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Rusty Relics Invade Moab for Friday Flatfender Fun Run

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters)

Traci ClarkAuthorRick PéwéPhotography

When William Shakespeare wrote those lines in 1599 for the play Henry V, little did he know that centuries later those words would be associated with Easy Company in WWII and the Willys flatfender Jeep. If you are a flattie enthusiast, you know the truth within these simple yet powerful words.

For the past six years, flatfenders have descended upon Moab, Utah, during Easter Jeep Safari week. The numbers rose for the 2019 event, and more than 50 rusty and not-so-rusty relics and their owners gathered in a dirt lot for donuts and to swap stories about their latest oil leaks. Even with the newest releases in the modern Jeep family, we are seeing an increased interest in vintage Jeeps, and the younger generations are becoming heavily involved in their preservation—that makes our hearts happy.

The annual Friday Fun Run welcomes all flatties. You can bring ones that are modified or built to the hilt; or maybe you spied a flattie in a pasture on your way to Moab, struck a deal with the farmer, tossed it on the trailer, and got running the night before. All are welcome to join this annual non-event. It's about friendships and keeping history alive, learning from one another the best ways to keep these time capsules alive for future generations.

In past years the group has found itself in a slow-motion conga line headed out of Moab to places unknown to "test their metal," so to speak. Looking for trails with obstacles that were not for the faint of heart, even for those piloting modern Jeeps equipped with the latest aftermarket parts and loaded with safety equipment, let alone for those bouncing down the track in a 70-plus-year-old antique. This year was a little different; the group opted for a slightly milder set of trails that was big on miles, scenery, and elevation gain. It also tested the fuel economy and carburetor setups on many of those in attendance.

Special thanks must go out to Brennan Metcalf, who dreamed up this great idea, and to all those who come from the far corners of the USA to keep it growing every year. If you have an old flattie and happen to have it in Moab during Easter Jeep Safari, fill the gas tank on Friday morning, make sure you have some spare parts and a gallon or two of oil, and putter down Main Street to a dirt lot on the northern edge of town. You will see the blue haze of burnt oil laying low in the sky and know that you have arrived at the closest thing to Heaven on Earth for classic flatfender Jeeps.

Burnt-oil blue haze backlit by the sun breaking over the red cliffs of Moab signals you have arrived at the closest thing to Heaven on Earth. A little dirt parking lot on the edge of town is where all the cool kids meet with their rusty relics.
What a sight to behold—flatties of all shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations. The herd stopped to regroup, air down, and take advantage of the last available comfort facility before the dirt miles started.
Rick Pewe, editor of Jp Magazine, sharing his knowledge of old Jeeps with the future of our sport. The old iron will be in good hands with these young ones!
Twenty-two years after completion, Cole Quinnell's 14-Day Flattie is still delivering plenty of smiles per gallon. The Friday Fun Run is open to all flatties—stock, improved, mildly built, or built to the hilt.
The route this year took a milder set of trails; most of the obstacles were tackled early in the day, and then the group headed for the scenic higher elevations and the search for snow.
Onward and upward they climbed, reaching elevations near 7,000 feet before stopping for lunch. The climb presented a challenge for fuel-starved engines.
Slowly snaking their way along the rim under the warm April sun. Water and sunscreen were necessary on this perfect day of flatfendering.
Nestled among the pines was the perfect lunch spot for the dusty crew. Snow was still visible on the north-facing sides of the upper canyon.
Oh, to be young again without a care in the world. These youngsters had a ball playing in the mud during lunch. A muddy kid is a happy kid!
Flatfender legends Pat Gremillion, Ned Bacon, Rick P w , and Kevin Hawkins have been on most of the Friday Flatfender Fun Runs during Easter Jeep Safari.
Jp Magazine Editor Rick P w picks the line and powers up in this 1948 CJ-2A. Do the others try to follow or choose a different route?