I decided after writing about Jeeps, working on Jeeps, and traveling in really cool Jeeps for the last few years, it was probably time I bought a Jeep. So that's what I did about a month ago—and I'm pretty pleased with my purchase.
For the last few years I had been working full-time for Overland International, serving as their Digital Editor, in addition to living a pretty gnarly lifestyle, I had the stupendous luxury of driving a wide variety of test vehicles that I didn't have to pay the bill for. Consequently this allowed me to have a pretty huge variety of ridiculously impractical vehicles, including, but not limited to:
- A 1971 Land Rover 109 Series IIa (affectionately named Ralph)
- A Vespa 250 GTS (Because I wanted to piss-off dual sport riders, and because of Bruce Dorn...it was mainly Bruce)
- A 2001 Kawasaki KLR650 (which was insanely boring, but reliable)
- A 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 (which had no doors, or roof which didn't work out so well when I moved to Chicago at the end of last year)
After taking a Field Editor position with Overland International, leaving Prescott, moving to Chicago, traveling a bunch more, and then moving back to Prescott, and then two weeks later moving to within steps of the ocean in California, while focusing on some different aspects of my career, I decided I was tired of driving a beat up used car. I also decided that I missed having a Wrangler and a J8 to drive whenever I felt like it.
It was time to grow up, put on my big boy pants, and get something reliable that I could travel in.
At first, I felt like an idiot for spending $40,000 on a Jeep Wrangler, but then I realized the vehicle I just purchased cruised down the highway at 80mph without complaint, and could also run the Rubicon Trail in stock form. At that moment, I realized all was well in the world.
I was able to spec a pretty specific Wrangler Unlimited. It doesn't have any of those fancy painted fenders, it doesn't have a painted hard top or a leather interior either. However, it does have the Rubicon package with a 6-speed manual transmission, the Max Tow package, and most importantly, Mopar slush mats. With a sticker of $37,275 before taxes, it was the cheapest Rubicon I could find in the entire Southwest. It's literally the bare-bones Rubicon, though it's still well-equipped.
So far, I really like it, I still can't stand the white interior of the hardtop that looks more like a Tupperware container than the inside of a vehicle, and the doors still feel like they're made of tin and they're a pain in the *** to close without slamming. The towing capacity isn't that great either. But I'm in love, and luckily I can modify this one without hurting anyone's feelings.
Stay tuned for some more updates, I have plenty of gear on the way for the vehicle, and some of it will be featured on Expedition Portal's front page.
You can check out my build plans, including the parts I want to use, the things I've purchased, and the my inspiration for what I'm thinking on Pinterest [link]
So far, it looks like the vehicle will be getting Pronghorn Bumpers, a Rigid SR2 Lightbar, a National Luna Dual Battery System, a MORE Off-Road Dual Battery Tray with 2 Optima Yellowtop batteries, an Insul-Liner kit, an Engel MT45 Fridge, and a full set of Maxtrax which will live on the spare tire.
I've learned to buy once, and cry once, so that's reflected in my product choices. I'm hoping to bring some value to this community that has done so much for me, so feel free to email me, PM me, or drop a message in this thread if I can be of any help, or if you have any questions about my Jeep, your Jeep, or why I'm installing this over that.
I'm located in Shell Beach, California so if you're in the area, passing through, or ever need a hand, drop me a line and I'll try to help.
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