RustyButTrusty on the Street – Jeep, Saab, Eagle, BMW

Still chronicling the diverse assortment of cars found on the streets of western states, and there’s a lot of material out there. If you were born in the 1970s or later, you probably remember these as fuel-gulping dinosaurs with antiquated styling and wood trim out of the 1970s. But when they were introduced, Jeep Wagoneers were a very early SUV in the modern idiom, equipped with power steering, automatic transmission, and an overhead cam six, several years before Range Rover and nearly two decades ahead of the Ford Explorer. This particular car is one of the last of its kind, and apparently the owner was not interested in the many more modern options available on the market, even before the Exploder showed up.


While any car having a 14-year production run (like the one below) would be considered long in the tooth, it pales in comparison to the Jeep above, which enjoyed a 28-year production run. This particular 900 is an earlier (1984ish) car, and the new car buyer enjoyed a 145hp turbo engine. That may not sound like a lot, but cars were not fat with luxury features back then, and when smog-choked V8s had the same power with more wheezing, the punch in the back from the turbo when the engine hit 3000rpm was quite impressive.


Another car available around the same time as the two above is this 1989ish Eagle Premier. Originally intended to be marketed as a Renault, and based on the Renault 25, it was a victim of Renault’s sale of AMC to Chrysler. While originally targeted at affluent Jeep Grand Wagoneer customers, the car was lumped in the Eagle lineup with some rebranded subcompact Mitsubishis. It also had fairly competitive specifications relative to its competitors, and Chrysler even went as far as upgrading it and naming it the Dodge Monaco, but to no avail. Of course, the bland, boxy styling, from Giugiaro’s dark days along with cars like the Hyundai Excel, couldn’t have helped.


Last, but not least, is a little box. And this one is special for being an early BMW 1600, with California black plates to suggest it was sold between 1967 and 1969. Notice what must be unusual early-model details, including flush indicators and a non-painted grill. This particular car also has later steel wheels, and if the seats are original to the car, the headrests and side marker lights (removed from the front) suggest this was built closer to 1969.



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3 Responses to “RustyButTrusty on the Street – Jeep, Saab, Eagle, BMW”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    Those Eagle Premiers had a well deserved reputation for gawdawfulness; it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one.

  2. steve in podunk Says:

    I used to see these sell for a few hundred dollars at the dealer auctions when they were only a few years old. No one would buy them that knew their business; Sterlings, Caddy Cateras, Subie XT’s, and any Hyundaii or Kia built in the last century were likewise avoided if you didn’t want angry customers assaulting you after the sale.

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