The End of the Jeep Era

While running errands the other day, I noticed my Jeep’s heater wasn’t working very well.  From the parking lot of Bisson’s Meat Market, I texted Handy and he met me at the house a few hours later.  He put some anti-freeze in the radiator and the following Monday, he took the Jeep to Quality Care Auto in Lisbon.

When he stopped by for afternoon coffee, he said “we’ve got to talk.”

Handy had a long list of things that needed fixing.  We went over the list and Handy outlined which problems he could fix and which ones he couldn’t.  He then estimated the general price range of the remaining punch list.


I was shocked.  We had just driven to the ends of the earth and back and now the Jeep was on its last legs and in need of some expensive repairs.  Handy tried to console me, but I was devastated.  My voice was shaking when I asked “do you think it’s time to get a new car?”

Handy nodded and said “you might want to start thinking about it.”

I thought I was going to cry because I love my Jeep.

Women have been driving since the invention of the automobile.  Mrs. Karl Benz, possibly the first motorized Lady Alone Traveler, jumped into one of her husband’s “motorwagens” and headed off from Mannheim to visit her parents in Pforzheim.  Bertha’s trip pioneered additional improvement to Karl’s invention and voila!  Happy motoring was born.

My father gave me my first auto, a big safe Oldsmobile.  King of the road it was.  I’m sure he wanted nothing but for me to travel safely and arrive alive at my every destination.  But I never consulted him about buying cars after this.  I relied on my own devices, opting for such unwise choices as a Pontiac Fiero and a Ford Mustang GT.

One of my friends finally convinced me to buy a Jeep.  She and her husband explained how a Jeep was good in the snow and steady on the road.  It was right after my divorce and I was vulnerable; looking for security.  That Jeep, a 1994 Grand Cherokee, transported me safely and securely along many less-traveled roads.  A short detour driving a Mazda resulted in the purchase of my second Jeep and here I am eight years later facing another car buying decision.

“But Handy, that Jeep has been like a husband to me!”

Handy, ever steady and logical, outlined a number of options.  He also asked questions about what things I thought I wanted in a car.  Then he confessed that he was not a fan of Jeeps.  You see, Handy drives an old Dodge Caravan.  No “muscle car” or a “man mobile” for him.  The Caravan serves his purposes as well as any truck.  And because he removed the back seat, he can carry tools, equipment, and even pieces of sheet rock.

Handy is not married to his Dodge Caravan.  It’s not part of his identity.

The end of the Lady Alone Traveler Jeep era looms on the horizon.

Gal in CarThe prospect of this change is unsettling for me, but fortunately Handy has gently deconstructed things and reminded me that much of this is just “feelings.”  Will I end up in a smart and sassy foreign auto? Or a new American ride?

Time will tell and so will I!

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5 Responses to The End of the Jeep Era

  1. Loosehead Prop says:

    As someone who just this morning sank another $1800 into a Chrysler product of exactly the same vintage as yours, and postponed another $1800 of work till later, I feel your pain.

    A Fiero? Yeah, it was plastic, but it was fun.

  2. Loosehead Prop says:

    Ah, the dealer just called, turns out that as soon as they went to replace the cheap part, the place where it attaches to the frame, um, fell off. So now they’re welding patches onto the frame. $500 extra, perhaps.

    Sad as it is to lose your Jeep, get out while you can. It’s too late for me, save yourself!

  3. Jim says:

    It’s too bad the Jeep couldn’t hold out another year, or two. Then, you’d just call up Google and they’d send out a self-driving car to pick you up and whisk you away to another LAT adventure.

    I sometimes wonder when the Obama (or Hillary) types will limit or even outlaw driving.

    That would work fine for the Beltway and city dwellers—not certain how rural folks would get by without their cars.

    JBE1 is now eight-years-old and getting up there with mileage. Then, writing about cars, I start thinking about how nice having a new car would be. The payment, not so much.

    • As you know, in some countries (even today) women are not allowed to drive and the chauffeur business thrives. I wasn’t sure how to work this into my blog post because I do appreciate having the choice to either pilot the wheel myself or be chauffered around by Handy.

      I’m leaning towards buying a used Caravan, if you can believe it. Not too used. We’ll see.

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