Video: How Far Does $2000 Go? I Bought a Super Cheap Jeep to Find Out!

There are cheap Jeeps, then there are *cheap* Jeeps

This super cheap Jeep actually a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ), with the 4.0-liter I6, and a bazillion miles on the ticker. We got it for about $2,300.

Buying this super cheap Jeep Grand Cherokee came about when Tommy and Brendan went to an auction. The goal was to find a $2,000-ish four-wheel drive beater that they can take to Tumbleweed Ranch. In time, it might become a project vehicle, that could become the star of a video series.

Brendan, who has appeared in several TFLclassics videos with Tommy, has years of auctioning experience – and brought Tommy to Dealers Auto Auction of the Rockies. Now, this isn’t your standard auction for the public. Nope, it’s strictly for dealers who haggle to pack their used car lots with inventory.

Tommy does not have the proper credentials to attend, but Brendan does.

Over the course of three hours, the auction managed to move over 1,100 cars. Tommy was astonished. Not all auctions are the same, but at this one you are allowed to arrive a day before the auction, to survey vehicles. Some auctions do not allow this.

This super cheap Jeep is a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×4 4.0. Which means it’s a base model.

The 4.0 I-6 (which Tommy adores) made 185 horsepower and 220 lbs-feet of torque – when new. This one has a four-speed automatic transmission, but a few did have an option for a five-speed manual transmission. The body is remarkably clean, although the pain is falling off, and there is some rust. Also, typical of these Grand Cherokees, the weatherstripping is falling off, and the headlights are fogged up.

They set a budget for $1,800 – because there are auction fees, the price would swell to over $2,000 when everything is said and done. After spending $1,900, the boys figured the total would hover around $2,300. That’s still a bargain for a decent Jeep.

On the positive side: it runs very well, and the tires hold air. According to Tommy, the brakes are great and the interior is in real good condition. Unfortunately, he will have to spend a small fortune to replace the catalytic converter, but that might be the only thing holding it back from a clean smog check. Hopefully.

Check out this video where Tommy and Brendan take you through the entire auction experience, including the duds they found along the way.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.