It’s with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of a dear friend. For almost a decade, he was my companion on countless adventures. I’ll admit that he wasn’t much to look at, but he was always dependable, and that’s what counts. Over the weekend, folks, I sold my 1998 Jeep Wrangler.
I bought my Wrangler (Eugene, for those that knew him best) new back in May 1998, but even then, it was just a plucky li’l 5-speed with no air conditioner and no rear speakers. It didn’t matter; we were young and ready to take on the world together. Over the years, I added some flair (running boards, fog lamps, tire cover, better speakers, replacement top), but at heart, it was still the same spartan Jeep.
Keeping a CD player proved difficult. When you drive a car with a soft top, security is more of a suggestion than a hard and fast rule. Over time, I learned simply not to keep anything of value in there.
The Wrangler had only 85K miles, which is pretty remarkable for a vehicle of its age. When your car has no A/C, some else always offers to drive.
I never got a speeding ticket in my Wrangler. How could I? If I got it much above 60MPH, it felt like I was re-entering earth’s atmosphere. The canopy started vibrating, the floor boards heated up, and I swear I could hear Scotty saying, “I don’t know how much longer I can hold it together, captain!”
Also, I was never involved in an accident while driving my Wrangler. What can I say? The thing was built like a brick shithouse. Ironically, had I owned something more lightweight, I’m sure I would have wrapped it around a lamp post. Armored inside my Wrangler, I felt like Ripley in that big mechanical suit (they mostly come at night…mostly).
In truth, it should probably been owned by a much burlier individal than myself, perhaps someone with lots of facial hair who enjoys dressing in plaid flannel. I never really took my Wrangler off-road, but I did make the most of its convertible top. My personal record for earliest topless driving (the Jeep, not me – that’s another story) is February. And during summer months, only monsoonal rains could actually convince me to zip it up.
So, you may ask, what am I driving now? The next best thing to a “real” Jeep…a 1999 Grand Cherokee. I may be growing up, but I ain’t dead. It’s still a Jeep.