Showdown: Dirt Wagon Edition

1984 Jeep Wagoneer for sale1995 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ80 for sale

Over the weekend, UDMan pitted arch-rival Chevy and Ford pickups against one another, but it was more of a philosophical thing, what with no poll and all. It’s also roughly tied based on the comments. The last time we kept score, the Marlin turned the Barracuda to chum.

This time around, we’re looking at the ever-popular market segment of “roughly full size SUVs that are actually worth a damn offroad”. In short, something that’ll haul 4-5, their gear and the dog down a trail. Being able to tow the occasional project car is another plus. In case you’re not catching on, this one’s of personal significance in the _Science household. On one hand, we’ve got the classic clean lines of the Brooks Stevens designed Jeep Wagoneer. The other brings back the 90s in a big way with less classic round lines from Toyota’s “lets make everything round” era.

The Wagoneer holds all kinds of records, most centered around the longest running use of something old, be it styling, chassis or carbureted AMC V8s. The upside to that is roughly 30 years of parts availability and drivetrain parts swappage. The downside (depending on how you look at it) is you’ve gotta explain to everyone that an AMC 360 is not the same as a Chrysler 360.

This one’s got a rebuilt engine, tranny and transfer case, 4″ lift and rear ARB air locker. The outside’s a bit rough, but perfectly appropriate for a trail machine. We’d ditch the purple tint, though. (Seriously, who likes that stuff?). The lack of interior shots is a bit disconcerting, but for the purposes of comparison, we’ll assume that given the $14,000 price tag that it’s damn-near perfect. At that price, it better be.

Many lament the soccer-mom-ification of Toyota’s venerable FJ platform with the FJ80 model. These people are ignorant. Locking diffs front and rear, a rear-steering high pinion front axle, full-floating rear axle, long-travel coil suspension, and 32″ tires read like a shopping list for the first $5 grand you’ve gotta spend on any other 4×4 (including an OG FJ40) before you hit the trails for real.

This one’s been treated to a mild lift, some armor, a winch and a sweet set of drawers in the back. Oh, and a supercharger. The forest green paint (again with the 90s stuff) and black tint look great. In this case, the interior shots justify the price, as you’ll be cruising in comfort and style well past the decline of modern civilization…provided you can stay on top of the quarter mile of vacuum tubing in the engine bay. The bidding’s currently just shy of $12 grand, but the seller’s revealed the reserve is set at $14k. We’ve got a definite $14k FJ versus a they-better-be-talking-OBO $14k Wagoneer. It’s likely that the semi-near future will see the roles of the Mad_Science Country Sedan and Wrangler rolled into one, most likely one of these two options. I’ve got my own favorite, but how would you rather hit the trail? [poll id=”21″]

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