This is going to be somewhat of a Jeep tale, it's been so long since I've logged onto this forum it makes me sad. I'd like to share this story with you all, I do believe though that it's more for my own closure. I'll keep it short:
I traded a mustang for my first XJ, a 2000 Cherokee Sport, red in color. I was in high school and didn't realize at the time that I got screwed in the deal, it was a Salvage title and the unibody "frame" was forever tweaked. I was in high school, had a job and invested most of my money and a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the Cherokee. I basically rebuilt everything from the ground up, new HP D30, rebuilt engine, non 0331 head, complete new engine accessories, she was my pride and joy.
It took me months to finally decide on what lift/tire/wheel combo to order and when the parts arrived I reacted as a kid on Christmas morning would. Rubicon Express 3.5", 33x12.50 MT Baja Radials and Cragar Soft D-Windows.
By this time I was 18 and had moved away to college, I took a weekend off and went home to install all of my goodies. I had already built a custom full length roof rack out of 2x2 square tubing, installed off-road lights, cut fenders and front bumpers, she looked mean when I was done installing everything. Like I said she was my pride and joy, getting compliments everywhere I went.
Not to long after, I had an off road accident and sank her in a canal. Completely my fault, I was so angry with myself. After running normally for a while, tell tale signs of electrical issues arose. Turns out I fried everything electrically wise. I was too poor financially to fix her and decided to cut my losses finally, after spending way more than she was worth in the first place. I parted her out, got some money back from my investment. It was a sad loss.
It took some saving, and searching high and low, but I found it. The Blue Demon, was immaculate. A 1997 Cherokee SE two door, five speed, two-wheel drive, lost in time somewhere. This Jeep was in perfect condition and I decided that since I was away at school, that I needed a nice daily driver. The Demon came home with me, and after a new belt it ran like it was 1997 all over again. I hauled all of my belongings back to school with me in it and again I was a proud Jeep owner.
I've had that Jeep for about two years, the bug got me when the stance wasn't high enough and maybe it wasn't too peppy with the 3.07s. I freshened the saggy leaf springs and brought the height of the whole Jeep up 2". A free D35 with 3.55's replaced the rear and a Thrush Turbo muffler got the gases flowing a little better (and louder). I was happy, the Blue Demon was happy.
My cousin/roommate's car was in the shop and I let him drive it for a couple of weeks while he waited for his to be repaired. I rode my Harley to get me around all the time anyway since gas is so damn expensive and I'm so damn poor. He called me and told me that his car was ready and he was en route to pick me up to go get it.
The Demon pulled up outside and I jumped in as a passenger, a nice treat to get driven around in your own vehicle every once in a while. We took off in a flash, thanks to that rear end, and headed towards the expressway. We turned onto the frontage, he prepared to yield for cars coming off the ramp, there were none (we both were checking). I looked first and saw a car stopped at the yield sign, with no cars to yield for. I yelled for him to stop, it was too late. The wheels locked up, some sliding occurred, we slam into a brand new VW Jetta at about 30 MPH. The header panel is destroyed, along with the grill, bumper is ripped off and the cross member looks like the letter U. Both frond fenders are bowed out and both ends of the "frame" which are home to the bumper brackets are destroyed. One of my tires exploded on impact. I watched my once beautiful Blue Demon get towed away, knowing that she may be a lost cause.
It turns out that it's more than I can afford to spend, the steering was damaged, along with the A/C condenser and radiator. My cousin is paying me for the Jeep. I turned to steel and showed no emotion. In reality though, it really upset me. I loved this Jeep, not only was it mine, but it was a symbol for so many personal moments, accomplishments, and lack there of for the last two years. It was a symbol of my first example of financial independence. I am still torn at the fact that this Jeep is gone from my life, and I wasn't driving, I was a passenger.
I think back to last week, I should have told him to get out and to let me drive. I should have done a lot of things. It's too late now and time has moved on.
I am now sadly in the market for a new (to me) Cherokee. I have an idea of what I want, another four door, automatic, and 4x4. I'm just so picky, and of course, I'm still a poor college student so the pickings are even slimmer, due to my budget. Luckily I do have another vehicle to ride around on, get me to work and school.
The hunt has already begun, it's sad to see nice Cherokees getting rarer and rarer as time goes on.
It's tragic that things can be taken from you so instantly, I'm very thankful and grateful that it was only material things that were lost. The lady we hit was fine, her car wasn't even damaged too badly. My cousin and myself made it out with no injuries, we all made it out with our lives and live to see another day.
Man.....your story is truly touching, first off glad to hear everybody's ok....and also sad to hear of the bad luck you've had and the passing of two fellow xj's, you 'll find another cherokee that's up to your standards even though it is harder to find them these days...from one broke college student to another , I feel your pain, if my xj was just totaled I'd be heartbroke too...all I can say is keep on keepin on an keep searching you'll find the right xj
I feel your pain. I too am a poor college student and in the begin of this summer my second jeep was totaled due to a guy blowing a stop sign. But you will find that new xj it just takes time and lots of looking on Craigslist
I didn't see where your from.. But my local dealer has a 99 Cherokee. If your interested I can go look and take pics. Its hard go believe it only has 44k+ miles on it. It's in Fort Mill, SC truly a rare find.