Fastest SUV In The World: 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited – SOLD!
As a former owner of a Jeep “ZJ” Grand Cherokee Laredo, the holy grail for me would be to find a one-year-only 5.9 Limited model such as the example originally posted in February 2020 on Craigslist in Westport, Connecticut where the then caretaker had it listed for $5,000. A quick check of the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool confirms the seller has his ZJ priced with the “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $3,100, $5,325, and $8,050, respectively.
While Jeep produced its highly successful “ZJ” Grand Cherokee from 1993 through 1998, the company offered the 5.9L Limited such as the one featured here for the last year of production only to keep sales strong before its replacement entered production. Having more luxury and performance than that of the regular Limited, nearly fifteen thousand of the approximately one quarter million Grand Cherokees produced that year ended up being 5.9 Limited models. In addition to the luxury features, Jeep stuffed Chrysler’s 245 horsepower 5.9 Liter Magnum V8 of the time under the hood. With 345 pound-feet of torque on hand, Grand Cherokee 5.9’s were capable of 0-60 mile per hour times of about seven seconds which put it on par with some sports car of the day. Credited as the first high-performance SUV ever offered, Chrysler advertised the model as “The Fastest SUV In The World” and it was named the 1998 four-wheel-drive vehicle of the year by Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine.
The 5.9 Jeep Grand Cherokee included a number of improvements over the top of the line “limited” Grand Cherokee, that were unique to the 5.9. This included, in addition to the premium motor, all the options found on the limited edition, in addition to:
- a higher output alternator
- revised low profile roof racks (used on the next generation)
- unique wood grain accents
- full calf nap leather interior
- chrome-tipped exhaust
- unique front grille
- unique side rocker panels
- fully functional heat extractor hood louvers
- rear leather armrest
- higher output Infinity premium stereo system with trunk speakers bar
- leather-wrapped shift and e-brake handles
- unique leather door inserts, armrests, and console lid.
- unique five-star wheels
- black sidewall (BSW) tires
- electric cooling fan in lieu of a mechanical clutch fan used with the 5.2
Despite its flaws and patina the seller honestly states in their description, this is an awesome platform to start your next Jeep build with. “ZJ” Grand Cherokees are very capable off-roaders and the addition of the 5.9L Magnum V8 provides much more power than the typical 4.0L inline six to get you out of trouble. As soon as we replaced the rusty rocker panels and frame connector (replacement parts are readily available), we would get to work adding a proper NP242 two-speed transfer case and front hub conversion to give it much better off-road capability. Not only will showing up on the trails with this 5.9 Limited get you respect among the Jeep crowd, but your new ZJ is also a welcome addition at any RADwood you clear a path to get to. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9L V8 162k miles — IF AD IS UP, CAR IS AVAILABLE FOR SALE
Rare car, only 15,000 made – one production year with this trim and engine, read what Doug has to say about it:
Runs and drives well, recent service, properly maintained vehicle
No Check Engine lights
Leather interior in pretty good shape
Working sunroof that doesn’t leak
Very dark, professionally installed window tint, no peeling at all
Tires are Goodyear Wrangler ST’s with at least 50% tread
K&N Air Filter
LED Headlight conversion
Exhaust replaced recently, sounds great
4×4 works perfectly can also run in 2WD
Trailer hitch receiver
Tree branch fell on the front quarter panel, see photo
Front suspension creaks, but doesn’t seem to affect driveability
Rocker panels are rusty underneath the plastics, common on Cherokees
Horn doesn’t work
Center console display shows two messages – Coolant sensor bad, and service 4WD switch – mechanic has told me that the cooling system and 4WD have no problems, but something in the electronics is causing these messages
Headliner is pinned up
Heated seats don’t work
Gas mileage is atrocious, but that is normal
Cash only, in person deals.
Do not need help selling. Will not ship to China, I don’t deal with the Crown Prince of Ethiopia, no traveler’s checks etc. Don’t waste my time
Call/Text Tom @ 20three 31seven 316five”
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