Our nation’s love affair with the automobile is well known and documented. Our country thrives on wheels, and our love and lust for all things automotive is known throughout the world. The muscle cars and associated hot rod culture from the sixties are uniquely American, and they are adored and emulated in countries around the world. But the Jeep culture is even more unique and even more revered in its own segment, as every Jeep tells a story.
Every time I drive a Jeep and stop for fuel or sustenance I invariably end up talking with the guy on Pump 7 about the Jeep he used to have, or the one he’s restoring, or his Uncle’s Jeep he learned to drive on. It’s a great thing, and I’ve spent hundreds of hours conversing with other Jeep owners about their present or former jeeps and the stories associated with them. Those stories alone could fill a magazine or a book—and someday I may have to relate some of those. Sure, some of those stories may have been modified through the cloudy lens of time, but the basic story holds through regardless. Some of us have more Jeeps than others and hence more stories, and that’s what really makes America great.
The other day I ran across a great guy who has a cool collection of Jeeps. Some of them were almost rusted into the ground, yet others were nearly museum quality. The most interesting thing, which I totally understood, was that they are all equal regardless of age, stature, condition, rarity, or pedigree. As my buddy explained about this jeep or that one, it truly came home how each Jeep tells a story. There was one he had watched in a field for 20 years, and finally the owner let it go, along with the history and awesome story of that Jeep. It wasn’t in any shape to restore, much less ever drive, but its storied past still made it worth saving from the scrapper—to be allowed to live what’s left of its life out with its other comrades in arms.
“It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand.” This is a phrase that may be mocked by some, but it truly is so, because those other people just don’t get it. I’ve driven all sorts of Jeeps all over the world, and regardless of make, model, year, creed, religion, or culture, a common bond exists between all real Jeeple. Real Jeepers do get it, and collect, save, store, restore, and love these jeeps for the Jeep, not for the money that may be made. What’s your Jeep story?