While I am happily still driving well into winter with no doors on the trusty Jeep, we find ourselves on the brink of yet another Thanksgiving and the supposed-official start of the holiday season. It seems like the Black Friday commercials start airing before the kids are even back from trick-or-treating., or is it just me? The arctic winter air plays tricks on my minds sometimes.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could, just for once, celebrate Thanksgiving without the stress and strain of the upcoming Christmas shopping season hanging over our heads? Wouldn’t that third plate of turkey and dressing taste a whole lot better if Aunt Edna wasn’t out in the car revving the engine with her lap covered with a blanket of sales circulars?
The bottom line is that retailers treasure our shopping dollars much more than they value our own personal well-being. And who can really blame them when we are all mostly guilty of falling in line in one way or another; by our refusal to pay more than the next guy for anything, even at the cost of our seasonal sanctity. I think Cyber Monday is the better shopping choice, hands down. Unless you can wait until the week after, that is.
But just because we can’t beat them, doesn’t mean that we should have to join them. There is more than a handful of really cool gifts to get that Jeep guy or girl in your life, even if they’re the kind of person that already has their Jeep pretty-well decked out. Not to mention, they won’t break the bank. They will have you enjoying your Friday after turkey day sitting on the sofa watching football or maybe one of those horrid Christmas specials. You know the one with that guy that sings that song? Yeah, that one! Sure, it will likely put you right to sleep but it’s still easily better than fighting the crowds at the mall. So here goes…
- Portable Tire Inflator – There are any number of different brands and models available and the prices are great, often as low as $30. They usually run on 12 volts DC from your cars power port but many have adapters that will let them plug into a traditional AC outlet in your garage, as well. They tend to be a little slower than a full-size air compressor but there is a lot that can be said about not having to feed quarters into the machine at the filling station while you try to keep the cursed air hose from constantly retracting.
- Rechargeable Flashlight – I believe it is Newton’s Fourth Law of Probability that states if something is going to go wrong, it will usually happen at night or, at the very least, in some area that is completely devoid of daylight. Sure, most folks have a handy flashlight built right into their fancy cellphones but try illuminating the VIN number on your broken down car to the roadside assistance operator while you talk on that same phone and you will surely learn what true frustration is all about. It’s great to always have a working flashlight at hand and even better when you don’t have to concern yourself with how old the batteries are or if they are encrusted in a merry layer of green corrosion. You can check it out at http://www.ruggedridge.com/flashlight-rechargable-700lux-with-rugged-ridge-crush-bezel-15104-44.html
- Dash Cam – It should come as no surprise to anyone that we live in an electronic age. The days of being able to act like a complete nitwit one day and start the next day with a clean slate are all but gone. Be sure to use such technology to your greatest advantage to help offset the obvious disadvantages. Equipping your car with an easy-to-use and affordable dash camera is a great way to protect yourself from the threats of road rage and to document actual events, as they occurred, in the case of an auto accident. Dash Cams can be had for well-under a hundred dollars that have decent picture resolution and adequate memory capacity. Do a little bit of homework before you commit to a purchase to make sure you get the best bang for your bucks. You don’t want to be left with a video so grainy that you suddenly end up the prime suspect in a chain of local convenience store robberies.
- The Power Cup– Cell phones, radar detectors, tablets, GPS devices, DVD players all have a few things in common- they all find home in your car and they all use power. Unfortunately, most vehicles only come with a pair of power ports. Who has time to play leap-frog with charging cables while they are driving? The Power Cup plugs into one of your vehicles power outlets and it will instantly improve your charging game by giving you two power outlets AND two additional USB ports. Best of all, it stores securely in your vehicles cup holder for easy access. This Christmas, maybe it’s time for you to give the gift of empowerment? You can get the lowdown by looking at http://www.ruggedridge.com/power-cup-2-x-usb-plus-2-x-accessory-ports-universal-15101-03.html
- Tire Pressure Gauge– You know those old tire gauges that have a doo-hicky that pops out and shows you the reading on a flimsy square stick of plastic? Well, it turns out that such lame “pop-out” technology doesn’t always tell you your turkey is properly cooked either. The fact that my insurance agent hands them out like they’re candy doesn’t bode well for their credibility either. I do think they make a great gizmo for scratching an itchy inner ear but for actually checking tire pressure? Not so much. Every car guy / girl needs access to a good tire pressure gauge, especially when it comes to safely maintaining oversized off-road tires. Proper tire inflation is vital to safe on-road manners while preserving the life of your tires tread. Darn thing will even fit in a stocking in place of that coal lump!
