Courtesy of
  • 304-ci V8
  • BorgWarner manual 3-speed transmission
  • Renegade Orange
  • 39,000 original miles
  • Original Renegade racing stripes and vinyl
  • 30×9.50R15LT Hercules Trail Digger MT tires
  • Ceramic-coated Hedman headers
  • Dana 44 Trac-Lok rear end
  • Dana 30 front axle
  • Warn premium locking hubs
  • Soft half doors
  • Bimini top

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade
Years Produced:1954–83
Number Produced:603,303
Original List Price:$2,955 base
SCM Valuation:$15,500
Tune Up Cost:$250
Chassis Number Location:Driver’s side firewall, near brake booster
Engine Number Location:Passenger’s side valve cover, facing radiator
Alternatives:1976–86 Jeep CJ-7, 1987–97 Jeep Wrangler YJ, 1966–71 International Harvester Scout 800
Investment Grade:C

This Jeep, Lot F200, sold for $17,820 at MAG Auctions’ Hot August Nights Collector Car Auction in Reno, NV, on August 9, 2019.

At this price, it was a comparative steal, with other Jeeps of the era often selling for upwards of $25,000.

Made for decades, but not in bulk

You don’t have to know much about Jeeps to know about CJ-5s. They were built from 1954 to 1983, but only a tick over 603,000 were made in that time. And yet these things seem to be all over the place. But that’s because unless you’re a Jeep connoisseur, you may not always be able to tell the difference between the many models.

The CJ-5 came out in 1954 and the CJ-6 in 1955. The CJ-6 had a 20-inch-longer wheelbase and was built until 1981, while the CJ-5 ceased production after 1983. The CJ-7, naturally, followed these two in 1976, and it had a 10-year run on the market as well. But all three of them have the same distinctive Jeep look, and so one could understand why it’s easy to get confused.

But then there’s the important question: Which one is more valuable to the collector?

The CJ-7 seems to fetch higher prices: A 1981 went for $1,310,000 at Barrett-Jackson this past January (ACC# 6891271), although it was clearly an outlier. On the average, it seems like more CJ-7s can pull numbers in the $30,000–$45,000 range, but those numbers have cooled down in recent years. The current median is $16,500.

The CJ-5 has a longer history, but the highest price we’ve seen was $49,500 for a Golden Eagle in October 2018 (ACC #6885642). And, interestingly enough, every CJ-5 that’s sold for over $30,000 was model-year 1966 or newer. The median is just $10,500 for models up to ’71, and $15,500 for later rigs.

A special year

With all that said, there is something that should make this particular Jeep stand out besides its low mileage. This Jeep is a 1972, which puts it at the start of a new era.

Originally, Jeep was owned by Willys Motors. Come 1955, it was a part of Kaiser Industries, which is also when the CJ-5 was still new and the CJ-6 was introduced. But in 1970, Kaiser sold the company to American Motors (AMC), and they decided that it was time for a change. Previously, Kaiser had used a Buick 225-ci V6 for some of their Jeeps. But AMC wanted to run their own motors in their vehicles, so in 1972 they introduced a 304-ci V8. This Jeep has that motor.

Of course, getting a V8 under the stock hood just wasn’t going to work. So they took the front end and lengthened the sheet metal five inches, while pushing the underlying chassis forward another three.

That means that this particular truck has the V8 — which most people think is good — and the stretched front clip — which pushes it outside the realm of being passable for a pre-1972 CJ-5. Is that good or bad? That’s up to you.

Living on the edge

Then there’s the model itself. The original Renegade I came out in 1970, equipped with special colors and striping, performance upgrades and 8-inch wheels. Renegade II followed in 1971, with different colors, a hood stripe, alloy wheels, and more. By 1972, Renegade was a regular production appearance-package option.

This truck also has original paint, and the previous owner did what they’re calling a “researched, preserved-not-restored” rebuild. Basically, if they could keep it stock, they did, and nothing was overdone. Granted, the truck had 39,000 miles on it, so, in theory, it could’ve been in pretty good shape. But it’s a Jeep, so who knows what kind of off-road driving it’s seen.

There is one other thing that bears noting. In December 1980, “60 Minutes” dedicated a portion of the show to demonstrating that the CJ-5 could roll over in low-speed scenarios. It’s this episode that’s generally considered to be the death knell for that model, which also led to the introduction of a more stable Jeep. Fun fact: It turns out that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — the ones who did that demonstration — were only able to roll the CJ-5 over in eight out of 435 turns, so the panic was overblown.

Riding the red dirt road

So at the end of the day, is this a good deal? If you look at the comps, then yes, absolutely. This thing sold for almost half of what similar models and years sold for, and it’s a low-miles rig. But why did it go for such seemingly light money?

First, condition could have played a part. Remember that this jeep wasn’t completely restored, and while it looks good overall, some of the details may not have been as sharp as needed for buyers in the room. It does have some aftermarket accessories as well, and even though most seem to be period-correct, they may not be as desirable for today’s consumer. Most importantly, while vintage SUVs continue to climb in value, old Jeeps typically have a harder time — some of which is due to that long production of visually similar models.

Regardless, somebody got a heck of a deal on a nice-looking Jeep, and there’s quite likely some upside here if it’s returned to 100% stock — and has any rough edges sharpened — before its next auction appearance.

(Introductory description courtesy of MAG Auctions.)

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