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Nice Writeup on the MJ in Old Cars Weekly


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comanche.gif Nice MJ writeup last month in Old Cars Weekly:

http://www.oldcarsweekly.com/article/JeepComanche

 

For the 1986 model year, Jeep introduced a new truck called Comanche as its entry into the compact pickup market. Due to serious concerns about gasoline availability and pricing, small trucks at the time represented a fairy large segment of the truck market and competition was intense. Jeep’s prior compact truck effort, the 1981-1985 Scrambler pickup, hadn’t done well partly because it was too small for many hauling jobs and mainly because Jeep hadn’t done a very effective job marketing it. They wouldn’t make the same mistake with the new truck.

 

Comanche was unique with a unibody pickup based on the downsized Jeep Cherokee and Wagoneer XJ platform. Although previous efforts to market a small Jeep pickup had been mostly disappointing, company execs felt that with the new truck they had an entry that could compete with the volume-selling Chevy S-10, Ford Ranger and Toyota compact pickups.

In its first year on the market, Comanche was offered in only a single long-wheelbase model available in base and up level trim variations. The standard engine was a 117-hp Jeep four-cylinder, with a 115-hp GM-built 2.8-liter V-6 optional. An 82-hp diesel four was also available.

 

Comanche sales were pretty good that first year and even better the next year when a range of short-wheelbase “SportTruck” models were added. With base prices as low as $6,495, Comanche offered tremendous value for the dollar and also was one of the best-looking small pickups available. Its performance however, was only fair. Even with the optional GM V-6 and a five-speed stick, Comanche needed about 15 seconds to go 0-60 mph, and a quarter mile run took 20.1 seconds. Naturally, when equipped with the optional automatic transmission, the little truck was even slower. However, in that fuel-challenged decade, horsepower had been largely overshadowed by gas mileage concerns. Although Comanche was a tad under-whelming when it came to performance, it was certainly no worse than any others in the compact truck segment. Gas mileage was viewed as far more important than acceleration.

 

But Jeep parent American Motors had an ace up its sleeve. For 1987, it introduced a new high-performance 4.0-liter Power-Tech Six. Based on Jeep’s prosaic cast-iron 4.2-liter in-line six, the new 4.0-liter featured sequential multi-point electronic fuel injection, automatic altitude compensation and fast-burn technology. The difference in power output between Jeep’s new in-line six and the old one was substantial, and compared to the GM-sourced V-6, it was simply amazing. The 4.0-liter cranked out a lot more horses — 173 hp versus the V-6’s 110-hp, and 220 lbs-ft of torque versus the GM engine’s puny 145 lbs-ft. There no longer was a contest; with its new 4.0-liter engine Comanche offered the most power in its class, period. Needless to say, performance was outstanding.

 

The Jeep 4.0-liter engine might be considered the first true high-performance six offered in the truck market. Take a look at the competition back then: the 1987 Chevy S-10’s optional 2.8 liter V-6 was rated at only 125 hp, while the 1987 Ford Ranger offered a 140-hp 2.9 liter six. Obviously, neither could offer performance that was anywhere near Comanche’s.

 

One indication of the 4.0’s performance potential came in late 1986, when a specially prepared 1987 Comanche powered by a modified version of the 4.0 liter set nine U.S. and four international records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The highlight was Comanche’s record average speed of 141.381 miles per hour in a two-way run over the measured mile. The top speed registered during the runs was 144.028 mph. Quarter-mile runs were clocked at 16.9 seconds, which was pretty impressive for a six-cylinder pickup back then. Whereas in previous years road testers usually referred to Comanche’s power as “adequate,” once the 4.0 liter debuted, they began to include actual acceleration runs in their tests, often noting 0-60 times well under 10 seconds — the best in its class.

 

All of which led to the introduction of a special performance model. For 1988, Jeep decided to showcase its newfound performance in a sporty pickup model with a fitting name — Comanche Eliminator. Jeep engineers created a super-sporty truck by combining Comanche’s light two-wheel drive short-wheelbase chassis with the awesome Power Tech six, along with a bunch of special trim and appearance items. Comanche Eliminator was built for enthusiasts searching for a sporty-looking truck that was actually capable of outstanding performance.

