Few vehicles are as recognizable as a Jeep, and yet Jeeps have been restyled multiple times since World War II and are now the younger generation’s urban vehicle of choice.
But back in the 1970s (remember those?), the CJ-7 was the cool retro-styled Jeep that outdoorsy folks ached for. Still mostly an open truck, the CJ was mostly utilitarian, but it offered a rugged exterior that everyone could identify as a Jeep. And as they weren’t the trendy wheels of the day, they were somewhat rare on the roads.
From inception in 1943 through 1986 the Jeep CJ’s exterior was virtually unchanged. Most of the mods were under the hood and simply to meet safety standards. So, the CJ-7, the final official CJ model dating back to WWII, was the ultimate expression of the original Jeep.
With the CJ-7 American Motors Corp. (which then owned Jeep) the wheelbase was expanded by 10 inches, improving its ride and stability. Also helping in the same way was the addition of two longitudinal rails to Jeep’s chassis. Shocks and rear suspension also was reworked and the doors were squared a bit for better fit.
Engine choices were many and varied through the years, including a diesel for a couple model years in the 1980s and even an AMC V8. More common were the inline-6s from AMC, one a 3.8-liter 232 cu.in. model and the second a 4.2-liter 258 cu.in. engine.
The Model Car Group die-cast model features a metal body and plastic interior. The sample was a bright red with yellow and orange nose striping and Renegade logos on the sides of the hood. A yellow and orange rainbow effect broken stripe runs along each side’s base, just above a painted silver trim strip.
There’s a big black plastic bumper up front with a Hawaii license plate affixed to the passenger’s side while a flat bar acts as a rear bumper below the Jeep’s tailgate and big Goodyear Tracker A-T tire that hangs on the back end. That tire probably served as more bumper protection than the lower bar ever did.
Up front a flat black insert helps set off the 6-bar body-color grille and along the sides the Jeep features flat black wheel well bulges, although those are rather small compared to many of today’s SUVs and trucks. Headlights and the lower lights have realistic looking etched clear lenses while the taillights are squarish and include a white bar atop a red lens. There’s also a molded in and painted gas cap under the passenger’s side taillight and the spare tire is mounted to a black plastic bar that in the 1/1 version would swing clear of the tailgate.
Inside, the black floor is plain smooth plastic, but the model includes four pedals and there are both a floor-mounted shifter and second tall lever to engage the 4-wheel-drive system.
The dash is fairly plain and flat, but has nicely detailed gauges. Atop is a tan padded dash with the gauges on the flat metal portion below. The dash’s center is black with one large and two small gauges, plus a few silver buttons. There’s also a grab handle on the passenger’s side. The 3-spoke steering wheel is black plastic with silver on the spokes and a Jeep logo on the small center hub.
Tires are a nubby shiny rubber compound and branded, while the wheels are bright white with the Jeep moniker on the center caps.
Vital Stats: Jeep CJ-7 Renegade
Maker: Model Car Group
Stock No.: 222353 or MCG18110