1973 CJ-5 Super Jeep: Special Edition Born from Supplier Issue
Most special editions are built to attract consumer interest. But the rare ride was built because Jeep simply ran out of aluminum wheels!
Special edition vehicles are built for a number of reasons, usually, to spark interest in a model or cater to a particular customer. But the elusive 1973 CJ-5 Super Jeep came about for a completely different reason. Jeep simply ran out of the aluminum wheels it used on the popular Renegade package. Thus, they temporarily offered the one-year only Super Jeep in its place.
Today, the Super Jeep is one of the rarest and most sought after Jeeps ever built. And this particular example, part of Omix-ADA‘s “Jeep Collection,” is easily one of the nicest ones left.
Omix-ADA is not just a renowned maker/seller of Jeep parts, but also an important member of the Jeep community. The idea behind the Jeep Collection is to help preserve the brand’s heritage and have easy access to vehicles for product development. Over time, the collection has grown to include a number of rare and otherwise significant Jeeps. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with the Jeep Collection’s curator, Dave Logan, about these unique and interesting vehicles for our new series “Behind the Metal.”
JK Forum: How rare, exactly, is the Super Jeep?
Dave Logan: Only around 300 were built. That’s not an exact number, but it’s pretty close. There are serial number plates and so forth under the firewall that will tell you whether it’s a Super Jeep or not. But they were glued on, not riveted on. So, in many cases they’ve actually fallen off. And people will clone them sometimes. They’ll take a regular CJ-5 and add the decals, etc. There are probably true Super Jeeps out there with a missing data plate, so no one really knows for sure.
Unlike most special editions, the Super Jeep came about because of a supplier issue, correct?
It has a really unique story behind it. At that time, there was a Renegade package. Part of that package was fancy aluminum wheels. Now, they ran out of wheels because the supplier couldn’t keep up with demand. So their marketing folks said, well we’ll make a different package for a little while. And so they came up with the Super Jeep.
It came with plain, white steel wheels because they had plenty of those. Then they put whitewall street tires on it, which was an interesting choice. It also came with a chrome bumper and these wild graphic stripes, as well as a white interior with red inserts. The top, dash, and many other parts were white, because it was the ’70s. The Super Jeep came in a variety of colors, however. The most common was white with red and blue stripes. But there was also blue, yellow, and other colors, on which the stripe colors differed.
We’re guessing the Super Jeep didn’t turn out to be very popular then!
Very quickly, within about three months, the aluminum wheels were back in stock and they stopped building these. They went back to producing the Renegades because people were more familiar with them. There were more marketing efforts, they had seen them on dealership lots. These were just kind of that orphan vehicle that nobody really knew about.
To see more of the incredible Jeep Collection, head over here!