Steve Magnante is one of the best automotive journalists. Now a YouTuber, he tells us about some pretty cool cars on his “Junkyard Crawl” videos and recently ran a few at Bernardston Auto Wrecking in Bernardston, Massachusetts. In this video, Magnante tells us about a fascinating film from 1979 Jeep CJ7, and explains why this car differed from the Jeep CJ5 before it. This car is in a bit of a bad state, but Magnante still tells us about many details.
A closer look at the Jeep
This is a 1979 CJ7, and of course WWII spawned the original Jeep. What makes this CJ7 interesting is how it rides on a longer wheelbase than the standard Jeep CJ5. The CJ5 had an 84-inch wheelbase, while this CJ7 has a 93.5-inch wheelbase, making it 9.5 inches longer than the CJ5. Magnante shows us a 1975 catalog for the Jeep with an image of the CJ5, and it shows how much shorter the CJ5 actually was. The reasoning for the stretched Jeep was to make room for an automatic transmission and also improve ride quality.
More space and leg room
The CJ7 was a much more comfortable vehicle for its occupants, with more space overall. Additionally, it was the first Jeep that could have a factory-optional hardtop. Neat functionality. Unfortunately, the VIN is now hidden on this Jeep because the VIN sticker is completely painted over, which Magnante says often happens on these cars.
Under the hood, there’s a 258 six-piston engine, and the emissions sticker tells us that this is a 1979 model year Jeep. This particular Jeep model had drum brakes at front and rear, but you can also get optional disc brakes which this one has.
An interesting example of the Jeep
This particular Jeep also has rubber wheel lips, which Magnante says tells us it was either a Renegade or an optional set of wider wheels and tires. They definitely add a bit of “macho” to the CJ7. It also has a roll bar, something essential for saving lives, but surprisingly until 1980 they were optional. From 1980 these were standard for the CJ7 and Jeep.
In the back, we also see the optional dealer-installed spare tire carrier, and Magnante also shows us the tailgate. An interesting car, but which could be unsalvageable now.
Source: Steve Magnante’s YouTube channel