My #FirstCarMoment

Michelin's new campaign has us going down memory lane to the time we got our first car. Whether it was handed down to you by your parents, or you worked a few jobs to earn it, none of us will forget the feeling of owning our first car.

I got my first Jeep as a Christmas present back when I was in college and home visiting my parents. It was Christmas morning and my best friend had just come back into town from the military to surprise his mom on Christmas morning, who thought he was going to be stuck in 29 Palms and miss Christmas. My mother told him that they were going to surprise me with the Jeep so he stuck around until after it was presented before going to surprise his mother (who nearly had a gleeful heart attack when she saw him). 

For years, I had wanted a Jeep, and that was finally my year. I was opening presents with the family and my best friend and one of the gifts was a scale-model Jeep. "Funny" I said, recalling the story my mother used to tell me as an she used to ask for a puppy and was given a stuffed animal instead. 

But why would a scale-model Jeep have a real key attached to it? That's when I heard an engine attempt to turn over in the garage. Immediately I ran to the garage, and much to my surprise there was a blue 1997 Jeep Wrangler sitting there with a huge bow on the hood!

It was snowing pretty badly outside, and I always worked the Christmas morning shift at an animal hospital where I worked when I was home on breaks from school. The first time I drove it I learned how to tackle snow in four-wheel drive with sub-par tires and a short wheelbase!

That Jeep and I had a fun life together as I took it to the Badlands with other Jeep friends and on trips with the Purdue Off-Road Club as much as I could. During my time with the vehicle, I delivered pizzas and sandwiches for local restaurants all throughout college. While owning the vehicle, I installed a mild lift kit and a set of BFGoodrich all-terrain tires with some aftermarket wheels and a few other modifications.

I had that Jeep for about seven years before I was forced to sell it due to a commute that was costing me $15 per day in gasoline. That was, to date, one of the saddest days of my life. Don't get me wrong, I liked the Ford Fusion that replaced it, but it wasn't a Jeep. It was only a year or two before I landed my current job at Tire Rack and bought a new Jeep to help fill the hole left in my heart by the sale of my old TJ. I still occasionally scan classified ads online to see if I can find that old Jeep out there somewhere in an attempt to be reunited.

What's your #FirstCarMoment?


Tuesday, June 30, 2015 by Eva Meredith

I really enjoyed your narrative. It was logical, interesting and well-written. Your love of your first Jeep left me somewhat less enthralled since women just don't get as excited about mechanical things as by living things. I will admit, however, that if somebody presented me with a convertible Mercedes I might get a minor rush.

Leave a comment