My Jeep was a 1975 CJ5 that I (with a lot of help) eventually modified to the point that it had a 304 V8, a HD 4spd, 3" suspension lift, and 33" mud tires along with a bunch of little things like power steering, bumpers, a roll cage, etc.. Building that Jeep taught me a lot about being a mechanic, the world of salvage yards and the people that run them, welding, painting, etc..
|An iPhone photo of a 35mm photo of my '75 Jeep|
It was really made for one thing, and that was driving off-road, down muddy roads, or up a rocky Jeep trail back in the mountains. When I drove it, it was almost like I was wearing or riding it instead of driving it, it felt like an extension of my body, and I was one with the Jeep and the terrain (or something like that). I was a member of the Jeep cult and proud of it.
I eventually ended up selling it because I was almost broke and didn't need or want two vehicles any more. My head told me to sell it, but my heart kept trying to tell me not to sell it. In the end, my head won the argument, so I tuned it up and got it ready to sell.
I quickly found out that the secret to selling something is to have the attitude that you don't really want to sell it. Everybody that looked at it was interested in buying it, it soon sold for more than I thought it was worth, and it was gone. On a positive note, I used the money to pay off my credit cards, and that also was the last time I had credit card debt (Thanks Jeep!).
You would think that that would be the end of the story about my Jeep, but years later, I wrote a story about my Jeep and entered it into a writing contest put on by The Dallas Morning News about "Lemon Cars".
I can't find the original story, which was pretty funny from what I was told, but the condensed version was a story about how the parking brake didn't work right and I detailed how the Jeep snuck up on me one day and tried to run me over when I got out to check a creek crossing before driving across (it included a bunch of details about the engine revving as it got closer, and how I had to wrestle it to the ground before I could jump into the driver's seat and stop it). Another part was about how I had to make sure to carry extra underwear anytime I decided to drive it on the highway because it refused to stay in one lane and was always trying to swerve into oncoming traffic whenever I drove faster than 35 MPH . I wish I still had the original entry to share, because it was much funnier.
A couple of months after submitting my entry, I got an email saying that after all the voting, I had won the contest and would be getting a $1000 check in the mail shortly (so technically, I can sorta say I'm either a paid writer, or a professional writer). Even when my Jeep was gone, it was still looking out for me.
My Jeep taught me how to be a mechanic, how to dream about faraway places, helped make me debt free, made me some money as a "writer", and allowed me to be a part of the Jeep cult. Would an Oldsmobile have done all that for me?
If everybody had a Jeep sometime during their life, I think the world would be a much better place (of course, since "real" Jeeps are getting rarer as time goes by, that's going to be harder and harder for that to happen).