Only produced in 1973, the Super Jeep was an “appearance package” created by Jeep due to a lack of the aluminum wheels needed for the CJ-5 Renegade models. This authentic Super Jeep is one of only a few hundred ever built. Featuring Jeep’s stock steel wheels, the Super Jeep is distinguished by its curved chrome front bumper, white soft top, white upholstery on the dash, seats, and sun visors, as well as a wild decal package on the hood and fenders. This Super Jeep has the optional 304 cubic inch V8.
|Engine Options||258 cubic inch, 115-150 hp & 210-240 ft./lbs. torque
304 cubic inch, 125-150 hp & 220-245 ft./lbs. torque
|Transmission Options||T14, T15, T18, T98|
|Transfer Case||Dana 20|
|Rear Axle||Dana 30|
|Front Axle||Dana 44|
|Curb Weight||2,469 lbs.|
By Jim Allen
In 1973, the CJ line was riding high on the corporate transition from Kaiser Industries to AMC. There were sweeping changes in the entire Jeep line, technical and cosmetic. AMC’s sales department also had some ideas to bring Jeeps more into the ‘70s with new packages and the new marketing projected a more hip and youthful outlook. This was perfect timing as the 4×4 market went fully mainstream in the 1970s.
For 1972, just two model years after the AMC buyout, the CJs had been transitioned to the AMC engines. That was a good thing. Yes, this eliminated the well-liked GM-sourced V6 but the long-in-the-tooth F-134 four-cylinder finally entered an overdue and well deserved retirement. AMC replace these engines with a stellar lineup… the a 232ci six as the base powerplant, with the new 258 six as a middle option and… low and behold… the CJ line’s first and only V8. Both these engine families were newly revised from their mid-‘60s debuts.
One of the few carryover packages from the Kaiser line was the Renegade package. Towards the end of their reign, Kaiser went a little hip by designing the Renegade package in 1969 for the upcoming 1970 CJ line. The Renegade I package offered a group of performance options combined with special colors and stripes. AMC continued it and tweaked the ’71 Renegade II by adding more lurid colors, altering the stripes a little and adding alloy wheels. With the technical changeover to an AMC powertrain in ’72, which required a wheelbase stretch, AMC marketing put a truly awesome Renegade package together that included the 304 V8, unique colors and striping, alloy wheels with off-road tires and a number of performance options. It proved popular and demand far outstripped supply that year. It was also a pricey package that kept some buyers away.
For 1973, Jeep offered the Renegade again, but to satisfy a market segment that wanted more “show” than “go” at a lower cost, later in the model year, they developed a promotional package called the Super Jeep. Dealers could order the Super Jeep starting March 1, 1973, and production was slated to begin March 15. It isn’t clear how many were built and if records were kept on how many were produced, they are now lost.
The package could only be ordered on a CJ-5 with a minimum set of options that included the 258ci six, heavy-duty cooling, rear seat and seatbelts, passenger mirror, lighter and ash tray, passenger handrail, rollbar, rear drawbar, and the fixed tailgate with a rear spare-tire mount. This wasn’t one of the normal sales-coded packages, but was nearly identical to J-4 group of options on the Jeep Sales Code lists used to facilitate orders by dealers and production planners alike.
The ’73 Super Jeep package had the choice of two stripe and seat color combinations on six body colors. Red and blue Super Jeep stripes were available over two colors, Jetset Blue Metallic (Jeep Paint Code 492) and Champagne White (432) with seats that were red and white striped vinyl (Trim Code 496). Orange and white stripes came over Butterscotch Gold (490), Daisy Yellow (513), Copper Tan Metallic (517), or Fairway Green Metallic (512), and included cinnamon and white seats (Trim Code 497). Also included in the package were white-trimmed visors and dash pad, rubber wheel-lip extensions, a chrome front bumper and L78-15 Goodyear Suburbanite Polyglas whitewall tires on white painted rims. The painted rims lead us to some Super Jeep Lore and Legend. It’s long been said that the Super Jeep came about partly from a shortage of the alloy wheels used on the Renegade.
There were no special serial numbers for the Super Jeep, but the data plate on the firewall proves the identity. For special production vehicles like the Super Jeep, the top line to the right has the SSR & O number (Special Sales Request and Order) which starts with a D. An ordinary production Jeep doesn’t have a number in that spot. In the case of the Super Jeep, the SSR&O number was D5596 and that referred to a special parts list “recipe” for the build and any special instructions needed. It also helped the parts department if replacement parts were needed. The paint and trim codes on the next line may also be special. The paint codes are in the middle position but since the Super Jeeps were all in standard 1973 colors, those numbers are pretty ordinary. The trim codes on the right of the second line, however, will tell more tales because they are unique to the Super Jeep; 496 (Red and White seats and red and blue stripes) and 497 (Cinnamon and White with orange and white stripes).
The Super Jeep had a followup in 1976. The Bicentennial year inspired a lot of special models and the Super Jeep had all the right visuals. Jeep product planning documents from 1975 hinted at a Bicentennial redo of the ’73 Super Jeep but it didn’t happen on a large scale. What did happen was the construction of ten ’76 Super Jeeps for the show circuit. Being show rigs, they differed from the ‘73s in many small ways. Two of the ‘76s are known to survive.
The 1973 Super Jeep in the Omix-ADA Jeep Collection was built in April of 1973 and added to the collection in 2014. It was ordered in Jetset Blue Metallic with a 304 V8 and the standard 3-speed manual and 3.73:1 axle ratios. Little is known about it’s past. The Jetset Blue is one of the lesser seen surviving packages and it makes a stunning addition to the collection and one that turns heads wherever it’s shown.