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Choosing Between Old and New Jeeps

Posted in Features on October 17, 2018
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Photographers: Rick Péwé

A friend of mine mentioned the other day that all I have are old Jeeps, and not the latest and greatest offerings that I really should be sashaying around in. Of course, this friend was intimating that I only cared about driving old junk and wasn’t into the modern era of Jeeping, and being editor of the most influential Jeep magazine in the world I should have a newer Jeep. That got me thinking in a reflective manner, as I am apt to do, so I did a mental rundown of what Jeeps I have and what I spend the most time in and the most time fixing. It turns out that they are both one and the same, but not necessarily for the reason you may be thinking.

My daily driver is a 2012 JK Wrangler; a double-ended Off-Roadster that Fred William and Hazzard Fabrication built for 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine’s Ultimate Adventure in 2012. It has been a stalwart and sturdy companion, traipsing all over the states from California to Maine to Florida and Washington, and most states in between. Yet it is also the vehicle that I work on the most. The reason, of course, is more than just maintenance; it’s because we test tires and other products, and this is the workhorse. It’s sporting a new muffler, upper half-doors, lights, wheels, and a host of recovery products. It seems that working on the Off-Roadster takes up most of my time, so I can’t work on anything else.

I then thought about my newest to oldest rigs and the basics of what needs to be done on them. First would be our 2007 JK Wrangler we built for Week to Wheeling. Surprisingly, it needs very little other than a bit of wiring and cleaning up. We also installed Mopar upper half-doors from Quadratec, so it’s a daily driver again. Our TJ is in the shop undergoing a suspensionectomy, so we’ll update you later on that one as well. After that is the mysterious YJ we can’t mention yet, and then my CJ-17 with the LS3 engine is unfortunately in limp-home mode for an unknown reason. My CJ-5 is missing an engine, so that project is on hold for a while. I also have a CJ-4 Mahindra ambulance that is basically a stretched CJ-3 B but made in India (so some people don’t think it really counts as a Jeep), and it is missing two rear tires and wheels because I had to use them on a trailer for a bit. My 1967 M-715 ran when parked, but that was over 10 years ago, so I can wait on that project for a bit. Oops, I forgot about my Wagoneer, and the Willys Wagon, and two XJs, and the three CJ-3As, and, well, you get the picture. In reality, if I stopped working on all my NEW Jeeps I’d probably have some time to get all my other ones roadworthy, or at least running. The funny thing is that this list doesn’t even include my older Jeeps either. It’s a never-ending dilemma—which Jeep to work on next. What do you think?

—Rick Péwé
jpeditor@jpmagazine.com

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