The Jeep Comanche is the perfect truck for collectors, and in recent years, it’s become a classic. Low production numbers, great design, and rugged Jeep toughness make the Comanche an iconic truck.
Less than 200,000 Jeep Comanche trucks were built, and now collectors realize they are more difficult to find than a Ferrari.
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 four-cylinder inline, with 121 horsepower, the 2.8-liter V-6 with 117 horsepower, and the Renault 2.1-liter inline-4 turbodiesel engine.
The uni-body chassis with a 4WD drivetrain or rear-wheel drive gave Comanche fans plenty of options.
Comanche buyers compared the new truck with the Ford Ranger and the Chevrolet S-10, both released in the early 1980s. Toyota also had its Hi-Lux model. Compact pickups were gaining popularity as useful tools and tough work vehicles.
Jeep Comanche Trims
- 1986 – Custom, X, XLS
- 1987 to 1992 – SporTruck
- 1988 – Olympic Edition, or the Pioneer
- 1988 – Chief
- 1987 to 1990 – Laredo
- 1987 to 1992 – Pioneer
- 1988 to 1992 – Eliminator – Built with the front Quadralink suspension system.
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 short bed or a seven-foot long-bed.
With 9.4 inches of ground clearance, the Comanche is a solid off-road performer.
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.
The Comanche had a variety of transmission configurations over its lifespan. First was the manual, 4-speed and 5-speed, with a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. Then the automatic transmission 3 speed in 1986, boosting the towing capacity to 5,000 lbs.
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 Jeep Comanche Pioneer
1987 began the upgraded Pioneer version of the Jeep Comanche. It was a step up from the base trim level, but didn’t go overboard with features.
Air conditioning was a feature in the Pioneer model, along with a graphics package. Well-maintained Comanche Pioneer models will sell for over $30,000 nowadays – if you can find one.
The Jeep Comanche Eliminator
The Eliminator package was released in 1988, toward the end of the Comanche run. It was a totally updated exterior design, with new front-end and back-end upgrades.
Maybe most importantly, the Comanche Eliminator package featured optional 15-inch aluminum wheels with the now-classic Eagle GT tires.
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 daily driver Jeep Cherokees, Grand Cherokee, Wagoneers, and Grand Wagoneers were huge sellers.
The Jeep Cherokee XJ and XJ Wagoneers 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.
The Old Jeep Gladiator
The base model 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 American Motors, 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 by AMC 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 sale 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.
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 small trucks using many of the same components as the high-production Jeep Cherokee line.
From coil leaf springs to rear bumpers, two-barrel carburetors, axle housing, transfer case, coil correction plates, or a front end, the parts for old Jeep Comanche compact trucks are not difficult to find. Even the Peugeot transmission is easily adapted for Jeep owners looking to add a lift kit.
Even the rear axle was the same Dana 35 model found in the Cherokee. Although, after reading through a few Comanche forums, some owners are swapping the Dana 35 with the Dana 44 axle.
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 restoration 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.
The Last Jeep Comanche
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.
It never set a land speed record. The truck didn’t haul more payload than any other truck. It certainly wasn’t the most luxurious, and it probably didn’t turn heads everywhere you drove it.
It didn’t even have great gas mileage for a small truck.
But the Jeep Comanche was one of the best little rigs out there. Classic car collectors are starting to recognize the fact that they really don’t make’em like they used to.
Car and truck collectors continue to go absolutely nuts over the Jeep Comanche.
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