- Full Auto Detail– Generally speaking, Jeeps are NOT usually known for being clean vehicles. While there are many Jeeps on the road that pride themselves on shining like a new diamond, others are lucky to see water coming from something other than the ground or the sky. In any case, nobody longs to brave the frigid temperatures of winter to wash their own car, much less apply a coat of wax. Fortunately, there are droves of auto detailers who are equipped to do just that and are looking for somebody to do it for. In many cases, they will even come out to where the car is and perform their services in your driveway or in the parking lot at work. You can search Mobile Auto Detailing online and look for reviews on crowd-sourced apps like Yelp! to find reputable detailers in your area. Giving that special Jeeper in your life a gift certificate for a wash and detail is sure to put a smile on their face, not to mention the thrill they will have when they find out what color paint hides under all that dirt.
- Radio Controlled Jeep Rock Crawler– Maybe the Jeep enthusiast in your life has been extra-good this year or maybe you’re just looking for a great way to get them out of the house- to “blow the stink off” as my mom always said. Who wouldn’t want to go exploring in their very own 1/10-scale radio-controlled Jeep? We’re not talking about your typical run-of-the-mill boring street action where the smallest of pebbles brings the fun to a halt. No, we’re talking about high ground clearance monsters with fully working suspension systems and gigantic knobby tires meant to climb ridiculous rock ledges and come back for a seconds. For as little as a hundred bucks, you too can experience the kind of extreme off-roading that monthly car payments normally prohibit. Face it, acting your age is one of the worst resolutions ever.
So with a few gift ideas like these working in your favor, you can certainly take the time to enjoy Thanksgiving, as well as the Friday after, as a time of rest, relaxation; maybe even an attempt at recovery from whatever feast and festivities you may have endured. It’s totally acceptable to refrain from Christmas preparations until the last cold turkey sandwich has been served. Unless Black Friday shopping is indeed your thing, in which case, we wish you godspeed as you go forth. May your long list compounded by the even longer lines fail in shortening your fuse. And don’t forget where you parked. OlllllllO
It’s hard for me to imagine life before Jeeps were actually a thing. The fact that the Jeep has been around, in one form or another, for some 75+ years means that very few people were actually alive before the Jeep existed and those that were are likely occupied with recounting their numerous three mile treks to school uphill both ways.
To find a glimpse into such a Jeep-less society, I drew upon an age-old periodical called The Automobile that was published in the early 20th century and served as a newsletter, of sorts, for those in the automotive trade, whether at the manufacturer, dealer or aftermarket level. Most of these excerpts were taken from issues from 1916 to 1917; a time one hundred years in our past but seemingly separated by eons from where we are today.
It is interesting to note how much vehicles were considered to be more of a luxury in those days than in comparison to the usual perspective today, where most cannot imagine functioning without at least one car at our disposal. One article seemed to boast that the automotive population of Oregon had grown substantially to the pinnacle of 1 car for every 25 residents.
This small editorial effectively details the truth that there is not a plausible future to speak of for automotive accessories. The writer goes on to describe what is presumed to be a power windows option, but his description has a dark undertone as though he was describing the onset of the apocalypse. To believe at such an early stage that we had truly already reached the outer limits of what a vehicle should be equipped with from the factory is laughable. What about seat warmers, cassette tape players with auto reverse, map lights…heck, we hadn’t even developed a means for turn signals on any widespread basis yet! I feel that maybe the author of this beauty must have had a large stake in the horse drawn carriage industry and saw the possibility of further niceties as a direct attack on his waning livelihood.
You can rest assured that, when the time had come to introduce such a concept as turn signals to the masses, you had better make it relatable. Preferably, it needs to be just like hanging your hand out the window, regardless of the cost. I can’t imagine why the “closed car” version would cost 50 cents more. Wouldn’t the open car Handy Signal come with a glove?
The early 1900’s were undoubtedly a simpler time. Despite being smack-dab in the middle of the First World War, consumers had the time to write in to the editor and voice their concerns over such atrocities as rattling car fenders and to shed some much needed light on such social injustices as the Ford Motor Company’s practice of only hiring those who don’t have jobs.
It seems as though, with Jeep not being in the publics scope of consciousness as of yet, many struggled with the notion of what exactly to do with their spare tires. It would be a span of some 25 years until the appearance of a small wheelbase four wheel drive vehicle would set the record straight and answer defiantly the eternal question of where to stick those spares tires. It is now entirely acceptable to leave your spare out for everyone to see. There is no shame in such nor is there any discernible “disfigurement to the fine body lines”, as is suggested.
The early nineteen hundreds were a time of monumental innovation in the auto industry. While the task of finding a nestling place for the spare seemed overwhelming to many, manufacturers diverted their creative energies towards developing mechanical marvels unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Fan Fire Spark Plugs featured tiny fan blades attached that spin to help cool the electrode. I was unable to locate any advertisements for a fan blades extraction tool that inserts into the spark plug hole but certainly one must have existed around this same time period.
