My '81 has them, and I think they are a neat look. I theorize that the option for wooden side boards was heavily marketed by the AMC salesmen during the early CJ8 production years (i.e. '81-'82), but the side boards lost some appeal after that period. However, I see a few Scramblers with the holes drilled in the bar and rear side, but without the wood, so some folks either don't share my aesthetic value in them or the wood was not longer serviceable later in its life.
This was a $98 option in 1983, so I don't know why most buyers opted to go without them, as it is my opinion that a Scrambler looks "light" in the rear end without them. If you decide to remove your original wooden side boards, be sure to keep the torx head screws and bolts, as these appear to be the hardest to duplicate. The easiest way to spot a clone or mudification is to identify the "hokey" hex-head bolts that secure the wooden side boards to the body; This goes for just about any exterior body bolt/screw on an AMC Jeep, as most restorations don't retain this neat characteristic of original CJ8 Jeeps.
The wooden side boards are likely a rare option. However, this option is an easy part to reproduce, and there isn't anything to distinguish an original from a reproduction simply because it is an easily manipulated piece of wood. If you look on this site, there are exact reproductions available for sale. The only distinguishable feature on the originals was a stamp located on the wood, but it would be long gone after 20+ years, just like the stamp is on my originals.
By the way, my '83 has an ultra rare option in that it received J-truck rear bed side rails, per the original owner's verification -this is likely the only one in existence with this option -W00t! Even though it was likely a dealer install, it may still be considered an "original" option, as AMC allowed a lot of these types of "dealer-installed" options. I like the wooden rails better, but I'll be darned if I'll drill into the body to install them.
Im not usually one for that dark brown but that Scrambler just looks right. Love the 1/2 top and wood siderails. Looks like a nice restore candidate. How about some more details , more pics ( and a" for sale " price? )
I think its a rare option, mine didnt come with it. i have always wanted one since i saw it on my uncle's truck. Markness is right, after the release, there were a lot of reproductions, and those reproductions were damn close to the original, hard to distinguish the authentic wooden bed rails. Can you post a pic pls.
When I got my jeep the wood mounting brackets at the back were still there but no board. I had to make new ones and used "hex bolts" to mount them. I love the look of my woody and wood doesn't rust! If only the rest of the jeep looked as good as the boards I could still be driving it and not looking at reconstuction.