 

The Eliminator package, a bit pricey with its suggested retail price of $2,929, included the 4.0-liter inline six, rated that year at 177 hp and 224 lbs.-ft of torque along with a sturdy and smooth five-speed manual gearbox with floor shift. Four P215/65R15 OWL “Eagle GT” radial tires mounted on gorgeous (and exclusive) 15x7 10-hole aluminum wheels with bright hub centers were standard. Tachometer, gauge group, fog lamps and power steering were standard equipment. A four-speed automatic transmission with console shift was optional. Nothing in its class could touch it. Eliminator was offered strictly as a two-wheel-drive model.

 

Buyers looking for a four-wheel drive-sport truck could order a Comanche Chief, but in that model, the 4.0 engine was optional and the 10-hole alloy wheels weren’t available.

 

Although the emphasis was on performance, some luxury touches were incorporated. Eliminator models included custom-trim door panels with stowage bins and “hockey stick” armrests, floor carpeting, fabric headliner and sun visors, Wing-back bucket seats, three-spoke steering wheel, and a carpeted trim panel on the back of the cab. Highlighting the exterior were a color-keyed grille, body-color fender flares and front air dam, side decals and silver painted bumpers front and rear. Three exterior colors were offered: Classic Black, Colorado Red and Dover Gray Metallic. Only one interior trim was offered for 1988, a handsome charcoal fabric.

 

Comanche was also the best in its class as a tow vehicle. The 4.0 liter, six-cylinder, manual stick drivetrain combo was rated for trailers up to 2,000 lbs. (Class I), while the 4.0 with automatic could be optioned up to a Class III (5,000 lbs.) rating.

 

Comanche Eliminator was offered for five model years. Both the 1989 and 1990 model offered only modest appearance changes from the original. But in 1990, the company added a four-wheel drive Eliminator to the Jeep line-up, a welcome addition since the Comanche Chief had been dropped after only one year on the market. Then in 1991, Jeep boosted the 4.0’s power to 190-hp, declaring that “Absolute power erupts absolutely.”

The last year for the Jeep Eliminator was 1992. In its final year, color choices were opened up to include Midnight Blue, Hunter Green, Dark Cardovan (a deep maroon), Gray Mist, along with Black, Colorado Red and Bright White.

 

Comanche Eliminator represents a high point in American performance trucks, and one of the more coveted vintage Jeep vehicles. It’s a great-looking truck that offers comfort, ease of service, and more power than other compact trucks of the same vintage. Fuel economy is pretty decent — it’s a six, remember — and, of course, it can handle modern highway speeds without breaking a sweat. What more could you ask for?

 

:USAflag:

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Here's a variation of the same article by the same Author.

It's from the 2006 Hemmings Feature Article: Hemmings Muscle Machines.

http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/2006/01/01/hmn_feature6.html

 

Looking for an appropriate sport truck to complement your muscle car-something with decent looks to go with the grunt? I've got a suggestion. You might want to consider a sporty Jeep pickup with a very fitting name, Comanche Eliminator. It's one compact truck that offers great styling along with outstanding performance.

 

One thing you learn in this business is to avoid using terms like "the first," as in "The 1944 Fireplug Hardtop was the first car to feature an automatic ashtray emptier." The moment a writer commits something like that to print people will search high and low to find an earlier example of an automatic ashtray emptier. So I'm not going to write that the 1988 Jeep Comanche was the world's first high-performance compact pickup, or anything like that. But I will suggest it featured the first of the modern high-output six-cylinder engines that are now pretty much the norm. And I'll also tell you it's one helluva nice truck, no matter if it's first, second or last to the party.

 

With a spate of high-performance six-cylinder engines today, it's easy to forget how anemic most sixes were back in the 1980s. Some examples: the 1987 Chevy S-series Blazer offered an optional 2.8-liter V-6 rated at only 125hp, while the 4.3-liter V-6 used in the Chevy Astro produced just 150hp. Ford's Aerostar, in 1987, offered a 145hp 3.0-liter V-6 while Bronco II models came with a 140hp 2.9-liter six. Obviously, with one of these under the hood you weren't going anywhere in a hurry.