Who can possibly refuse the undeniable charm of a road car that can be greased and lubricated from one central location conveniently accessed from the driver’s seat? Well, get your funds together because the Monitor Lubricating Co. of Philadelphia is making this dream a reality with the ingenious new Monitor Lubricator. I struggle to find ample reasons why this never took off…
Of all the gadgets and gizmos that promised to revolutionize motoring as we know it, a few genuine advances in thinking were realized during this period. Although they seem somewhat humorous in their honesty, it’s really incredible to see that our society has a keen knack for recognizing when things are not as they could be and work tirelessly towards that end. It seems fitting that a guy who is banished to the “oil pit” of that day would be fundamentally dedicated to finding a better way to service cars. On a side note, the fact that ‘two cranes’ are referenced in passing leads me to believe that hoisting cars up and on to the precarious stands may have been the reason behind customers never being allowed in the shop, a rule that often stands even to this day.
Even the art of routine maintenance on cars was in its infancy. It took no time for someone to clue in that pouring dirt into your engine is a no-no. If only we had means of filtering air…like in a vacuum cleaner.
Of all the fascinating and curious things that history has to show us, there is always that one thing that defies reasonable explanation. Case in point, you decide that, after much scrutiny, your motor car is much better being stored in a state where the tires are not in contact with the ground as the oil is sure to degrade the rubber tires and thus, make their designed speed rating somewhat questionable. What do you do, you ask? Why, you devise a simple jack contraption to hoist the tire off the ground using simple leverage and you call it… Trump Jack. OlllllllO
Elite Aluminum Fuel Cap
Add a individual touch to your Jeep with our Elite Aluminum Fuel Cap. Available in a variety of different finishes that will match any style you are going for from black to black with brushed accents. Attractive styling that the Elite line is known for to outfit your Jeep.
|11229.10||Elite Aluminum Fuel Cap, Black, 01-18 Jeep Wrangler TJ/JK||$66.99|
|11229.11||Elite Aluminum Fuel Cap, Brushed, 01-18 Jeep Wrangler TJ/JK||$66.99|
Spare Tire Delete Kit
Remove extra weight from your Jeep while adding attractive styling to your Jeep with our Rugged Ridge Spare Tire Delete Kit. Designed to give you greater rear visibility and departure angles you were never able to see before. Features a license plate and third brake light relocation bracket to complete the package.
It’s no highly-guarded secret that today’s Jeep Wrangler prides itself on being one of the most capable off road vehicles to ever leave the road. You often see the ‘Trail Rated’ badge proudly displayed on the fender as a reminder of its off-pavement prowess. There’s even a special package offered comprised of all the necessary goodies to make your Wrangler a force to be reckoned with, like locking Dana 44 differentials at both ends and formidable 4:1 transfer case gearing capable of abruptly reversing the earth’s rotation when properly applied. Heck, Jeep has even given us such niceties as electronic sway bar disconnects that actually disconnect themselves! No more having to muddy-up the old shirt sleeves on those cold morning wheeling adventures. Wrap all that up in one package and call that thing a ‘RUBICON’- named after the infamous 22-mile long trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that has been taunting and thrilling off-road enthusiasts for decades. It’s truly priceless marketing gold that actually does have an associated price that the dealer prints clearly on the window sticker.
That’s all great and I truly love the sense of adventure that the name suggests but what about a special edition for those select few whose daring side borders on perilous; a package that pays homage to geographic oblivions that require a Rubicon Trail level of bravery just to access, and then an even larger lapse in rational thinking to proceed any farther. I’m talking about the Darien Gap- a location in southern Panama, just outside of the city of Yaviza, where any semblance of roadway fades into wild, overgrown jungle for a distance of over 100 miles, serving as a buffer deterring access to the northern border of Columbia. While I don’t feel that Jeep should start lettering hoods with ‘Darien Gap’ graphics quite yet, there is certainly much to be learned and appreciated from such an isolated locale.
First of all, there have only been a handful of people who have even mustered the caliber to attempt such an endeavor. With obstacles such as rivers, dense forests, mud pits, wild animals, poisonous snakes and spiders and the occasional cocaine trafficker wielding a stolen machine gun to slow your progress, it’s understandable why so few have bothered to risk life and limb in such a pursuit. Since the Darien Gap is the only thing that stands between two halves of the earth’s longest roadway, the Pan-American Highway, it stands to reason that there are some pretty solid reasons why 30,000 miles of roadway pauses for this mere 100 miles span. Completion of the roadway through the Darien Gap would come at an extremely high cost, both financial and physical, and would likely only serve as a means of supporting the ever-present drug trade.
