Friday, July 22, 2005

Changing my religion

No, you won't see this blog recategorized or bounced from Blog Heaven (I hope). I mean my automotive religion.

After a process of conversion that began in 1997 but like all conversions had its precursors, M. and I have moved from the Volkswagenkirche to the Cult of Jeep.

It's the woman's fault, of course. I only bit the apple, uh, Wrangler, because she asked me to.

In 1977, before we were married, M.'s Dodge convertible was failing and, with my guidance and promise to do maintenance, she bought a used 1970 VW Bug. That car went through fire and flood, war and revolution, before we finally let it go about 1990.

It was followed by a 1969 pop-top camper bus (1982-94), a 1980 Rabbit pickup truck (1990-1997), and a 1984 pop-top Vanagon camper (1994-2005). The '69 bus went to a woman who was born in 1969.

The Rabbit pickup was M.'s daily driver, but its low ground clearance and so-so snow performance were a hindrance after we moved into the mountains. One day she expressed a desire to have a TJ/Wrangler, and after some time had passed, lo, there was a Wrangler in the garage. And many a snowdrift it has blasted through (only occasionally having to be dug out).

Then I bought a neighbor's '73 CJ-5. And Granville King's bible replaced the gospel according to John Muir on the automotive bookshelf.

It was only a matter of time. Parts for the Vanagon were becoming rarer, although we had a great European-car mechanic to keep it running. Its camping function was replaced by a pop-up trailer and a Jeep Liberty to pull the trailer with; and last Saturday I sold the Vanagon.

Now we are pure Jeep cultists and can do things like complain about anachronistic Jeeps in movies such as Patton.

Maybe Dad started it,bringing home National Guard Jeeps and giving us kids rides when we were little. And I liked his Forest Service Willys wagon, although he preferred pickups. (But he had two Wagoneers, so it's famtrad.) And I still somewhere yearn for a yellow Commando like one of the cool girls in my high school drove. You know what they say: It's like coming home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chas, our fleet of cars just underwent a similar transformation. We have retained our 82 Vanagon, an air-cooled unit with hydro lifters. It's so darn useful and simple.

Our 87 Cherokee 4.0 has more than 200k and uses a lot of the stuff which our J-20 and cj-7 do.

I think the longevity of these cars is due to their overdrive tranny's which cut rpms to about half of what a VW would be doing.

I'm looking to get another Cherokee with less that 100k. They're very sturdy and have great roll-over protection.

Peace. House Church Network

1:08 PM  
Blogger Chas S. Clifton said...

If Jeep had kept the former Cherokee model going instead of introducing the Liberty, it would have been fine with me too.


12:59 PM  

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