 

But for 1987 Jeep introduced its new high-performance 4.0-liter Power-Tech Six. Although based on the existing 4.2-liter inline-six used in the Wrangler, the 4.0-liter featured sequential multi-point electronic fuel injection, automatic altitude compensation plus fast-burn technology. The difference between Jeep's old six and the new one was amazing. Although it had less displacement, the new 4.0-liter generated much more power-173 hp and 220-lbs.ft. of torque versus the 4.2's 112hp and 210-lbs.ft. With its new engine, the Jeep Comanche offered the most horsepower in its class.

 

Introduced in 1986, Comanche was Jeep's entry in the compact truck field which, back then, was a pretty large segment of the truck market. That first year Comanche offered only a single long-wheelbase model in base and uplevel trim variations. The standard engine was a four, with a 115hp GM-built 2.8-liter V-6 optional (an 82hp diesel four-cylinder was also available). But for 1987 the new Jeep 4.0-liter straight-six replaced the GM V-6 as the optional engine. As you can imagine, replacing a 115hp engine with one that belted out 173hp meant the dial-up in performance was extraordinary. At the same time, Comanche also added short-wheelbase models to the line. The 4.0-liter engine was also available in Cherokee and Wagoneer.

 

The new Jeep six was a performer. In late 1986 a specially prepared 1987 Comanche, powered by a modified version of the 4.0, set nine US and four international records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The highlight was Comanche's record average speed of 141.381 mph in a two-way run over the measured mile. Top speed registered during the runs was 144.028 mph. Quarter-mile runs were clocked at 16.9 seconds-which was pretty impressive for a six-cylinder pickup back then. Where previously most road testers had referred to Comanche's power as "adequate," once the 4.0-liter debuted they began to include acceleration runs in their tests, often noting 0-60 mph times well under 10 seconds for a stock vehicle-by far the best performance in the compact truck class, and quite an accomplishment for a rear-drive truck with an open bed.

 

Then, for 1988, Jeep introduced a special Comanche that combined the light two-wheel-drive short-wheelbase chassis with the awesome Power Tech six, along with special trim and appearance items to produce an exceptionally quick sport truck. Dubbed the Jeep Comanche Eliminator, it was built for enthusiasts looking for a sporty truck that was actually capable of outstanding performance.

 

The Eliminator package, with a suggested retail price of $2,929, included the 4.0-liter straight-six, rated for 177hp and 224-lbs.ft. of torque, along with a sturdy five-speed manual gearbox.

 

On the road, nothing in its class could touch it. Four P215/65R15 OWL "Eagle GT" radial tires mounted on gorgeous (and exclusive) 15 x 7-inch, 10-hole aluminum wheels with bright hub centers were standard. A tachometer, a gauge group, fog lamps and power steering were standard equipment. A four-speed automatic transmission with console shift was optional.

 

Although the Comanche Eliminator's emphasis was on performance, some luxury touches were incorporated. Eliminator models included Custom trim door panels with stowage bins and hockey-stick armrests, floor carpeting, fabric headliner and sun visors, wingback bucket seats, three-spoke steering wheel, and a carpeted trim panel on the back of the cab.

 

Highlighting the exterior were a color-keyed grille, body-color fender flares and front air dam, side decals and silver-painted bumpers front and rear.

 

Three exterior colors were offered: Classic Black, Colorado Red and Dover Gray Metallic. There was only one interior trim offered for 1988, a handsome charcoal fabric.

 

As a tow vehicle, the Comanche was the best in its class. The 4.0 six, manual transmission drivetrain combo was rated for trailers up to 2,000 pounds (Class I), while the 4.0 with automatic could be optioned up to a rating of 5,000 pounds (Class III).

 

Buyers looking for a four-wheel-drive sport truck could order a Comanche Chief, but in that model the 4.0-liter engine was optional and the 10-hole alloy wheels weren't available.

