Friday, May 1, 2015

Retro Bug-Out Vehicle #4: Jeep "XJ" Cherokee

Of the vehicles I have owned over the years, several stand out that I wished I had never sold.

One is a 1993 VW Corrado VR6 sports coupe. It was small, light, and fast, but more importantly it held its value and brings top dollar today for a clean example. Mine was very clean.

My wife—at the time—and I sold it to buy a baby carrier—a Honda Element. The Element was a shockingly bad car. Horrid build quality was matched with truly terrifying road manners.

Another was a 1978 VW Rabbit 4 door. Granted it was a bit temperamental, but it almost always ran and was mechanically simple.

My wife at the time felt it was bad feng shui to have a vehicle in the driveway that we rarely drove.

I got it brand new when I was 17. The air conditioner went out and the cost to fix it was more than the car was worth, but that Rabbit had 150K miles on it when I sold it and it was nowhere near dead.

We didn’t use it to transport our daughter because it had no airbags or anti-lock brakes, but as a prepper car it would have been quite handy.

The vehicle I would most love to have back cannot be attributed to my ex-wife “urging” me to get rid of.

In 1989, I bought a Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4 door 4x4 for the princely sum of $24K.

It went to Baja California. It dared roads covered in Yosemite snow without chains. It was attractive, reliable, and durable.

Newcaritis is what motivated me to get rid of it. The car I got was an amazing car and an amazing value, but the Cherokee was a keeper and I did not see it.

The Jeep Cherokee (XJ) was manufactured from1984 to 2001 using a lightweight unibody design. It was way ahead of its time and ushered in the SUV boom.

It had the time-tested AMC straight 6 engine coupled to a 4-speed automatic, a powertrain that was bulletproof.

There were times when I needed to throw it into four-wheel-drive high for snowy conditions and a few time in low for the hoot of climbing hills.

It returned good mileage, averaging 22mpg, but more importantly it was a honest vehicle.

I miss it terribly to the point that I am considering finding one to buy.

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