Hagerty's hottest collectibles


Jeep Aficionado
CJ-8.com Member
New Jeeps come with the imprint “Since 1941” somewhere in the interior, but Willys-Overland wasn’t officially granted the Jeep trademark until 1950, well after the company had already developed a good business selling civilian versions of the wartime jeep. Probably the smartest thing American Motors president Roy Chapin ever did was acquire Kaiser-Jeep Corporation in 1970. In 1976 the CJ-7 appeared as basically a stretched CJ-5 to compete with a growing assortment of rivals, fitted with the first factory-equipped hard top and steel doors among its upgrades. It would carry the CJ line for the next 11 years, right through AMC’s merger first with Renault, then with Chrysler.

Even after 30 years of CJ development, you didn’t have to squint too hard to see the old hero of Normandy and Guadalcanal in the 7’s sheetmetal. But if the design still looked inspired by cardboard shipping boxes, the changes were significant, including a longer wheelbase for more stability and a roomier and fancier cockpit. Even so, with the top and doors removed, the windscreen folded, and the available 304-cubic-inch AMC V-8 purring away, the CJ-7 put the wind in your face and bugs in your teeth just the way its predecessors had been doing since 1945.

Various editions, including the relatively luxurious Limited, the Jamboree, and the Golden Eagle, a sort of off-road Trans Am complete with screaming chicken on the hood, kept the CJ grooving through the disco years and into the yuppie era. Like the Blazer, it’s a classic that you don’t worry too much about getting dirty or using for grocery runs, and which might still be useful after the hurricane or earthquake hits. That’s not something you can say about a vintage Ferrari.

Engine V-8, 4,981 cc
Power 150 hp @ 4,200 rpm
Torque 245 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm
Weight 3,000 lb
Power-to-weight 18.7 lb/hp
0–60 16.0 sec (est)
Top speed 80 mph
Price when new $5,732 (1979)
Hagerty value $12,400–$17,300*

Two-thirds of quotes that are requested from Hagerty come from Gen X and Millennials. The interest from those younger generations means it stands to do well, as those are the collectors who are actively growing their collections.

PROS: Plentiful and still cheap compared with alternatives such as the Toyota Land Cruiser; parts are no problem; fun in almost every situation except a freeway; a gosh dang American hero.

CONS: Rust and frame cracks are joy killers; good-condition special editions like the Golden Eagle are already expensive; engines are from the 1970s low-compression malaise; still subject to smog rules in California.