I can confirm this story. In 1984 a neighbor of mine told me I could have his Wrangler if I just hauled it off. He told me the same story and said he just couldn't afford to have it fixed. I didn't take it because I already had 4 project cars in my back yard. I face the same sort of problem with my land rover discovery because the mfg didn't put u-joints w/ grease fittings on the front or rear drive shafts.I LOVE those old Wagoneers, I had a 77 and loved it. Bad gas mileage, still loved it. The style is cool and very retro. I see those things going for stupid money now in good shape, glad you found one.
BIG HUGE WARNING!! Check the front drive shaft CV where it connects to the Transfercase. These are a known issue. Because they are "all wheel drive" the front drive shaft is always spinning. They will get worn out and you don't notice. Then on the hwy they will break and the driveshaft starts flailing around and it hits the transmission. The big issue is that it will always break the transmission case. This transmission is a GM THM400 but with a AMC 360 bellhousing, beyond rare, these things were hard to get 25 years ago when I worked at a transmission shop, I doubt you could find one today.
So, please help yourself and have the front shaft rebuild before it takes out the trans, or at a minimum check and grease it regularly. It will save you a lot of heartache.
Other than the above warning, these old waggies are Awesome.