HomePick of the DayAs-new Jeep Cherokee Chief with ultra-low original mileage

As-new Jeep Cherokee Chief with ultra-low original mileage


Sometimes, you just have to wonder: how is it that some cool vehicles get sold, brought home and, then, just never driven? Sure, you see that with super-exotic sports cars that investors buy for the sole purpose of someday flipping, but others are just inexplicable.

Take the Pick of the Day, for instance.  Here we have a 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief, a mighty 4X4 with all the trimmings, ready to romp, and offered for sale 40 years later with just a little over 6,700 miles on its odometer. 

Cherokee Chief
Paint and trim are apparently factory

How does this happen?  Guess we’ll never know because this wide-wheel S-model was re-discovered in 2011 after 14 years storage and having been driven just 5,500 miles, according to the seller, a Jeep wagon specialist dealer/restorer in Kerrville, Texas, advertising the Cherokee on ClassicCars.com

The Cherokee Chief was apparently in crusty, musty condition after its long slumber because it needed extensive freshening to get it back on the road, according to the ad. The dealer sold it then, and now has it back for resale with just another 1,200 miles added on. 

“After a complete rebuild and cleanup, the Jeep went to a senior enthusiast who has babied it, but added headers and 3″ dual exhaust for that great harmony,” the dealer says in the ad.

Cherokee Chief
The Jeep was equipped with the wide-wheel option

“This is one of the best-driving Jeeps we’ve owned and a real trophy! Rarest Jeep to find in this condition!”

The Cherokee Chief is a two-door four-wheeler based on the Wagoneer, a sporty rendition that competed with the Chevy Blazer and Ford Bronco. 

Although the information in the ad is skimpy, this one seems to be wearing its original bright-orange paint with Cherokee Chief graphics and its original tan interior.  The Jeep looks to be in immaculate condition in the gallery of photos with the ad, with shiny paint and chrome, and unmarred seats and interior trim.

Cherokee Chief
The very-’70s interior like like new

The brawny wagon is powered by a V8 – although there’s no info about which of the available engines is on board – and a 4-speed manual transmission, which would add to the fun.  The four-wheel drive is accessed via another floor shifter, including the low-range setting.

This Cherokee Chief is most certainly a rare find, and the asking price reflects that at a very strong $49,000, well above the top of the value range according to the Hagerty price guide.  But as they say, try to find another essentially brand-new 40-year-old example of this desirable Jeep model.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. Very cool! Brings back memories. These things had a "Quadra Track" chain driven four wheel drive system that did not like to be used hard. Used with common sense, however, they were awesome.
    I’d love to have it.

  2. In my 50 years of wheeling and dealing in old cars, I have seen a lot of "Low mile" 40 year old vehicles. Most sellers can’t prove the "low miles". The true low mile cars have a true paper trail. If this vehicle is a true "low mile" lets do the math. Put in storage in 1997 with 5500 miles. That means it was only driven 5500 miles in 19 years. Then it was taken out of storage in 2011 after 14 years and driven 1200 miles until up for sale in 2018.Where is the proof for the first 19 years? My thoughts it was put in storage with 105,500 miles and restored in 2011….Show the proof. Thank you….Elvin

    • Even if you could prove the mileage there’s no way it’s worth almost 50K.. You’ve been watching to much Barrett Jackson.

  3. My father had one in this exact spec, I wonder if it could be the same one? I’m not sure what happened to it. It was the source of a lot of family strife. My mother hated it and made him sell it immediately and my brother who was in the service at the time wanted to buy it. Dad wouldn’t let him have it without cash in hand (my bro had a rep) and there was a big family feud. It’s possible my brother got it in the end and he was stationed in Texas at the time…

  4. In my 45+ years of driving and owning 100s of cars I am not and have never been impressed with "low mileage cars." Especially old cars. Anyone that knows cars will tell you things age and deteriorate by natural process such as all rubber parts, seals, gaskets, hoses etc. Fluids go bad components fail etc. IMHO real value lies in rust free and accident free vehicles. Repaints tend to hide flaws bondo and defects unless photos were taken before and after. Old fiberglass cars IE: Corvettes are the worst as the material will degrade as concrete does over time. And of course equally important is how the owner has taken car of and maintained the vehicle be it 200 miles or 200,000 miles, but the fact remains an old car is still an old car.


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