Skip to main content

The Man Who Drove The Coolest Jeep and My First Jeep Love

Most guys drove the standard white pickup with the inherent dog in the back. But, there was one fella that had moved up near us in the winter and I will always remember that he drove the coolest Jeep. Now when I say “near” I am talking in farming terms, so that means at least 4 to 5 miles away.
Posted: December 11, 2017 - 8:46AM
Author: DJ Jenks

If I remember right, it was the winter of 1981 and I was just an 11 year old boy freezing his hands and toes off working feeding cattle unloading hay with family in the great state of Idaho. My Uncle's pickup rested off in the background as he worked, and I struggled, with the giant blocks of hay when from the corner of my eye I notice a red/orange flash of pure 100% American masculinity. Now, as an 11 year old, I was primed for being influenced in manliness and wow did I get it.

From a half mile away up our snow covered, pine lined dirt road came a sparkling new Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler. The guy driving wearing his black cowboy hat and sleeveless coat/vest lined with white sheep's fleece were rolling topless! Topless in Idaho! Cool factor infinity to this preteen.

At the time I didn't know that it was a Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler. I didn't know that this 173” beauty would steal my heart. I just knew that this giant vehicle full of coolness and super 80's awesomeness was a Jeep Scrambler that was rolling down our road next to our cattle fence. I remember it as black with red and orange decals sweeping down the hood and sides. The vehicle brought out feelings of not just “being cool,” but “don't even come out here and look at it or your girlfriend might jump in and we'll drive off cool.”

The big, black hunk of steel rolled up past our fence, slowed and turned into our property. He followed our truck tracks and pulled beside us in front of my Uncle's pickup.

As the two men talked I stood and stared at that beautiful piece of machinery like my Golden Lab, Hank, stares at me when I am smoking Ribs.

It was love. As an eleven year old that's when I fell in love with Jeeps. Heck, that's when I knew, like our friend Forrest Gump, I am not a smart man, but I know what love is.

In the following months and years I followed Jeeps from our 40th President of the United States Ronald Reagan tooling around his California ranch in his CJ-8, Detective Thomas Magnum, P.I. zipping across Hawaii in Robin Masters CJ-5 to MacGyvers YJ.

Coming of age has many different shapes and sizes for many people, mine was a Black 1981 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler rolling topless in the pines and snow of the Idaho cattle lands. Come on Jeep, build a Wrangler pickup already.

Many people have great stories, how about you? What vehicle was was your first love? How did it come about? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this article and think it may help your friends, consider sharing or tweeting it to your followers.

Also see: 4 Cool Mods That Are Great For The First Time Jeepers.

Image source: Wikipedia, White Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler


Chad (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 9:43AM

My grandpa's '79 j10. He purchased it in Arlington TX in the early '80s. That Jeep made many a trip from MI to TX then many trips to the UP. I have it as a backburner project now.

Billy (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 10:02AM

When I was a kid our snow plow guy had an old rusty I think CJ w a V8. I knew when I heard him coming and drop the plow that there was no school.
So I liked his jeep a lot!

Steve (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 10:53AM

I don’t have a pic of that Jeep, but a kid I knew on high school was a gear head before the rest of us and had a CJ on a giant lift and a 454 that made something like 650 hp. It was awesome.

Chas (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 11:11AM

My uncle had an old (post war) Willy's that he restored. It was mostly a garage queen, but it inspired my brother to buy a CJ7 and we drove the piss out of that Jeep up in the mountains until he rolled it and killed that CJ. My brother was fine and to this day still misses that Jeep. And now with this XJ project me and my son have started, I am hoping to go explore some of the same trails me and my brother did back then. Jeeps are generational.

Chris (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 2:52PM

I had someone give me a ride in a 42 Willis original Marine spec. I loved it and just bought my first jeep three months ago a 1994 XJ and love it and I'm fixing her up myself.

Troy (not verified)    December 26, 2019 - 8:23PM

I don't know what it is about Scramblers, but they are timeless and still look amazing after all these years. I loved them as a 10 year old when I first saw a new one in 1981 and still love them today! I would love a restored one with an original old school color scheme. Classic!!

Cam Fritz (not verified)    October 7, 2020 - 6:25PM

Great story about the scrambler! For me it was me and my fathers ride to school every morning from 1975 to 1978. It was a 73 cj5 in British racing green. 304, 3 speed. Ive had the fever since. Wrecked dads that he gave me as a stupid teen and have since had a 79 cj7, 83 cj 7 and finally am back into a 72 cj 5. Its a work in progress but i sure love it. And im not gonna sell or wreck this one by golly.