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.
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.
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 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.