Among the adventurers who renounced any and all concerns for their own personal well-being in attempts to conquer the Darien Gap, were a few Jeepers of note; most notably are Loren Upton and his girlfreind Patty Mercier in a new CJ-5, as well as off-roading legend and Jeep Jamboree founder Mark Smith and a crew of a dozen or more daring discoverers. Equipped for success in a fleet comprised of several Jeep CJ-7’s, as well as a Wagoneer and a J-10 pickup, Smith and his fellow explorers arguably made the easist work of the remote wildernesses terrain, bridging the gap in just 30 days. While arguments can be made that one expedition traversed the “gap” quicker than the other or another utilized rafts in lesser scale to navigate water crossings, the truth is that when a feat of this magnitude is minimized in any way by anyone, it’s really a shame. Just managing to prove the impossible and impassable to be anything but is absolutely worthy of worldwide acclaim. In my humble opinion, doing so in a Jeep puts the accomplishment on a whole new level- one more-than-worthy of a special decal package- dare I say, a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Darien Gap?? Unfortunately, very few have ever heard the names of these heroes or possess any knowledge of the place where they sought to achieve their own personal greatness despite unparalleled adversity.
To find the proper scope of what is involved with crossing the Darien Gap, it’s helpful to ponder the fact that Smith managed to complete his trek at a remarkable pace, equating to just over three miles per day; a pace just slightly slower that if you were to crawl through the same jungle blindfolded. Earlier expeditions reported much less aggressive progress with some measuring daily progress in feet rather than miles. Having to literally clear a vehicle width path with hand-held machetes swung by individuals who were likely suffering from severe fatigue, dehydration, malnourishment and possibly the effects of disease and a rampant case of “jungle-butt” seems to be an insurmountable task. I’m not really certain that “jungle-butt” actually exists, although I can imagine it’s not the kind of thing that anyone is likely to feature in their memoirs. Imagine, if you will, having to wear a brand new pair of denim jeans to your friendly neighborhood water park and then fancy the prospect of having to wear those same jeans every hot & humid day that follows for the next month while you perform varying tasks of a strenuous nature. Suddenly it is clear that “jungle-butt” does indeed exist and it’s name is, in fact, much too kind.
So… if Jeep were to see the ere in their ways and offer us, the appropriately enlightened consumers, a Darian Gap Edition Jeep Wrangler what kinds of options would we hope to see? Obviously, everything that the now pedestrian Rubicon offers, with a few vital additions. First of all, an innovative roof rack system would really prove to be essential as the need to carry a slew of jungle cutting implements, steel ramp boards and provisions of water and fuel could easily justify the extra weight of the rack. Secondly, a state-of-the-art satellite navigation system could truly prove beneficial on such an environemnt. Not that Google Maps is going to yield any street views of the Darien Gap…trust me, I checked. It’s just good to know which way is south when the symptoms of milaria begin to take hold and operating a compass becomes problematic, what with the blurred vision and trembling hands.
I could think of a seemingly endless list of features to include in such an exclusive package. Ridiculous amounts of ground clearance are in order, as are a PTO-driven winch and bush hog attachments and maybe auxiliary oil coolers to keep things kosher while enduring the punishment of idling for 16 hours a day would all be welcome additions. Of course, nobody is gonna balk if they include a baby powder dispenser. Are they? OlllllllO
If I were to tell you that one of the most prolific characters to ever grace Beverly Hills own Rodeo Drive (pronounced Ro-day-o) is a dyed-in-the-wool Jeep guy, you’d have to admit that a pretty shameful picture would most likely pop into your head. No different than if I said a bunch of preppies were piling into a Jeep for a cruise down the beach….POP!!! Same picture, Right? Fret not for you are not alone. Personally, I instantly conjured images of madras plaid shirts in uncomfortable hues of pink and blue, flipped collars and pastel sweaters tired about the necks of docksider-wearing pretty boys. It’s worse than you thought and it’s called Horrible Misconception Syndrome, or HMS. Being diagnosed with HMS will not qualify you for any special parking spots or even a classy license plate for your car, mostly because this particular syndrome is largely just in your head. While we can tell you very assuredly that no cure for HMS is on the horizon, there is a treatment available and we can initiate your first dose immediately without an office visit or any sizeable insurance copay.
We’ll start by assessing that troublesome picture in your head. Sure, those are “preppies” and are certainly the visual fare that you might see scurrying in and out of boutiques in a flashy Southern California locale but that does not make the image right, nor is it necessarily accurate. Because the preppy icon that I am referencing is none other than fashion designer Ralph Lauren, and his long-standing affection for the Jeep. Lauren, known in large part for his trademark pullover sport shirts known simply as the Polo, has built a considerable fashion empire, first focusing on neckties before broadening his specialty to the now classic sport shirt. A shirt that, since its inception in the early 70’s, has grown into a mainstay of preppy wardrobes across our great land; one that has accomplished what very few products ever have by reaching the uncommon status of becoming a proprietary eponym.
