1980s / 1990s / American / Chinese / Jeep / Rust in peace

Rust in peace: Jeep Cherokee (XJ)

I photographed the Jeep Cherokee you see below in a quiet part of Beijing, China. The Cherokee was a surprising sight for two reasons: first, it’s one of the oldest cars I saw in Beijing last month. Second, it’s just a stone’s throw away from downtown, where space is a real luxury and forgotten cars are few and far between.

I can’t tell for sure when this Cherokee was built, but it’s a relatively early model. The XJ earned the honor of being the first American car to be mass-produced in China when Jeep parent company AMC formed a joint-venture with Beijing Automotive Group called Beijing Jeep Corporation in 1984. Chinese XJ production carried on until 2005, and several market-specific variants were offered, including a facelifted model and a long-wheelbase variant with a raised roof.

The owner has folded down the rear bench to use his Jeep as a shed. A look at the registration stickers on the windshield reveals that the Cherokee hasn’t been on the road since 2013, and it’s not too far-fetched to speculate it was replaced by the BAW off-roader that’s parked right behind it.

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