The 1972 Jeep CJ-5 experienced a rebirth that several automobiles would not survive. It moved through different ownership stages, survived the auto market transitions, and came back in an unlikely resurrection as one of the best off-road SUVs of the 1970s.

Coming right after the age of muscle cars and in time for the SUV/pickup frenzy, the 1972 Jeep CJ-5 could not have made a better re-entry. Several people had experienced the success of its 1954 installation and had seen AMC’s new, efficient designs in the Dispatcher Jeep. The 1972 Revamped CJ-5 was a sure success; at least that was what was expected at the time.

Let’s take a detailed look into one of the longest-standing Jeep models as it was in 1972 for its revamp.

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Reincarnation Of The Jeep CJ-5

Yellow 1974 Jeep CJ-5 Renegade V8
Via: Jeep

Despite being one of the most long-lived brands in the auto world, Jeep models have gone through several rough patches. Starting from ownership challenges to the tough competition, poor ratings, and even terrible sales, but the Jeep brand is still thriving. And the Jeep CJ-5 was here through it all.

Starting with the Willy's’ 1954 Jeep CJ-5, we knew this was not one of those models Jeep would regret making. The SUV had an unsavory history that involved the Korean War and only reached production because Kaiser needed a worthy successor to the CJ-3B. Yet, very few vehicles had the presence or impact like the CJ-5.

It was easy for AMC to recreate Willy's 1954 Jeep CJ-5 (some call it the 1955 model year, but 1954 is the official date). They had a great track record, and the market was ripe for SUVs. The Jeep CJ-5 was the perfect model to resurrect and remodel, especially since the previous model was still quite present in the market.

How Did The 1972 CJ-5 Compare To The 1954 Model?

Jeep History 1970s Pillar Jeep CJ-5 Universal
Via: Jeep

While the 1954 and 1972 Jeep CJ-5 were from different eras, they had more in common than just their names. The success of the 1954 model made it the perfect SUV to reproduce, but there had to be some difference.

The most evident difference was the wheelbase. The 1954 Jeep CJ-5 was Willy’s attempt to create a civilian variation of the M38A1 Truck and had some similarities with that Korean War Truck (they would not let us forget that their Jeeps are originally for the military. They had to include it in the name; CJ: Civilian Jeep.) The 1972 CJ-5 was an offshoot of this 1954 model, so its modifications were solely from that model and had very little in common with the Willy M38A1 Truck.

American Motors Corporation (AMC) had bought the company in 1970 and was making changes to the body and chassis. They made some big changes to the engine and the drivetrain. They added 76 mm to the wheelbase and stretched the hood and fender by 127 mm to accommodate the engine.

These extensions gave the 1972 CJ-5 a longer look than the 1954 Jeep CJ-5 and the M38A1 Truck. There were some other adjustments to the Jeep like the larger fuel tank and this model had a new box-fitted frame for a more rigid frame. AMC also adjusted the windshield frame and angle and swapped the rear axle for one with larger-diameter ring gear.

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The 1972 Revamped Jeep CJ-5 Had An Adequate PowerTrain

Red Jeep History 1970s Pillar Jeep CJ-5 Universal
Via: Jeep

The adjustments to the 1972 CJ-5 helped it fit well into the 1970s SUV market. The two-door open body SUV has a manual 3-speed gearbox with a part-time 4x4 traction with the front wheel available for off-road while the rear wheels are permanent.

The CJ-5 232 runs on AMC’s 231.9 Cui l6 petrol-powered engine that produces 100-hp at 3,600 rpm and has a 185 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. The CJ-5 Renegade was an updated variation of the 1972 CJ-5 that ran on AMC’s 304 V8 engine. The Renegade had a similar build to the 232 models, but the engine was a 303.9 Cui petrol-powered V8 that produced 150-hp at 4,200 rpm and had a 245 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. The 1972 CJ-5 Renegade could reach the quarter-mile marker in 16.5 seconds, while moving from 0-60 mph in less than 10 seconds.

The 1972 Jeep CJ-5 and its Renegade model had some of the most impressive fuel economies for SUVs in the 1970s. The Jeep runs on an average of 10 to 14.2 mpg and can contain up to 52 liters of fuel.

Despite being one of the leading vehicles in Jeep History, the 1972 Jeep CJ-5 is also high on the list of Jeep models you have forgotten about. This SUV is one of the most impressive vehicles to come out of the 1970s, with its influence reaching Jeep's plans for the next three years and other ideas for modern off-road SUVs.

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