Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

1985 Jeep CJ-7 Spring Special - Jeep Encyclopedia

Posted in Features on May 4, 2015
Share this

Once the collector market has the basics covered, it starts looking for the odd, the uncommon, and the obscure. The more attractive the item, the more collectors like it. This must be why the ’85 Spring Special CJs are so popular. They are a paint and decal special but a particularly nice looking one that attracts a lot of attention.

The retail price for an ’85 CJ-7 was $7,393. The Garnet Red Metallic paint with clearcoat added $156. The black soft top was $367. The nifty side steps were $29. The Spring Special Package cost $1,336, and with the other options below, this ’85 would have listed at $9,651 if the owner didn’t work a deal. In this condition today, a Spring Special is worth three times that much, but the value is as much in the 9,200 original miles, one-owner status as anything.

Late in 1984, dealers were given the opportunity to order some of the specials to be made available early in 1985. One of them was the Spring Special, an assemblage of visual appeal items that made for an attractive package. It was available on the CJ with any powertrain combo but only when painted in either Garnet Red Metallic (Paint Code 3C) or Dark Honey Metallic (5D). The brochure called these colors “Red Micatallic” or “Bronze Micatallic,” and both were clear coated. For the outside, a set of color-coordinated, tricolor “orangey” stripes were added, as were the optional white-spoke 7-inch-wide styled wheels mounting P235/75-15 Goodyear Wrangler tires. Inside, the black linen-grain vinyl seats were given red/orange welting to really set off the look. You got all of that in a package that cost about $1,300 retail. You could order the package on a base four-cylinder Jeep or you could add the optional 258ci inline-six and potentially even an automatic or the five-speed.

Here is what a 9,200 mile 258ci inline-six looks like. In this year, the 258 (4.2L) was cranking out 115 hp and 210 lb-ft and was a $260 option. The power steering was a $266 option. The transmission choices were the standard T-176 Tremec four-speed, a Borg Warner T-5 five-speed ($243), or the Chrysler 999 three-speed automatic ($568). Behind it all was the Dana 300 transfer case. Standard axle ratio for all transmissions was 2.73:1, with those stump-pulling 3.31:1 cogs optional (an extra $39). A Trac-Lok limited slip was optional in back for $248.

There is no way to pin down the number of Spring Specials built. They were available into about April 1985 as best we can tell. They are not super rare today, but most of the survivors are showing their age. Of the survivors we’ve seen, the Dark Honey ones seem the prevalent surviving color, but that may not mean much. The few really pristine ones left are bringing a premium over a standard ’85 CJ. Because the decals are still available from Phoenix Graphix (the OE supplier) and the upholstery can be reproduced, it behooves a prospective buyer to verify the originality of the vehicle before purchase.

The Black Linen-Grain Vinyl seats were embossed with CJ lettering and had red/orange piping to set them off. These are the original, unmolested seats. The fold-n-tumble rear seat was part of the package.

The Spring Special won’t have a special VIN. The original sales sheet may be included and that’s proof but otherwise, you’ll need to look at the Jeep and make sure it originally had all the correct stuff. In truth, a Spring Special in average, or especially below average, 1985 condition won’t be worth much more than an equivalent standard CJ. Only a pristine original will get the premium. The cost to restore a Spring Special, or to recreate one, will not be all that high or all that much more than a standard CJ with metallic paint.

This Spring Special is another find by Dennis Collins of Collins Brothers Jeep fame. This Garnet Red unit was ordered with a soft top and is shown here some years back with only 9,200 original miles on it. It is totally original and was ordered with extras, including the top, side steps, power steering, and a 258ci inline-six. The standard T-176 four-speed was retained, the new owner not opting to wait on the automatic, which were built only once or twice a year at specific times.


Collins Bros Jeep

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results