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A Brand New Grand Wagoneer Can't Beat This Cummins-Swapped 1986 SJ, Way Cheaper Too

The modern WS-series Jeep Grand Wagoneer is a profoundly different beast than the legacy SJ-series from the early 60s through the early 1990s that inspired it. You'd expect this to be the case, what with roughly 60 years separating between the start of production on either vehicle. But what if you want a classic-looking package with all the retro styling we love but with a certain modern flare that not even the latest Grand Wagoneers have?
1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap 21 photos
Photo: BaT User: Jamesappel6
1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap1986 Grand Wagoneer Cummins Swap
If there was any critique of the new platform, the lack of a diesel engine option would surely be one of them. Not so with this 1986 Grand Wagoneer residing in Ramsey, Minnesota. Its aftermarket Cummins 6BT six-cylinder diesel is well suited to bringing another layer of mystique and majesty that the stock truck never carried. Late-model, gen-I Wagoneers made by AMC instead of the original manufacturers at Kaiser left the line with everything from AMC straight-sixes to two different AMC V8s and even a license-sourced 5.7-liter small-block from Buick under its hood. But never a diesel option. Pity, because that combination of a solid 4WD chassis and a torquey diesel would have been fireworks when this truck was new.

But with all 12 valves of that deliciously capable 5.9-liter Cummins goodness sitting under the hood of this restomod, we get an idea of what such a machine would've been like to drive had AMC tried a diesel option. Sitting behind the engine is a Mopar-sourced A518 four-speed automatic transmission paired lovingly with an NP205 dual-range transfer case built by New Process Gear in Syracuse, New York. When combined with a PowerTrax locking rear diff, a heavy-duty torque converter from Goerend, and beefy Bilstein shocks, you have an off-roader more capable than almost anything you can get straight from the factory today.

Good thing then that the rest of this truck is so well sorted. From the vibrant burgundy color of the recently-applied exterior paint and color-matched leather interior with cloth inner seat accents to the chunky Falken Wildpeak A/T AT3W tires on 15x8-inch American Racing wheels, this Wagoneer walks the tightrope between a modern automobile and retro classic in a way few restomods truly achieve. There's not one component inside and out that sways the appeal of the finished product in one direction or another. So to speak, it satisfies the needs of Cummins diesel fans while also being a damn fine example of a fully-restored classic Jeep.

It's this kind of forward-thinking and cleverly planned-out execution that makes gearheads go ga-ga when we see it applied to custom cars. That's why you should check out the Bring a Trailer listing for this beast before someone snags it and keeps it as an heirloom for the next 50 years. At least, that's what we'd do if given the chance.
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