Jeep is easily one of the most valuable American brands of all time. That’s based not only on profits but how many interesting 4x4s they’ve built over the years. One of them is the Cherokee Chief, which comes back into focus with this awesome new rendering.
The notion of a retro vehicle is beginning to switch from 32 roadsters and Bel Airs to creations of the late 1970s and 1980s. In fact, Nissan made that abundantly clear with its Frontier concepts at the Chicago auto show, which had bold decals/stripes down the sides.
Jeep’s models are also retro and have stripes. However, none capture your imagination quite like this. Check out the Cherokee Chief that’s been rendered by artist Oscar Vargas (aka wb.artist20). “What the heck is that?” I hear you ask.
The Cherokee began life as a 2-door version of the Wagoneer in the mid-1970s. It was cheaper and could be had with 3-inch wider tracks for off-roading. It’s important to note that this was the first SUV, as the term “sport utility vehicle” made its debut in a Cherokee brochure.
Taking advantage of its sales success, AMC made a bunch of versions and trim levels which included the Golden Eagle, Golden Hawk, Limited, Classic, Pioneer, Laredo, and the Chief. These things are painfully good-looking SUVs with classic style.
When was the Cherokee Chief made?
Remember, all this happened before the XJ Cherokee, the light one with the unibody construction that basically created the modern Jeep brand. There are a few versions of the Chief, as you’ll see in the photo gallery since the first-gen went through various updates.
But Oscar seems to work off the 1983 Cherokee Chief. It’s got a more modern look with black instead of chrome grille. And the iconic side stripes are used in his 2022 version. But other than that, the rendering feels connected to the later XJ models, having the seven slots in the grille and some boxy fenders.
Even though kids these days won’t get it, I love the sliding rear window of the concept. It’s so practical and retro. But modern design does strike, in the most unusual of places. The Chief concept has those blue tow hooks integrated into the black bumper. That’s a lot like the Trailhawk trim level. No, not the Trackhawk, the other one that goes off-roading.
Either way, it’s retro enough to make you forget all about the modern Cherokee crossover. At the same time, this unofficial concept doesn’t feel as forced as the Renegade. Now if only we could convince the Dodge people to develop a reliable 4-liter engine!