Jeep® CJ5 Renegade History | The Great Escape

The Jeep® CJ-5 Renegade can be credited for capturing the “Jeeping” spirit among younger Americans to go out and explore the country. The 1972-83 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade was the first to feature a 3.8 L (optional 4.2 L) American Motors-built engine, and starting in 1972 the wheelbase was stretched 3 inches and a full-floating Dana 30 axle was made available. Even more capable of severe off-roading, the Renegade was transformed into an adventure icon. And perhaps as important, the Great Escape ads were simply fantastic.


  • Lonster

    This is the Jeep my uncle had when I was a kid. I fell in lve with it and have wanted one ever since. I just got one, finally, a year ago!

  • emeraldcite

    I just sold my 74 Jeep Renegade. Was originally yellow and had the 304. She need some work, but was a good Jeep. Sad to part with her. Stupid recession.

  • John

    What a beast, my first car was a YJ renegade 91 with 6cyl 4.0L engine 4″ body lift and 31″ tires, i cant tell how much fun it was to drive it. Sold it and bought a bmw instead, what a same now when I think about it.

  • Dave

    I’ve got one that I absolutely LOVE!!!!!!!  She’s a running/driving work in progress…every time I have some extra cash laying around she get closer to being complete.  I’m down to an engine overhaul (just because) and a paint job.

  • jerry roach

    id like to recive pictures of the 1997 1998 an 1999 models jeeps the vaule of the v/8 4×4 loaded im fixin to search for one black are in a dark blue with a silver blend are tint thank you send videos are pics an vaule thank ya jerry roach

  • Tim Yohn

    have 14 jeeps at my place my baby is a 74 cj5 . 9 of the jeeps are mid 70s cj5s love it

  • Pondo Sinatra

    I have an 82 CJ-5 and love it. What is dissapointing is the lack of aftermarket accessories for it, Oh there are some things out there, but getting less and less each year. Example…..I would love to get a Bestop soft-top with the fold back sun roof. Guess what !! They don’t make it !!, and Safari doors ???…Nope……Oh well

  • Lane J

    my parents bought one (purple color scheme) gave it to my brother for graduation,,,he still has it,,,that was our family car

  • Joe Spag

    Had a ’76 CJ-5 with the levi package in High School in 1978. Glass packs, headers, racing cam, that thing would out climb anything, go anywhere. Only problem was so much torque it would below the header gaskets (and locking bolts) when I got on it off-roading. Wow, great memories of that little jeep. Never needed 4low.

    • 78CJ5-304

      Since that time they have developed some high temperature RTV (red Permatex for example) that can help out with that a great deal. I took a flat file to my header flanges and a new gasket and red RTV and have never had to mess with it since. Before that just with a dry gasket it would loosen up and leak on a regular basis.

  • JD

    I have a 73 with the 304 AMC. I love my toy!

  • tayloeceaftbc65

    THAT was one great jeep, built before the STUPID computers that run the Jeeps now. At least until I get one and TEAR the computer, and the rest of the Ralph Nader Hippie junk out, and replace it with a carb, and points type dizzy. Did that to my 1990 2.5 YJ by putting a CJ7 intake, 2 BBL carb, and CJ dizzy that I modified onto the engine, GONE were the warm start problems that would strand me, that NO dealer could find the cause of. After I pulled the switch, the Faithful Steed has lived up to it’s name, and has NEVER MISSED A LICK in THIRTEEN YEARS!! BOY do I wish that I could afford an old flat fender with a FLATHEAD FOUR engine in it. Brie

  • 78CJ5-304

    As my name implies, I have a 78 CJ5 with the 304. Love it and it gets attention from the Jeep savy people out there. It’s not a vehicle for everyone, but I am having a blast. I actually do not mind having electronic ignition (did a HEI conversion distributor recently to replace the stock FoMoCo Duraspark, huge improvement!) and the carb is a little hassle at times but I don’t mind. Love seeing the old ads for these, thanks for sharing, I bought some original ads and magazines off EBay.

  • Terry

    I bought a new CJ7 in 1977 and hated was a hard top ,automatic with no low range. What was I thinking ? I traded it for a new 1978 CJ5 with the Renegade package,304V8 and soft top and doors. Now THAT I loved !! I now have a 2010 two door Black Rubicon, both tops..LOVE it !

  • aaron

    I just bought a 77 barn project in July.  Since then I have rebuilt the 258, and am on the chassis now. I expect to have it finished by Feb 2012.  The more I restore, the more the beauty comes out and Im so excited I cant stand it!  Right now Im trying to find the hard to find missing parts… like a heater unit, and some missing linkage on the carter carb, but I cant believe how beautifully most of the origonal parts have restored to almost new condition.  SOMEONE at one time, loved her very much and took great care of her. (before the barn days)… I cant wait till Its finished, and I will post pics when it is.  BTW… any help with sites that would help me find these parts would be appreciated.  Send to my email at  THANKS!

  • Jay

    My father used to have an 1979 Jeep CJ-7 Renegade. This vehicle was the start of my love for jeeps. For what this jeep could do on trails has shamed trucks and blazers of that era. Presently on my second jeep of my own. First was a 1999 TJ with the 4-cyl. Present one is a 2002 TJ 4.0 and everytime I have a little money to spare it goes into the jeep for parts, upgrades, etc. It’s a Jeep thing, most people won’t understand.

  • Rob

    I’m looking for a 1978 CJ5, 304, black with blue levis interior package…

    Any ideas where to start?

  • Heath

    All the Jeep parts that are not made anymore. Jeep needs to bring back the Jeep parts. There is definetely a market for sought after parts made the same way they were in the old days. Please make the Jeep parts right here at home. ” Made in The U.S.A. ” Bring more American jobs home and more Jeeps on & off the roads too !!! American families having a Sunday picinic after church in their Jeeps. God Bless America. =)

  • Heath

    A customer suggestion:

    Jeep could make an announcement on the major TV news networks ABC CBS NBC CNN FOX MSNBC etc. that Jeep is bringing back hard to find parts or parts not made anymore will be made again right here in the U.S.A. with a tour of the Jeep factory where the hard to find parts are being made. That would make the Jeep family American Proud. =)

  • Heath

    Stamp the Jeep parts with Made in the U.S.A. 2013 to indicate this is a Jeep part made in 2013 for example a cast iron part made in the 1960’s – 1970’s would be original in the box part meanwhile the cast iron part made in 2013 would be stamped Made in The U.S.A. 2013. Hope ya understand what I mean ? =)