For several years I wanted a vehicle that would let me do more in my role as a Black Rock Ranger at Burning Man. There was a particular vehicle that inspired me, but that’s for a future post.

I wanted something that looked as though it had been abandoned in the desert, as opposed to something shiny and new. It should whisper “working service vehicle” instead of screaming “I pimped my ride”!

After a dismayingly long search, I found a suitably distressed 1987 Jeep Wrangler YJ in Fresno, California, 180 mi (290 km) away. After negotiating with the woodsman-owner I hopped on the train for a ride into the Central Valley.

She was in rough shape. Her seats were duct tape. Not that there was a little bit of duct tape on the seats, each of the two front seats was entirely wrapped in duct tape. When I sat and warmed the tape it felt like gelatin; nothing like anyone actually wants.

She started with a belch of black smoke, but ran reasonably well, and seemed like a good beginning. A local mechanic blessed her as roadworthy and now she’s parked in front of our house. Here’s my son, Isaac, pondering our new wheels.

After having all the fluids changed, and filters and stuff, I turned my attention to reattaching everything that had fallen off. Here’s the Jeep at my local muffler place; they said they would weld the step bars back on. (Notice also the spare rim minus a tire. An interesting choice.)

The step bars are not light.

After two quick passes through nearby auto shop, and a slow pass through the DMV, she runs and is street legal.

Next I’m going to have to get her ready for her new role, off-street.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.