The Man Who Drove The Coolest Jeep and My First Jeep Love
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.
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Image source: Wikipedia, White Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler