The value of a first-generation Grand Cherokee that’s even slightly rough crashed hard quite a few years ago and has remained just a hair above scrap value ever since, so junkyards here in SUV-crazed Colorado tend to be packed with these trucks. XJ Cherokees are plentiful as well, but I tend to notice them more than the bigger and more Chryslerated Grands.
This ’97, however, is one of the (presumably) super-rare Orvis Editions, and so I broke out the camera when I saw it in a Denver yard last week.
Yes, Bob Lutz introduced the world to the first Grand Cherokee by driving it up some stairs and through a plate-glass window.
Ford had the Eddie Bauer Explorer during the 1990s, when American families were finalizing their divorce with the station wagon and moving en masse to crash-safety- and fuel-economy-standards-evading SUVs, so Chrysler felt the need to team up with a rugged-yet-stylish clothing company as well.
The Orvis Edition Grand Cherokee was available for the 1995 through 1997 model years, and it featured these handsome green-and-tan leather seats plus a lot of Orvis badges on the exterior.
The basic design of this truck came from AMC, during its final days, and so there’s a bit of Kenosha in this truck’s genes. The engine, however, is pure Chrysler: the Magnum version of the venerable 318-cubic-inch V-8 (you could still get the even-more-venerable AMC straight-six in ’97 Grand Cherokees, of course).
The ideal vehicle to help a tortoise cheat against a hare.
In Australia, the loser drivers of the Roller and the Mondial were forced to use ordinary driveways, while the manly (and equally wealthy) ’97 Grand Cherokee driver rumbled over a conveniently placed rockpile by the outer wall of the compound.
Meanwhile, the Grand Cherokee’s American marketers were chasing those cheapskate dollars with a zero-down deal.