In case you are now asking yourself, “The shirt became a what?” A proprietary eponym is when a name brand product becomes so widely acknowledged that the name brand becomes the generic title for the product. Like XEROX once had become the accepted term for making a photocopy, back in the olden days when people knew what a photocopy was and had need to make one. Or any soft drink might be referred to as a Coke, even when it is actually the cheap fizzless store brand your mom would buy just to save a nickel and see if you were paying attention. We all clean our ears with Q-Tips and we doctor our painful Xerox paper cuts with Band-Aids just so we can show everyone our new Polos and Dockers on business casual Fridays. We are a society that lacks for very little- a truth that causes me to ponder why a man of considerable wealth and means would choose to drive a Jeep.
And let’s be honest- we’re not talking about brand new fancy Jeeps either. We’re talking older Jeeps with piles of miles on them. Imperfect ones that creak and grind, ones that have weathered paint jobs and are far short of comfortable, by most reports. Lauren is, afterall, a professing car guy. His own personal car collection exceeds 70 cars and has everything from classic Bugattis and Bentleys to vintage Ferraris and Porsches; cars that cost more to have appraised than most Jeeps costs to purchase. I think the reasoning behind Ralph Laurens love for the Jeep became clear to me when I viewed a video of Lauren, from a few years back, at his ranch outside of Telluride, Colorado.
He had invited long-time admirer Oprah Winfrey out to his estate to do an interview, a practice that was notably uncommon for Lauren. As Oprah climbed awkwardly into the passenger side of Ralphs decrepit old 1948 Willys, it seemed almost comical that such a wealthy individual would be caught tooling around in such a “heap”. Winfrey, who is most likely not used to riding in the front seat of any cars these days or in close proximity to the hired help, seemed to be brimming with glee to be able to ride around in such a jalopy. It then occurred to me that Ralph Lauren has a long list of ultra-expensive and rare collector cars only because he truly loves them. He has his old Jeeps and chooses to keep them close by and drive them because they represent who he really is. Hard-working, dependable, imperfect, adventurous, versatile, fun-loving and gravely consistent – all character traits that, although seldom instilled at birth, can only be perfected over time.
One of Ralph’s other Jeeps, a’76 CJ-5 that he purchased new, was so much a part of the Lauren family that his three children tie many of their childhood memories to times spent in that old Jeep. From cruising the beaches with the windshield folded down, riding to drive-in movies and even pulling the kids around on their snow sleds on the family’s property were all cherished recollections of time spent together as a family that centered strongly around that old CJ-5.
When time and age caught up to the old CJ, the paint was faded and the interior tattered, Ralph was not one to put the old dog out to pasture, as is common practice today; rather choosing to have the old Jeep restored. Rusty panels were removed and new sheet metal was welded in place. Mechanical parts that had been worn over time were meticulously replaced with new ones; breathing a whole new breath of life into this sixth member of the Lauren family. Ralph even requested that the Jeeps paint be purposely applied to result in a less-than-showroom appearance. Ralph didn’t long for another shiny, glossy show car. He already had plenty of those and he knew well the purpose that would serve. This Jeep meant far more to him than just something to simply look at. This Jeep was going to be lived in, driven hard, exposed to unexpected rainstorms, sandy feet and ice cream cones. This Jeep was more a member of the family than just a simple mode of transport.
Anyone that already has a Jeep knows exactly what elements exist in his old Jeeps that Ralph Lauren is so endeared to and anyone who doesn’t own a Jeep owes it to themselves to experience it firsthand. You simply don’t have to be a millionaire to have the finer things in life. You only have to be able to recognize them when you see them, cherish them as though they hold great value and take care of them like they’re yours alone. In doing so, you can avoid the misconception that a Jeep is only a vehicle and come to experience and appreciate the Jeep way of life. OlllllllO
If you have been blessed with the gift of sight and, like me, you spend any amount of time checking out Jeeps, you have probably seen more than your fair share of headlight euro guards. While not an officially registered name for the accessory, it seems as though it is the label most often given for the metal bars that go over a Jeeps iconic round headlights. With a name like “Euro Guard”, safe money would wager that these things were inspired by some feeble attempt at establishing a styling trend, in hopes that the appearance of light guard-equipped Jeeps would spread over mall parking lots around the greater upper Midwest like a wildfire; much like adorable nose rings and alcohol-induced lower back tattoos.
The truth is, headlight euro guards have roots that extend well beyond the origins of the phrase “mall crawler”. The first time a headlight guard was featured on a production Jeep dates all the way back to 1950; making them older than reality TV and even rock music. The Willys M38 was a ¼-ton purpose-built military workhorse that was based on the popular civilian CJ-3A, however was fortified with a reinforced frame & suspension, a stout 24 volt electrical system and, yes, headlight guards. While only a single diagonal bar on each headlight, it is still quite clear that these light protecting guards were behind the looks of today’s euro guards all along.
