I love speed. I love handling. I love performance. And, I have none of it.
You see, I’m the proud owner of a 1991 yellow Jeep YJ. It’s loud and starved for attention. It’s slow and demanding. It looks dirty even if I’ve just waxed it. It’s two decades old and behaves like it. And, without question, I love it.
It’s brilliant. That bumbling old Jeep puts out as much fun as any 300 bhp speed demon. (No offence to the demons.) Make no mistake, you have to be a real petrolhead to own one of these. As much as any tuner car.
Before you start thinking that this Jeep is a south Florida mud-bogger, or a Central Ontario rock-crawler……….it ain’t. Far from it. And, it’s no street Jeep, either. It’s a good, old fashioned beater!
You know which vehicles I’m talking about. We’ve all had one, or have a buddy who’s had one. That vehicle that is always there when the fun is. The one that doesn’t just get you to a destination, but is part of the action. The one that despite its inconsistencies seems like it will live forever. The one that gives joy to driver and passenger. That’s the type of vehicle my little yellow Jeep is.
It’s the type that crams 8 people inside after the club on a Saturday night. Just so you can keep the party going. Music turned up. Girls singing in the back seat. Driving over parking pylons so you don’t have to wait in the exit line. Stopping for pizza. The windows down because they fogged up in an instant (even in the middle of January!).
It was there for camping. Carrying you, your chums and all the equipment. Packed so tight that the rear view was completely blocked. So tight that fishing poles knocked the back of your head. So tight that the friend in the backseat couldn’t turn his body. But, it feared no adventurous dirt road to get there. It provided a place to hide when the torrential rain started to fall.
It’s a vehicle that takes winter head on. It indulges me when I want to do donuts in an empty parking lot with 10 cm of fresh snow. It trundles up to the ski chalet, with boards, boots and buddies in tow. It grips the highway when all others slip to the side.
It embraces summer. There’s nothing like a hot day with the top down and wind blowing through your hair. Your homeboys making fools of themselves with the girls at the bus stop. At night, you look up and see the city like never before. On Sunday afternoon, it gives you perfect tailgating.
Most importantly, this vehicle has a desire to be on the road. It was my trusty companion as it crossed the great highways. From state-to-state on Route 66. The slow uphill climb through the cold mid-western plains. Across the stunning mesas of New Mexico, the Arizona desert and to the sea air of California. We soaked in the sun on the Pacific Coast highway. It felt right at home in the Redwood National Forest. It said, “just slam it into first!” as we struggled up a San Francisco street. It crossed the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia at just the right pace. Just enough to soak in the awe that accompanies the Trans Canada Highway.
Yeah, I’ve had it in the shop. Plenty. Everything has been swapped out. But, that’s half the fun. Getting under the hood to find a place where I could squeeze out an extra two or three horses. Getting it up on the lift to pull an all-nighter with your buddy, for a suspension upgrade. Cursing at frozen bolts. Smiling at new parts as they slide out of the box. Feeling the pride when the job is done and you get it back on the road.
Life is better when your car can give back to you. That thrill of the road. No matter where it is.
Love the car. Even if it’s a little yellow Jeep.