Dream big- build it and they will come it was once said. Three years ago Brennan Metcalf dreamed of gathering a few vintage flat fender Willys jeeps to take on a rough trail ride. And not just any trailride, but a difficult trail during the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. A purely accidental and invite only run, he took a small group of flatties out to the Pickle trail, and a fine time was had by all. The next year the group attempted the same feat on Backwards Bill, with about twice as many vehicles. This year the tradition continued, with nearly 30 vintage flatties and a few interlopers to round out the group. Still an invite only, semi-secret, non-official accidental grouping of some of the finest and not so fine flatties, cruised out to run Flat Iron Mesa (naturally), but doing it backwards.
Some of the rides are bone stock survivors just oozing patina and 90-weight, while others are full-on modified custom builds with near JK style bells and whistles. A few are restored to the military specs, and a good number are in a state of transition from death to accension. It doesn’t matter what type of flatty you bring, as long as your attitude is happy and positive. Of course when one is truly flatfendering among the redrocks of Moab, being happy is pretty much a given unless some serious demons possess your soul.
The trailride started way south of town past the natural gas pumping station, where we all gathered on a peaceful side road to recoup from the harrowing journey on the highway. Speeding tourists on their way to their next destination and lumbering truckers just trying to make the grade mingled with many a 45 mph flatty cruising in style- windshield down and wind in the hair. We aren’t fast, just happy. Don’t worry. With tire pressure lowered in rock hard 40-year old tires and carb floats set and adjusted, we set out to conquer the desert landscape. While most rigs accepted the challenge and putted down the road and trail, a recalcitrant few bucked and whinnied like an old bronco, only to be whipped into shape or welded back together. It is truly a thing of beauty to watch the accumulation of talent and experience of the participants, and how quickly and expertly breakage and other issues were handled with aplomb.
Next year Brennen plans to lead a similar event in Moab, and we hope that the vehicles and crew will be as magical as this years. For more information, relax and feel the flatty force within you.