While my heart rests a little easier knowing that euro guards are not just another goofy styling accessory, like louvered triple blade wipers or neon purple ground effects; it’s still hard to piece together how a rugged design feature borrowed from such a legendary combat-proven vehicle can be given a name like “euro guard”. Shouldn’t it have been granted a less fanciful name? Maybe headlight armor…sealed beam shield or even headlamp barriers. It seems to me that tacking ‘euro’ in front of the name incinuates that the vehicles owner is likely be clad in a beret, leather driving gloves with a satiny scarf flowing gently in the breeze as he sports about.
Originally, the M38’s headlight guards were implemented as a means of protecting the fragile glass headlamps from hazards that might be encountered on the dirt roads and jungle trails it would certainly be exposed to as they hung precariously out from the steel grille, unlike the recessed lights on prior MB/GPW models. While many of the geographic locations earlier military Jeeps like the MB and GPW, were exposed to were located all across Europe, the M38 was primarily assigned duties in the Korean War during the early fifties. Maybe the responsible marketing people should have named the headlight guards “East Asia Guards”? Best I can tell, that doesn’t have even the slightest ring to it. Nevertheless, I still can’t get behind the name ‘euro guard’.
As it turns out, the use of ‘euro’ in the name was really nothing more than a marketing scheme after all; a ploy by some people in white shirts and pressed khakis to relay an inherent sense of exclusiveness, possessing qualities that only the most descriminitaing Frenchman could even identify. You see, since the end of World War II, the Europeans had pretty much lead the way in terms of innovative automotive design. While U.S. manufacturers like Studebaker and Packard were largley using carry-over styling until the mid 50’s, auto crafters in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, were forging new territory with what was widely recognized as exhaustive engineering practices, higher quality materials, noteworthy build standards and styling that was was remarkably more refined than what was being practiced stateside. For those reasons, referring to any mundane gizmo with a ‘euro’ prefix could possibly be all that was needed to skyrocket said gizmo to vast popular appeal, but only in regions far removed from the actual continent of Europe- a practice that is both wide-spread and blessed with long life. Yeah…even Grandmas walker was fair game for the “Euro” treatment. The addition of the ‘Euro’ in the title and suddenly this thing needs not one but TWO hand brakes?
In spite of their name, Euro Guards never really pretended to make your Jeep go faster or win you bonus points at the Concours d’Elegance. They are, however, a pretty attractive way to protect your aftermarket headlights from an unexpected run-in with a tree limb while you’re out on the trail. Certainly if headlight guards were cool enough for an inclusion on an old Willys M38, they’re not deserving of even a portion of the negative scrutiny they’ve been exposed to over the years.
In the end, we can all agree Euro Guards make a pretty cool accessory to add to your Jeep. They look tough and are simply a breeze to install; in fact, they are the perfect project for those young Jeepers in your family in that they won’t break the bank or leave the family transportation straddling a puddle of costly fluid in the driveway. There are even more modern variations available today that truly do live up to the ‘euro’ name; achieving standards in terms of styling, unique designs and choice materials that make the original headlight guards look their age. You can always find your perfect Euro Guards and a ton of other Jeep stuff at www.ruggedridge.com (beret & scarf not required).
Word on the street is that Jeep is going to offer us a brand new Wrangler-based pickup truck in 2019, fulfilling an urgent longing that I can’t say I was even aware of. The new Jeep Wrangler JT will all but cease a long-standing ritual of Jeep owners; believing that the only thing keeping their beloved Jeeps from being a full-fledged pickup truck is a bundle of ratchet straps and some creativity.
Obviously the fine folks at Fiat/Chrysler have invested significant energy into determining the marketplace to be properly aligned with the prospect of a four wheel drive, go-anywhere utility vehicle that also enables the driver to haul a mound of camping gear to the mountains or masses of shopping bags home from the mall, depending on their personal inclination. I can only assume that, in the divine blissful haze of my own Jeep ownership, I hadn’t realized that we weren’t doing better than alright with our current Jeeps, minus a truck bed.
Many a times I have taken off to the local home improvement store in the old Jeep with no concern as to where the 2 x 4’s, bags of quikrete and sacks of red cedar mulch will ride. Jeeps have been hauling incredible payloads since the early 1940’s. I’m pretty sure that some gardening supplies aren’t going to derail the train. Sure, sheets of plywood or panelling tend to push the envelope of what is possible or shrewd; but that’s when you have to raise your cargo loading game to the next level. I tend to think of a gutsy WWII medic who was presented with the probability of carrying a wounded soldier strapped to an eight foot stretcher on his runt of a Willys/Jeep. He didn’t bother looking for reasons he couldn’t do it… He found ways he could. In minutes, that Jeep was catching air with the gurney strapped to whatever flat area was not already occupied. With said soldier grateful to be alive, although not necessarily happy at the time.
