Anyone have that one vehicle you'll never sell? What's the story?

Harry Johnson

Active member
Sep 13, 2023
Spreckels, Ca
Way back in high school I bought a shiny new 1997 jeep wrangler. This isn't about that jeep. I actually sold that to a buddy a few years back. About a year later, my dad thought my jeep was so much fun that he wanted one, and so in 1998 he bought a brand new Sahara Edition TJ and proceeded to go wheeling with me on some local club runs. You San Diego cats might recognize this place:

That year for father's day, my mom and I actually colluded to slap a 3" lift, 4.56 gears, 33" tires, and a Detroit locker out back on it without him knowing. This was june, and the desert was too hot just to jet out there for a shakedown. My dad and I lasted about a month before we couldn't take it anymore and drove out to the Borrego desert in the middle of July just to try out all the new stuff. I remember it was so hot that the little warning label on the inside of his soft top fell off and and landed in my lap as we rolled into Borrego Springs. With the A/C blowing full blast and both of us sweating anyway, my dad looked at me and said "This might not be such a good idea." But it turned out to be a great idea and I'll always remember it.

Fast forward a few years and he and I would take turns flogging his jeep(because he had a locked diff and I couldn't afford anything other than 31s and a posi).

Sometimes when I was away at school, he'd let me trade jeeps with him for a semester, and this jeep took my friends on enough crazy adventures that I can just reference it to any of them as "White Jeep" to this very day and they'll spin a story of some dumb thing we had done in it together.

Other cars came and went, but my dad kept this thing. At one point my mom wouldn't drive it anymore, because she drove it with bald-ish tires and that lunchbox locker out back in the rain and spun a solid 360 just a few streets away from home. Nothing got damaged other than pride. My parents kept taking it on adventures, either with me or without
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And then one time I brought down our new project YJ, and took the whole family out in the desert with them. I didn't realize it then, but it's the last time my dad would really drive it.


About a year later, it needed some work, and my dad confessed to me that it was just too hard to climb into his jeep anymore. He said he probably wouldn't get much for a trade-in on his old jeep, and wanted to know if he could give it to me. Of course I immediately said yes.

I got it back to daily drive-able status, and somewhere along the way the kid's started calling it "Grandpa's Jeep".

My dad passed away back in April, but he did get to see me start driving it to work every day, and dragging it behind our RV on trips. He was stoked it was getting used. So now non-car people get super confused because I've got two jeeps and they just don't understand why I would need two. I pretty much just point at this one and say "We've got too many good memories in this one, I'll never get rid of it."

Anyone else have that one vehicle you'll never sell? Lets hear it if you do.
Such a cool story! Just picked up a tj this year so me and my boys can go make memories.
Right on. Ours is still out kicking up dust. We actually took it out to Fonts point where we did a little memorial cheers for my dad. One of my buddies needed a jeep to take his family around for the weekend, so I had him flat tow it down and use it. Bonus- they had a 1 year old and the AC still blew cold to keep everyone comfortable.



Got a little sunset cheers for my dad out at Font's Point. It was one of he and my mom's favorite places to be:
Harry, Nice thread and great post to see all the history and memories you and your dad made in the jeep. Although our trucks/offroad vehicles are just complicated pieces of metal the memories we make with them are what makes them so sentimental.

Im in this boat with my ranger.

One of my best friends growing up, his dad bought the ranger which i now own, brand new in 1995. It was hardly never driven, and his 3 kids each drove the truck to high school. When my friend was driving it, we were all crazy high school kids and beat the shit out of the thing. It would get jumped off driveways, train tracks etc. we stuffed a leveling kit on it and 33's and painted it flat black, it had a huge stereo system and it was fun for all of our friend group. The headliner was covered in signatures and people would always carve their names into the foam headliner (Wish i kept that for memories lol). In 2012 i had the opportunity to buy it from my buddies dad for a grand. It had 75k HARD miles on it. I bought it and immediately cut it apart to cage it.

My plan was keep it simple but that snowballed and ultimately ended up where it is today. I have rebuilt every inch of that truck over and over again until now which im not fully happy with it, but it works well and i learned along the way. I didnt know shit about fabricating or what was right or wrong but learned along the way and never gave up. I was broke and couldnt afford much but i always stuck to the goal. I have spent the last 11 years of my life building the truck and have made so many memories along the ride that will stick with me forever. I have made some great friendships through the offroad community and met so many like minded people. Although its just a truck, it has taught me work ethic and to stick to your goals no matter what that looks like. I doubt i will ever sell it, it would take a lot of money for me to even consider it. At this point in life, free time is harder and harder to come by and i keep holding on to those old memories building this truck.
100% wish I had never sold this truck. There was nothing like rolling 2nd gear burnouts with 39s. Truck towed great and was an awesome chase truck. Pretty bummed it's been for sale a few times recently and isn't what it used to be. It's got a bunch of crappy fab work and at some point someone ripped out the heater and AC. I'd still like to build another one day


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