So we had our motor choice, our comfort requirements had been determined, and we decided our color would be white. It was then time to find our Jeep…..or was it. There are three different levels of trim in the Limited model to choose from: the Limited, the Limited Orvis, and the 5.9 Limited. The common Limited model is easy to find. The Orvis was a limited production version for 96 and 97. It would make for a good looking platform for an overland Jeep and came standard with a very attractive two tone leather interior and the off-road package (upcountry suspension, tow hooks, and skid plates) standard. The Orvis, however, came in only two colors, dark green and silver.
That left the 5.9 Limited. Its standard equipment list, performance specs, and its Jeep pedigree could easily classify it as the Ultimate ZJ. It is the only Grand Cherokee to get the 5.9 Magnum engine under the hood, and it was named the “4×4 of the Year” by one magazine and the “Corvette of SUVs” by another. Its performance numbers have arguably remained on the top of Jeep performance even after the introduction in later years of the 4.7 HO V8 and even the 5.7L Hemi Grand Cherokee. But nothing lasts forever and finally with the introduction of the SRT8 6.1L Hemi did the 5.9 ZJ numbers meet their match. The upgraded interior featured more comfortable leather seats featuring a better quality leather, additional leather trim, and an impressive ten speaker, 180 watt Infinity sound system not available in any other Grand Cherokee before it or since.
The 5.9 Limited came standard with just about every option. The order book showed four options to choose from: Moon roof delete for credit (nearly 400 people took this option), HD towing package, Off-Road package which included skid plates and tow hooks, and polished 5.9 Limited Star wheels from what I have read. There were three color choices: a very dark, almost black gray; a silver like platinum color; and, stone white which is the hardest to find. The roof rack was distinctive and set apart from other ZJs to date as Jeep installed the new design rack that would show up on the 99-04 WJ Grand Cherokee. But two items up front clearly set the 5.9 Limited apart from all the rest, a very different grill, and the two fully functional hood louvers that pull heat out of the engine compartment.
If it isn’t obvious yet, the 1998 5.9 Limited will be the starting point for the “Ultimate Overland ZJ” project. The task at hand now was to find one with lower mileage, in very good condition with both the HD towing package and the Off-Road package, and it had to be white. Our pick for this just happens to be one of the rarest ZJs to find but when you use the word “ultimate” in the title, you really need to follow through.