NEW! Award 68: 1978 Jeep J20 – Sold?

by | Apr 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Truckin Tuesday

May 18, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with this egregious asking price completely out of line with this truck’s condition, we believe this seller moved from listing locally to trying “the National sites.” If you come across please let us know where and for how much in the comments below.

I’m throwing it out locally before I list it on the national sites” is what the third owner of this 1978 Jeep J20 4×4 pickup says at the end of his listing originally posted in April 2021 on Craigslist in South County, Rhode Island.  Claiming to have only 30,242 miles on the odometer, the third owner also, “believes it to be accurate both from the condition and what I know from the previous owner.” With this undocumented information in hand, the third owner has their rusty, unclean, and patina’d J20 listed right now for $30,000. No, I did not add an extra zero.  Let’s review that asking price.

First, comparing it to the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the third owner has their J20 priced $9,100 above this guide’s current #1 “Concours” estimate of $20,900. Second, researching the Collector Car Market Review for a more desirable J10 half-ton again confirms the private seller has their J20 price is some $7,900 above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” estimate of $22,100. Third, the seller’s asking lands well beyond the high end of the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool’s  “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $3,900, $9,300, and $14,750, respectively.  Finally, a review of recent J10 and J20 sales confirmed even this website’s often optimistic bidding to date hasn’t yielded a hammer price higher the $25,000.  With an optimistic asking price that’s about $20,000 higher than what their truck is actually, we have no choice but to give the private seller our latest “NEW!” (short for “No Effin Way!” Award for an asking price that is well beyond optimistic for what they have.

Jeep’s full-size pickup, originally called the Gladiator until 1971 when it became the J-Series, was largely based on the company’s SJ Wagoneer platform built under the Kaiser, AMC, and Chrysler brands between 1962 to 1988.  The Jeep Gladiator J-Series is noteworthy for remaining in production for more than 26 years on the same automotive platform.  For 1977, still under AMC ownership, Jeep J-10 1/2 ton pickups included Dana‘s manual four-wheel-drive system, a more powerful 258 cubic inch six-cylinder engine, and heavier axle tubes, while power front disc brakes became standard equipment. Stepping up to the 3/4 ton J-20 such as the example featured here meant a jump to AMC’s 360 cubic inch V8 engine being standard with a 401 cubic inch mill optional. Jeep’s innovative full-time Quadra-Trac four-wheel-drive system was also available with both automatic and manual transmissions.

This video provides an interesting comparison test of the J-Series versus similarly equipped Chevy and Ford pick-ups that proves how tough these trucks really are:

While it’s clear the third owner has put quite a bit into their J20, in its current state and IF the low mileage can be proven true, then this truck is at best valued somewhere between a condition #4 “Fair” and #3 Good”, which is not what the seller will want to hear but that is the fact-driven reality.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“I’m considering selling my 1978 Jeep J20. I am the third owner.

Original AMC 360
T18A 4 speed transmission
Dana 20 transfer case
8 lug Dana 44hd front axle
8 lug Dana 60 rear axle
This is the last year before all the emission and smog equipment
30,000 miles on the odometer, and I believe it to be accurate (both from condition, and what I know from the previous owner).
The truck was largely unmolested when I bought it, and I have put a lot of money and time into this truck. All original body, very little rust contained in two very small areas, underside is as clean as the body. Everything I’ve touched has been done right. Runs better than new. There are a couple of old Jeep oddities. I’m happy to cover all the good, and the very few problems with a serious buyer.

Some of the things I’ve done:

High output oil pump
oil pump mid plate
Opened and polished oil ports
msd distributor
msd coil
msd plug wires
ported exaust manifolds
manifold gaskets
rebuilt heads/top end
Edelbrock intake
Holley Sniper EFI
Fuel pump cut off plate
oil pressure sending unit
fuel pump
fuel filter
Went thru all wireing
fuel tank sending unit
New fuel tank
coolant temp sending unit
coolant temp gauge
stainless exaust
6” custom lift (BJ’s) suspension lift bilstiene
Steering stabilizer
new rims
35” Micky Thompson mudders
Rebuilt axles
Interior dynamatt
Retro sounds radio (looks vintage, still have original AM)
6×9 speakers
KC led headlights
KC led fog lights
Replaced all vacuum lines for heat/vent lines
New electrical board for dashboard (NOS).
New ignition
New HD alternator
New HD starter
New solonoid
Anti sway disconnects
Custom magnaflo exhaust

I have many extra parts to go with it. I’m throwing it out locally before I list it on the national sites.”

Show or go: what would you do with this restored Triumph?  Comment below and let us know!


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