 

The Comanche Eliminator was offered for five years. It returned for 1989 and 1990 with only modest changes. Then, in 1991 Jeep boosted the 4.0-liter engine's power to 190hp, and adopted the advertising slogan: "Absolute power erupts absolutely." That year the company also added a four-wheel-drive Eliminator to the Jeep lineup, a welcome addition since the 1988 Comanche Chief had been dropped after only one year.

 

The last year for the Jeep Eliminator was 1992. In its final year color choices were opened up to include Midnight Blue, Hunter Green, Dark Cardovan (a deep maroon), Gray Mist, along with Black, Colorado Red and Bright White.

 

So what do you get with a Comanche Eliminator? A great-looking vintage truck that's comfy, easy to service (there are lots of Jeep dealers around and the 4.0 engine is still in production), relatively inexpensive and offers more power than many other compact trucks. The Comanche Eliminator's decent gas mileage (it's still a six, remember) from a vehicle able to tow a trailer is icing on the cake. :USAflag:

 

This article originally appeared in the JANUARY 1, 2006 issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines. comanche.gif

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Most of the stuff he's making sound like only available on the 88 Eliminator, I had on my 87 Pioneer. Except it is a long bed 4x4.

 

4.0 liter, AW4, fabric headliner, hockeystick arm rests, door stowage bins, wingback buckets, floor carpeting, sun visors, three spoke steering, and carpet trim on the back of the cabin.

 

As an added plus, my interior is black. Not that black wannabe called charcoal the Eliminator supposedly came with.

 

Still a nice article, though.

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Most of the stuff he's making sound like only available on the 88 Eliminator, I had on my 87 Pioneer. Except it is a long bed 4x4.

 

4.0 liter, AW4, fabric headliner, hockeystick arm rests, door stowage bins, wingback buckets, floor carpeting, sun visors, three spoke steering, carpet trim on the back of the cabin, and the supposedly Eliminator exclusive 10 spoke 15x7 aluminum rims.

 

Actually, I'm not sure about the rims being the ones it came with originally.

 

As an added plus, my interior is black. Not that black wannabe called charcoal the Eliminator supposedly came with.

 

Still a nice article, though.

My Pioneer had a bench. The buckets were optional. And the 10-spoke turbine wheels were the "standard option" alloy wheels. I think the Eliminators came with an alloy rim featuring circular punchouts. Not the "Gambler" rim, but something similar.

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Had to go to the link directly to see them, but those are not the rims the article mentions.

 

 

From the Article:

 

"Four P215/65R15 OWL “Eagle GT” radial tires mounted on gorgeous (and exclusive) 15x7 10-hole aluminum wheels with bright hub centers were standard."

ALY09030U.jpg

 

 

 

I almost bought a 1988 Eliminator brand new back in 1988 but ended up buying a new 1988 Cherokee Laredo. Those 10 hole rims as pictured are the exclusive rims unique only to the Eliminator I can assure you.

 

 

 

I believe you might be referring to these rims below which came on several models of jeep (including my 88 Cherokee) and were available on Comanche Pioneers and a zillion others, but NEVER stock on an Eliminator. They came with the rims with the round holes.

 

 

 

 

:1402.JPG[/img]

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Had to go to the link directly to see them, but those are not the rims the article mentions.

 

 

From the Article:

 

"Four P215/65R15 OWL “Eagle GT” radial tires mounted on gorgeous (and exclusive) 15x7 10-hole aluminum wheels with bright hub centers were standard."

 

Oops! My bad. I was positive I read 10-spoke. Guess I need more caffeine to wake up.

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How did I get from "can spell Comanche "

to "Comanche fan"?

Did I do something wrong? :cry:

And can I put in an avatar and

signature at this point?

 

 

And now that it's been mentioned,had I known then

what I know now,I might not have cut mine up either.

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I had to put something in that correlates with the post count. You crossed over from the 25-to-50 "can spell" to the 50-150 "comanche fan". Essentially it's meaningless.

 

You could have put in your sig and avatar from the very start. :thumbsup:

If you have any difficulties with the avatar, just email the original photo (along with your screen name so I don't screw it up) to me and I'll take care of the rest. :cheers: petermontie@hotmail.com

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