Vintage Warn Winch Gallery: Old Iron Pullers

Vintage Warn Winches

The famed Warn model 8274 was developed in the early ’60s by Belleview Winch, and then it morphed into the 8000 series and later the 8200, with the near-final design being the numbers spoken by Jeepers in almost religious tones: 8274. That number designation was the culmination of many years of mechanical refinement. The spur drive upright design with an integrated brake and all-electric controls became the winch of legends in 1974. Even the stalwart, albeit fictional, tree-hugger George Washington Hayduke used the famed unit to outwit the authorities by winching 100 feet off a cliff in his venerable CJ-5.

If you’ve never experienced a winch that can reel in unloaded cable at a blistering 52 feet-per-minute then hunker down and pull 8,000 pounds with ease, you wouldn’t understand the sound of the click-click-click of the brake pawl resonating against the rocks like the riff of a Rachmaninoff masterpiece on the piano. It’s pure symphonic ecstasy listening to the grind of the gears and the whine of the motor straining against the weight of a derelict 4x4 caught in the canyon.

Presented here is a selection of 8274 winches and variants we saw on a single group of Jeeps attacking some of the most-feared Moab obstacles. The group was made up of seasoned vehicles and veterans, and they chose the icon of spoolers. As a side note, not a single Jeep on our trail needed the famed companion. Maybe the rocks knew they wouldn’t win?