truck are driving up prices for models still in good condition.

jeep comanche
Selling for $29,800, this 1988 Jeep Comanche Pioneer has only 14,000 miles!

As you can see in the listing above, demand is soaring for the rugged truck. This model is a 1988 Jeep Comanche Pioneer with only 14,724 miles asking almost $30,000. Looking at the photos of the listing, this Jeep Comanche MJ is in immaculate condition.

Restoring Old Jeep Comanches

Restoring and repairing old Jeep Comanches is relatively simple. Parts can be found with ease due to the truck using many of the same components as the high production Jeep Cherokee line.

From coil springs to rear bumpers, two-barrel carburetor, axle housing, transfer case, or coil correction plates, the parts for old Jeep Comanche compact trucks are not difficult to find. Even the rear axle was the same Dana 35 model found in the Cherokee.

Once located, the parts are inexpensive and easy to install compared to modern-day vehicles. Accessing Comanche components for maintenance on the unibody design was simple. Fans of the Comanche cite the ease of repair and restoring as one of their favorite attributes.

The End of the Jeep Comanche

Most people attribute the end of Jeep Comanche production due to Chrysler buying AMC in 1988. Chrysler already owned the Dodge brand, which produced a variety of pick-up trucks.

Speculation was that Chrysler wanted SUVs produced under the Jeep name and pick-ups produced with the Dodge brand. Many people believe the Dodge Dakota, which was launched in 1986, took over as the replacement for the Jeep Comanche. 1992 was the last year a Jeep Comanche rolled off the production line at the plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Only 2,000 units were sold during the last year of the compact pickup truck. The end of the production era, but only the beginning for Jeep Comanche fans, enthusiasts, collectors, and rugged truck lovers.

These old truck commercials are almost as great as the truck itself. “It’s worth a look.”