Jeep® Heritage | 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade

Jeep® Heritage | 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade


Each Friday on the Jeep® Blog, we explore the Jeep brand’s iconic heritage by highlighting a different historical vehicle. This week’s vehicle is the 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade .


“She was born to run free far from the pavement.”


Jeep® Heritage | 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade


Renegades reject convention, opting to blaze their own paths instead. The Jeep® CJ-5 Renegade models were instrumental in not only changing the image of the CJ-5 from 1972 to 1983, but changing the Jeep brand itself.


Jeep® Heritage | 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade


Although the CJ-5 Renegade I and II models came out in 1970 and 1971, it wasn’t until 1972 that the “Renegade” distinguished itself as a nameplate of its own. What changed? The performance, the looks and the soul of the vehicle.



Starting in 1972, the Jeep CJ-5 Renegade featured a 304 cu. in., 5.0-liter V-8 engine. The 1972 and 1973 editions had a standard 3.73:1 axle ratio with a rear Trac-Lok that could be upped to an available 4:27:1. Standard performance features varied somewhat throughout the life of the Renegade, though the V-8 and Trac-Lok rear axle were always available.


Jeep® Heritage | 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade


Early Renegades were given wild Orange, Plum, and Yellow exterior options. Decaling was another way in which the Renegade truly stood out from the crowd. For the 1972 and 1973 models, special decaling adorned the hood and down the sides of the hood with “Renegade” in large lettering. The decal placement and the location and font of the “Renegade” lettering evolved over the years, but one thing remained constant: the Renegade always stood out.


Jeep® Heritage | 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade


Today, CJ-5 Renegade models remain some of the most cherished and collectible Jeep vehicles.


Check out these great photos and, especially, the ads below for Renegade models throughout the years. Do you remember the Jeep CJ-5 Renegade models? Better yet, do you have any cool Renegade stories to share? Let us know in the comments section below.


Jeep® Heritage | 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade
Jeep® Heritage | 1972–1983 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade
  • Glenn Roach

    Why did they quit making them ?????? They were just the right size to slide into some tight parking places. I would gladly trade my 96 Jeep Cherokee Sport for one.

    • Paul

      The Government “Ruling” that they were unstable!!! If a driver were to corner to fast the Jeep CJ may roll over, as in any other vehicle. That is the reason that CJ production was stopped and the Wrangler was introduced.

  • bill

    this was my first new vehicle, wish i still had it.

  • Paul

    Renegades are amazing, I love them. The only problem I had with the CJ-5 is the curve in the door that would get in the way when trying to get in, and the back seat was not big enough at all. CJ-7 took care of that problem!

  • michael fischer

    I had over 220,000 miles on my Jeep until someone crashed into me and totaled it. Jeeps are the best built vehicle on the planet …Mike Fischer. USN (retired)

  • Matt Holland

    I have a ’74 CJ-5 Renegade with the original 304 parked at my parents house to this day. I love that old Jeep, it may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the hard core trail rigs, but it’s always taken me wherever I wanted to go (even if that was at the end of a stiff rope).

  • Ed

    I had the 1972 Renegade. That rig took me anywhere i wanted to go and never once broke in the 8 years I owned it.Traversed the Rubicon trail 7 times in it.along with many other high sierra trails. While I am 60 now and dont feel like rock hopping anymore…I sure do miss the comfort and confidence that i had with that Jeep..I knew I could go anywhere i needed to go except when the laws of gravity interfered

  • Jennifer canter

    My parents had that exactly make and model in that color while I was growing up, bring back great memories! Thanks for posting.

  • Joe

    I’m rebuilding a 1978 cj5 right now and having a blast doing it. The cj5’s has such a classic look. I can’t wait to drive it!

  • Ruggedridge

    That jeep looks so cool it gives me ideas of how to reinvent my drive for such a classic look.I love it very bright and looks youthful.

  • guillaume herve-gruyer

    The renegade became a regular production package in ’74 not ’72 (was before 74 a limited production only)

  • donna grounds

    Like to trade my cj5 for something for my daughter to drive its very nice im n charleston wv

  • Alex Sullivan

    I have a 78 cj5 with a 304 and a 3 spd manual. No power steering or brakes! I put a push button kraco radio and a 8 track player in it too haha. Still have the original tan levis seats with not a single rip. Absolutely love it

  • Dan D

    Guillaume is correct…’74 was the first full production year for the Renegade. I bought a new ’74 with all options except the heavy duty chassis…what a Jeep it was….’74 Renegades had the body coloured windshield frame and no tailgate.
    Renegade I and Renegade II were pre’74 and limited production as was the Super Jeep.(CJ5).

  • mark r

    I like my 1974 cj5. I’m currently restoring it. I bought a extra jeep for parts, but it runs as well. Parts are high priced. I guess it cost to play.

  • Iron Mike

    My retired CJ-7 makes a reliable plow truck

    p.s. check out these retro renegade and scrambler shirts

  • kmanthie

    I was trying to find a history of the Renegade & found an entry on Wikipedia for the Jeep Renegade – but the ONLY thing their “Jeep Renegade” featured was the new, 2014-15 models, built in Italy (now that Fiat is the parent of Chrysler) and made w/a Fiat platform-from a similar Fiat SUV. I was astonished that there wasn’t a single mention of the older, classic Renegades like the CJ-5 shown above. I used 2C those Renegades all over, back in the 70s & 80s. Then, and I’m sure it had something to do w/Chrysler owning the Jeep marque after 88 or so, when AMC folded, sometime in the mid-late 90s or so I started noticing – or, rather, failed to notice, Jeep Renegades driving around – instead, all I ever saw, besides the Cherokee models, was the “Wrangler”, which was similar to the Renegade, but for some reason I remember there was something about the Renegade (maybe it was just me) that stood apart. As far as the new, Italian-made Renegades-it looks awful, especially compared w/the original, as shown above. It’s all curvy and rounded, too European as well. I don’t know why they even bothered to call it a Renegade (although, maybe the “CJ-5″ designation had a lot to do w/the original), which is known, officially, as a “Renegade BU” (I don’t know what the “BU” stands for. -maybe “butt ugly”!!).

  • Patrick X Kallemeyn

    My son and I just bought an old Renegade ’72 were gonna fix it up!