In the grand scheme of things, hauling a flat of petunias or a weekend’s supply of camping gear to the nearest woods pales in comparison to the notion of carting an injured soldier off of the battlefield. However, regardless of how the Jeeps utilitarian abilities are displayed, they are certainly worthy of being celebrated, or maybe even exploited – within the confines of local laws and ordinances, of course.
The residents of Quindio, Columbia have initiated an annual celebration of Jeeps enduring ability to defy the bounds of what is possible by holding a giant colorful parade featuring “Yipaos”, which literally means ‘loaded Jeep’. These basically stock Jeeps and Willys vehicles are decorated, adorned and otherwise encumbered with every sort of object one can imagine. Religious trinkets, misplaced home appliances and pieces of societal refuse are piled precariously high atop each eighty-inch wheelbase for a rolling spectacle that is just as long as it is tall. Folks, that is a full-scale acoustic guitar at Jesus’ right hand. Not a ukele…a real guitar. It has not been properly tuned but is a spectacle nonetheless.
One doesn’t have to travel half-way around the world or skirt the equator to find Jeeps being put to a daily test of practicality. Jeeps are often witnessed across the country pulling boats & jetskis, landscaping trailers or loaded to the rollbars with everything from musicians gear to firewood . A reporter during World War II once wrote that his Jeep “did everything. It went everywhere. Was faithful as a dog, as strong as a mule, and as agile as a goat. It constantly carried twice what it was designed for and still kept going”. That is a pretty sparkling description of a Jeep and one inline with my past experiences. I can only imagine if the Jeep had a truck bed what more could he have said?
So, if our esteemed off-road mainstay is truly about to be gifted from Jeep’s Toledo factory with a legitimate truck bed, we may have to alter our perceptions of what is possible. We have always done truck-like things without a truck. Imagine the possibilites with a diesel engine, 8-speed automatic and lockers front & rear! I may just start building my own yipao now so I can just load it in the back. OlllllllO
You’ve probably seen them scabbed to the side panels, strapped across the hood or bolted to the rear bumper of just about every military Jeep you’ve ever seen. You might even have seen them and didn’t know any better what to call them- they are Jerry Cans. From their origin and by definition, large pressed-steel containers designed specifically for the containment and transport of fuel; they’ve been an essential fixture on any serious off-road and overlanding vehicles the world over for decades. But who is this Jerry guy??
My first suspicion was that this name must be somehow tied to the age old phrase “jerry rig”, which has always meant that something was haphazardly made to function without any regard to endurance or even safety. Not exactly the kind of disregard I would recommend when it comes to toting around gallons of flammable and highly combustible fluids, at least not in the western hemisphere. Fortunately, the ‘Jerry Can’ predates the slang terminology of “jerry rigged” by quite a few years and only shares the same given name and cleverly avoids all of the negative traits.
This fuel can, or Wehrmacht-Einheitskanister as it was affectionately known by, was developed originally by the Germans in the late 1930’s and was granted the nick name ‘Jerry Can’ a few years later by the Americans during the Second World War as the Allied troops began using an adapted design based on the German model. ‘Jerry’ was a common slang wartime term used to refer to Germans, who during wartime, were obviously not deemed worthy of a second syllable when referenced in casual conversation. The design of the early Jerry Cans, in retrospect, was really quite remarkable.
The cans dimensions were established so that a capacity of 20 liters of any given liquid would not make the can too heavy for a single man to carry. The canister was fitted with three parallel top-mounted handles so that the cans could be carried by the center handle easily with one hand when full or in pairs, when empty, by grasping the outer handles of two adjacent cans. Each face of the Jerry Can was stamped with an X-shaped indention that served to give the flat steel some level of structural reinforcement while also providing some ability to allow for thermal expansion of the metal and its contents.
The fact that each cans rectangular shape was uniform allowed them to be easily and evenly stacked for transport; while the cans filler spout was recessed into a flattened corner, keeping it out of harm’s way and insuring that the cans contents would not likely be compromised if the can were accidentally dropped. Slight modifications to the design were gradually implemented as the working prototypes were exposed to and battle-tested by U.S. and British armed forces around the globe. I can only imagine the lawnmowers and bonfires they have helped to fuel in the years since.
With such a nifty and efficient design, it was common for the Jerry Cans to be treated to a signifying paint job that would help specify what contents hid inside. Diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene and even drinking water could be toted with a special can fitted with an enamel interior coating. It kinda makes me wonder if there was ever any unauthorized initiation hazing rituals which involved telling fresh recruits to refill their canteens with the green jerry cans and watching hilarity ensue.
