Jeep® Heritage | 1981–1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler

Jeep® Heritage | 1981–1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler


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 1980–1986 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler.


Picture this: You and your best friend are planning a camping trip through some pretty rugged terrain. Which of you has the vehicle capable enough to climb and crawl over and through the mud, rocks and anything else that stands in its way? Well, if it’s 1981, the answer is whoever drives the Jeep® CJ-8 Scrambler.



Jeep® Heritage | 1981–1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler


Akin to the popular CJ-7, the CJ-8 was the answer to this question: “When are we going to get more space?” Sporting a modest 103.5-inch wheel base, the Jeep brand tacked on an extended rear overhang, creating a mini-pickup-style truck bed with just over 30 cubic feet of cargo space, designed for a 1,500-pound payload.


The Scrambler used the traditional transfer case and manual front-locking hubs to engage the four-wheel drive. Most models featured a four- or five-speed manual transmission, but a three-cylinder automatic option was made available by the end of the model’s run in 1985.

Jeep® Heritage | 1981–1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler

Coming in soft- and hardtop models, the SR and SL Sport models had a few more cosmetic touches than the baseline model, featuring “Scrambler” lettering and striping to complement the exterior color. A full-length fiberglass hardtop covering was an available option, as were wooden side running boards.


Jeep® Heritage | 1981–1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler


Though it was a modest seller in its day, popularity of the Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler soared after it was discontinued in 1986, and still lives on today in the eyes of collectors. Do you have a favorite story about your Scrambler? Let us know in the comments section below.

  • Gene

    we have a V8 Jeep going to a Chevy,350cir,330hp.we have a 1978 C-J 7Golden-Eagle. and it has a auto T400,Q-T. and all the ops you can get, this Chevy, will be a good way Yes /No???? help. the AMC V8 dead.

  • RubiTrux

    The Scrambler is where we got the inspiration for RubiTrux!

  • Amy Warren

    I had a 1981 Scrambler in 1999, it needed some TLC , but she was a good runner. I had her for five years before I had to sell her.Lots of good times. :)

  • John McGee.

    I have owned 26 Scrambler. Own 5 now. My favorite was my 82 model with 360 auto. 38″ tires. It was my toy for years. My father in law helped me take it from a rust bucket with potential to a very capable nice looking ride in a week. I actually named my first born CJ after this Jeep.

  • Randy Statton

    We own a 1982 Scrambler. Purchased form the original owner, modifications performed in our shop include a 5.3 V8, 4L60E transmission, Rubicon transfer case, 4.56 gears with electric lockers, Wagoneer axles, 35″ tires, a full roll cage, and many other modifications. The Scrambler is my Favorite Jeep, this one’s my daily driver and it’s a keeper!

  • Carl

    I believe the posting should have read, “three-speed automatic…” not , “three-cylinder automatic…” as is stated. Don’t think a three cylinder was ever offered.

  • Jeremy

    i have a 1982 Scrambler bought it used in 1995, always wanted one, and love to this day!

  • Scott

    Heritage, Jeep…Heritage… I.e. don’t forget yours! Ditch the damn street 4×4’s and bring us back our (real) Cherokees, Comanches, Commandos, Scramblers and (I fear it’s only a matter of time) Wranglers!! Keep your street Jeep design if you must… make it the “Grand Cherokee”…(after all, from 80’s on that’s about all they are worth) but don’t mess with the rest!!! Heritage, Jeep… Heritage… you are NOT Kia!! You ARE NOT in the business of luxury vehicles!!!!!! You ARE the makers of the most rugged vehicles out there!! Do not forget that!!