My ex-military Wagoneer


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Me? Pull a thread off-topic? :D

I guess I need to start a new thread. If Mith buys the Landrover he is looking at, he will want to extend his own LR thread without the distraction of irrelevant comments from the back benchers.

Long ago I once bought an ex-military 4x4, a 1972 Wagoneer. It was a special version with simpler features compared to the domestic model - less soundproofing, no A/C and notably, a floor shifter 4 speed that was usually found in Ford trucks. And a 302ci short-stroke V8 that was perfectly matched to the 3.72 gearing. That thing simply didn't notice uphill grades.

The title docs showed that a Navy base put 80k miles on it in 23 months then sold it for $600. I paid ordinary used-car retail from a dealer, so somebody made some money on that one. I think it was 1975 when I bought it.

Mith, I don't think you have remote public land trails like this to explore. This is the 'road' into an abandoned mine in the Sierra Nevadas. Getting in there requires crossing several washouts like this one. After a few years of this, the frame rails and skidplates underneath were all gouged up. But I'm proud I never put a scratch in the painted side. I finally sold it in 1980 after some idiot broadsided it while it was parked.

If you have any place to use that LR like this, ... that's what it's made for.



Not quite as cool, but a few photos of my old 4x4...

I do miss that old truck.


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Thats cool Cali. I'm amazed you didnt get any more damage on it from looking at the terrain you are crossing in the picture.
Thats a very classy looking car for the army to use, are those whitewall tyres?

We have a fair amount of 'green lanes' which are little more than mud tracks. Most arent on maps, so unless you know about them you wouldnt find them. We also have alot of common land locally, but it is used by the army, so you've got to be careful where you tread.
Some of the roads are challenging enough as it is though, particularly as some of them are all washed out after the rain we had last week.


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Yes, whitewall tires! That was the correct tire for Wagoneers back then. Examples -restored Wagoneers, up to $90k.

I couldn't get the dealer to drop his price but I negotiated his asking price to include four new mud & snow tires already on Jeep rims that I saw there. They were new car take-offs from a customer who had huge oversize tires fitted to a new Wagoneer.

I remember now that that rig ate tires. I wore out those shown, then I recall I wore out the next set in 17k miles. Maybe it was my driving style on the windy mountain roads. That thing would accelerate out of a corner like a sports car. :D


That sounds like a good engine-trans combination.

I wasn't a fan of Wagoneers because of stories I heard about reliability. I bought a '71 ScoutII with 3spd (which I changed to a 4 spd) and 304 V8. Talk about reliability:rolleyes:--It never left me stranded, but I got a lot of experience working on it. It went everywhere I pointed it. It ate tires, too. 20k miles was a lot for it. That gave me a chance to try many different brands:). Great memories, but I wouldn't do it again. I replaced it with an '85 Toyota and almost forgot how to work on a vehicle after that.


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That sounds like a good engine-trans combination.

I wasn't a fan of Wagoneers because of stories I heard about reliability.
You heard right.

The whole drivetrain was bulletproof and the thing performed great but the quality of AMC's coachwork was 20 years outdated, a continuation from the era when a car was all worn out and scrapped at 100k miles. People forget why the Japanese cars took over the American market so quickly. American quality like this was the reason so many people switched.

All the Wagoneeers, 100%, had gas tanks that sweated at the seams so the vehicle always smelled of gasoline. Mine needed new exhaust manifolds at 90k to pass the license inspection. (The smog pump distribution tubes inside had rusted out).

The tailgates were legendary. Not only was it near impossible to get the tailgate closed, also the window didn't meet the track in the upper body smoothly so owners were afraid to open it because they couldn't get it closed again. It was common to see old ratty Wagoneers with the window stuck halfway up, and operated that way for the last few years of the car's life. I think all the domestic models had an electric motor to raise that heavy rear window, and the expensive motors didn't last after the window track became balky. Mine had an external hand crank and I twisted off the 1/4" square shaft that connected it to the lifting mechanism inside. When I opened it up, I was amazed the mechanism worked at all because there was nothing to keep road salt out of the levers/gears/pulleys etc.

That car nearly killed me once. I was fiddling with the instrument panel brightness (twist the headlight knob) when that shorted out the headlights - just as I met a logging truck on a narrow fast curve. I could barely estimate my position from his side lights and taillights passing by, but then I was blind at 50 mph. A panic stop, blind, was the only thing I could do, and hope I was still tracking the curve. I sort of lost faith in the car after that. I think it had 125k miles at that point.

Anybody remember Granville King? He was legendary, at least in his own telling, for his ability to make a Wagoneer do stuff that should require a rubicon jeep.

Like you I switched to Japanese (88 Trooper, bought new) following a short and unsatisfactory experience with a second Wagoneer and then a 4x4 AMC Eagle. The Trooper simply worked like brand new for the 16 years I owned it.


That's a nice truck Quincy. Tell us a little about it.

I bought the Mitsubishi Pajero (called "Montero" in USA) back in 2000 when I started building my house. I needed a work horse to pull trailers and use for general building work. It had a 2.5litre 115bhp turbo diesel engine with a 4 speed automatic transmission with O/D. We have a few dealerships here in the south of Ireland that sell second hand japanese imported vehicles. Jap vehicles usually come with a higher spec than local secondhand vehicles. Mine came fully spec'd, with electric everything. It even had TV & VHS. Typical japanese, full of gadgets. The really useful option that the pajero had was the locking centre differential AND the locking rear axle diff. With both of those diff locks engaged, that pajero drove on through some really sticky stuff.

Once I had the house finished, I no longer had a need for the pajero but my kids loved it so much we started using it more and more for off roading.

We dont have many public land trails to explore like ye do in the UK and USA but there are forrestry trails owned by the government that are open to 4x4 clubs. These were a hoot to drive on mostly because they were all torn up and swampy which made driving them a real challenge. The kids and I used to go off roading about once a month at different trails all around the island which was good muddy fun.
I sold it in 2006. At that stage I had treated it pretty hard for several years and the off roading was taking its toll.

Besides, vehicle road tax has increased so much here in Ireland that it makes it very difficult for private owners to own "big engined" vehicle these days. To tax that vehicle for a year now is €935 ($1200). And with fuel milage on a pajero at <20mpg, with irish fuel prices, people can no longer afford big wagons.


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