To this day, the original German designed Jerry Can is still considered the standard container for armies of all NATO countries and is still used commonly to this day. That doesn’t mean that the times have stood still for the esteemed Jerry Can. The past decades have seen the advancement of plastics develop into a whole new era of cans that often bear little resemblance to their forefathers, but surely pay homage to the original Jerry Cans of the past. New space-saving designs, innovative securing systems and size options make it possible for today’s off-road vehicle to equip itself with fuel reserves, coolant and enough clean water to drink and shower for days without having to dress your Jeep up like a jerry-rigged pontoon boat. Wisdom still would advise sniffing the Jerry Can before filling your canteen though. You can’t be too safe these days. OlllllllO
Spartan Series Bumpers
The Rugged Ridge Spartan Series Bumpers gives your Jeep a classic look without the extra weight and high price tag. The one-piece design is made from plate steel that gives your a precise fit and high quality experience. Each bumper includes a stand-alone winch plate as the central backbone for the bumper and includes D-shackle mounts and a tubular overrider to complete the package (D-rings not included). The Spartan Front Bumper is a direct bolt-on replacement for 2007-2018 Wrangler JK models and includes all the necessary hardware for a worry-free installation. The Spartan even utilizes the factory JK fog lights for a finished look without any extra expense.
|11548.03||Spartan Front Bumper, Standard Ends, W/O Overrider, 07-18 Wrangler JK||$399.99|
|11548.02||Spartan Front Bumper, Standard Ends, With Overrider, 07-18 Wrangler JK||$466.99|
|11548.01||Spartan Front Bumper, High Clearance Ends, With Overrider, 07-18 JK||$533.99|
|11548.04||Spartan Front Bumper, Overrider||$106.99|
XHD Steel Corner Guards
The XHD Steel Corner Guards protects one of your most vulnerable areas on your JK while hitting the trails. Built from super strong 3mm thick steel plate to withstand any hazard on the trails.
Ask your average 30-something guy at the neighborhood cookout what his favorite car is and the answer you receive in return is likely to change like the weather. There’s always the diehard Porsche and Ferrari faithful, not to mention the fellas whose dreams have no credit limit who will chide in with the latest Bugatti or McLaren model. If your subject has seen Gone in 60 Seconds within the past weeks, he may likely declare a 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 as his clear & uncontested choice. I really dug ‘Eleanor’ too in that movie and I don’t even like Mustangs! After spending a weekend with the ‘ol feet up watching Lemans coverage, I got myself a case of the gimmies for a C7 Corvette-hold the Racing Yellow paint, please.
When it comes to a Jeep guy/gal, their favorite car is likely going to be whatever Jeep model they are driving, or possibly one they aspire to buy. We can still dream of owning that random supercar or even a classic muscle car that spends the better part of its existence holding up a micro-fiber dust cover in the garage. The Jeep still has to be our favorite as it’s the one we love to drive around in, get dirty in and cherish so deeply that most owners even try to give theirs a name, like it’s a member of the family.
You will soon find out that a Jeep is not even considered a car by most people, so answering with ‘Jeep’ when asked what is your favorite car is almost like dodging the actual question. Like when asked your favorite breed of dog. If you reply ‘Hot Dog’, you might get a soft chuckle but secretly your surveyor is pondering the possibility that you may have been dropped at some point and are more than likely ill-equipped to answer the question.
So what if there was a car out there for those who are content with having a Jeep as their favorite car; for those who despite having no qualms about the fact that a Jeep is not really a car, would love to have an answer for those times when the question may arise? May I present to you the 1959 Desoto Firesweep – your NEW favorite car… It’s a classic car so cool that it has a Jeep on the dash!
While the Desoto has little or nothing to do with the Willy’s/ Jeep, it seems undeniable that the molded plastic housing mounted in the dash to store the speaker and windshield defroster bits possesses the same iconic characteristics as the beloved Jeep CJ grille. From the seven vertical slats to the round headlight openings that impede onto the outboard slats; this is clearly more than coincidental. Someone in Chrysler design studios must have had a secret fondness for the venerable Jeep.
If I am going to compromise my core principles and engage in the practice of driving a car that ISN’T a Jeep, it might as well have the face of a Jeep across the dash reminding me with a faithful ever presence of where I would rather be. Outside of the stylized tail light fins and the push-button transmission, it’s positively the strongest selling point that Desoto had to offer.
Desoto used the subtle visual ode to the Willys/Jeep in both the Firesweep and the Adventurer model, but never chose to market it to it’s stylish consumers. This, a decision I could find single-handedly to blame for the companies eventual demise in 1961. Had they only opted to advertise with a catchy little slogan like “ Desoto Firesweep- The Car for Those Times You Can’t Drive Your Jeep”.,.things could have been som much different. So, what’s your favorite car now?? OlllllllO