Rumors are circulating that Jeep is considering introducing a new pick-up to be sold alongside current Jeep Wranglers, Jeep Cherokees, and Jeep Liberties. With new Jeep offerings in other markets such as China in high demand, now might be the right time for Jeep to try something new in the states as well. While hoping for a new addition to the Jeep lineup, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the last Jeep pick-up to grace the streets – the Jeep Comanche.
The Jeep Comanche – A Look Back
The Jeep Comanche was introduced in 1985 as a 1986 model year and was produced by Jeep until 1992. Jeep put the Comanche into the market because it was a time in America when many people realized that pick-up trucks could be utilized as an everyday vehicle, not just something to haul loads of stuff from one place to another.
Jeep introduced the Comanche in the middle of August 1985 at a lavish gala in the ballroom of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip. The event was attended by over 1,500 of AMC’s North American dealerships. This new Jeep pick-up truck was introduced by AMC’s at-the-time new President Jose Dedeurwaerder.
The engineers at American Motor Cars based the Comanche MJ on the Cherokee XJ which had been introduced a year earlier. The styling, the engineering and even the drivetrain were all based on the Cherokee XJ. One of the most unique features of the Comanche was the unibody construction of the Jeep pick-up truck. The Comanche also had what is known as a removable cargo box like most traditional pick-up trucks will carry.
Under the hood of the original 1986 model came a choice of three different engines: the AMC 150 2.5-liter 150 CID I4, the General Motors LR2 2.8-liter V6, or the Renault 2.1-liter I4 turbo diesel. The 1987 model saw the first fuel injected 4.0-liter 242 CID AMC inline-six replace the 2.8-liter V6 in the Comanche lineup.
Over the years of production, the Jeep Comanche was offered with six different transmissions which were manufactured by Chrysler, Peugeot, and Aisin. Aisin made the AX-4 which was a four speed, the AX-5 and AX-15 which were both five-speeds with overdrive and each was only offered with a manual transmission. Aisin also provided the AW-4 four-speed automatic transmission that began with the 1987 model.
The truck was phased out of production for a wide range of factors, but the most compelling reason to stop production as the fact that it didn’t sell very well. In fact, the National Council on Jeep/Eagle dealers went to Chrysler and asked them to stop producing the Jeep Comanche because it wasn’t selling. They then requested that they sell a version of the Dodge Dakota pick-up instead.
While the current Jeep CEO hints at the possibility of a new generation of Jeep pick-up trucks we can all bask in the history of the Jeep Comanche. While it may not be a Jeep Wrangler we can all appreciate, it has a place in the annuls of Jeep lore.
Is a Jeep Pickup Truck not your style? How about a 6-wheel drive JK?