Jeep Wagoneer buried in sand for decades briefly captures nation’s attention


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Last week’s first drive of the all-new 2017 Jeep Compass may well have been upstaged by another Jeep story: That of a white Jeep Wagoneer from the 1960s which, along with its garage, had been gradually covered up by a sand dune in the town of Truro on Cape Cod, Mass. The Cape Cod Times reported it was finally unearthed last week to local fanfare, after years of back-and-forth between the Jeep’s owners and the town, which is planning to dig up a beach parking lot to allow the sand dune to move where wind wills it.

How did a Wagoneer look after spending more than 40 years under the briny sand? Not great, even though the engine block appeared to be largely intact.

We’ve found the most complete videographic record of the Jeep’s removal, courtesy of the same Cape Cod Times, which is far longer than the actual removal process was. Workers first removed the shed’s front doors, wrapping a chain around the front axle of the Wagoneer, and then attached the chain to the shovel of a front loader. It’s almost like watching an Egyptian tomb being robbed by early 20th century treasure hunters.

1967 Jeep Wagoneer

What’s holding back the Jeep Grand Wagoneer?

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A few pieces of the vehicle remained surprisingly intact and were salvaged by the current owners of the property, including the hubcaps. As you can see, the grille and the dash were also in surprisingly good condition, considering the Jeep had been crushed by the weight of the sand. The Jeep’s story is rare in that it was claimed by the sands over time rather than in a hurricane — cars have been destroyed by nor’easters and cyclones on Cape Cod since the dawn of internal combustion.

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

For marque fans, note that Cape Cod currently has one of the highest concentrations of original Wagoneers and Grand Wagoneers anywhere in the world, along with the nearby island of Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re in this area in the summer, seeing more than a dozen Grand Wagoneers a day is assured — the model is practically the Cape’s automotive mascot. And mascots do not deserve this sad fate.


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