Back in the 1980s, it was no big deal to see a Toyota Land Cruiser or Jeep Grand Wagoneer in a parking lot. Sure, the Grand Wagoneer was pretty luxurious, and the Land Cruiser was a beast off-road. But no one could have guessed they were future classics.
Today, low-mileage examples of either can cost more $30,000 if they’re in great condition. Heck, a mint condition Grand Wagoneer can go for $50,000 to the right buyer. That’s not air-cooled Porsche money, but that’s some serious cash to spend on a 30-year-old SUV. What are people thinking?
Well, as Doug DeMuro points out in his latest video, part of the appeal is that old SUVs are a great way to get back to the basics while still feeling relatively modern. There’s no adjustable air suspension or touchscreen navigation system in a Grand Wagoneer, and there’s no adaptive cruise control or automatic crawl control in an old Land Cruiser, which can be refreshing. Yet neither vehicle feels as dated and rickety as, say, a post-war pickup truck.
They were also styled at a time when modern crash test standards, fuel economy requirements, and pedestrian safety regulations had yet to be implemented. As a result, their styling was much more distinctive. Seeing a Nissan Rogue on the road probably won’t stand out to you any more than seeing a Hyundai Tucson, but you’re definitely going to notice a wood-sided Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
Of course, you also can’t forget that these old SUVs are undeniably cool. They might not be $50,000 worth of cool, but it’s always going to be awesome to see an old-school off-roader still on the road.