Five years ago today my life changed dramatically. I was a small car guy who, although I had driven and loved a del Sol for fourteen years, didn’t really identify myself as a car guy at all.

Five years and one day ago I had been searching for a local, manual Jeep TJ Unlimited (aka “LJ”) for a couple of months.

I wanted Solar Yellow, but by that point I was desperate enough to consider anything. I had found a silver LJ to test drive, but it was pretty sketchy, and I didn’t like the feel of the shifter. I even test-drove an automatic, but I decided I wasn’t quite that desperate.

Advertisement

Five years and one day ago, late Sunday evening, I tried again on Autotrader.

Still nothing.

Then I noticed there was a separate checkbox for “Unlimited Rubicon” vs “Unlimited”. Somehow I had not noticed that previously, or had not regularly checked both, I’m not sure. Whatever the situation, I tried again.

And there it was. My 2005 Solar Yellow, manual, TJ Unlimited (aka “LJ”), as a Rubicon, and only 20 minutes away. 85k miles, give or take.

And it was Sunday evening, so I couldn’t do a damned thing.

I don’t know how much sleep I got that night, but it wasn’t much. (I should have taken that time to do a better job of cleaning my then-current car, a Honda Civic Si, because thanks to my dog Charlie the interior was covered in white hair.)

Advertisement

The next morning I raced across town to the dealership. The sales guy said someone had traded in two Solar Yellow LJs the week before, one of which was an automatic, and one of them had already sold. He didn’t know which, but he thought it was the manual that had already left the building.

Those were a tense few minutes while I waited, but the good news (obviously) made its way back to us, so I was out for a test drive. Took me all of 2 minutes to know for certain I wanted it.

Advertisement

It’s been crazy expensive to keep on the road (cost me $10k in 2017 to fix various ailments) but it has been, mostly, worthwhile.

Here’s to another 5 years. And hopefully many more beyond that.

At the dealership in 2014.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

The sun always shines on a yellow Jeep.

Advertisement

Advertisement

That CJ-2A should be familiar to regular FP readers. David Tracy’s very own.

Advertisement

Rest in peace, old friend. You and I had nothing in common except a love of road trips, especially in the Jeep.

Advertisement

Advertisement