1987 Jeep Comanche Chief: upcoming project & why I love Jeeps

Last month we decided to finally buy a truck, but Eric and I had very different ideas about what to get. His last truck was a banana yellow GMC with pink-and-blue pin-striping (an unsightly purchase justifiable only because he claims it was a "good deal" - but it thankfully got traded in when he bought his FR-S), so I was worried when he found a retired school systems GMC that guess what, was a horrible nacho cheese yellow. Fortunately, the taco sold before we had a chance to snag it, which sent our quest back to Craigslist. As we searched, I kept my mouth shut when Eric looked exclusively at large heavy-duty trucks, passing over the smaller nimbler ones I liked; after all, the truck was mainly for him. However, when I saw an ad for a Jeep truck, I couldn't resist; I grabbed the mouse and opened the ad in a tab. I fell in love immediately, but Eric merely grumbled while I played up the truck's features: we wanted a manual and a four wheel drive, at $1650 it was much cheaper than the behemoths he was considering, and as a 4-cylinder, it would be easy on gas*. Plus, it was a Jeep.

jeepI had a glorious lifted 2-door 1989 Jeep Cherokee that I used to dart around the countryside when I was 14-16, and although it was honestly unreliable with a bad overheating issue (I'd regularly have to take breaks by rivers during my off-road excursions to throw water on the motor), it never let me down on a trail. I plastered girly stickers all over the back window (much to the dismay of my grandfather and other men on the road when he drove it, because the men would crane their necks in expectation of a pretty girl only to find a gray beard). I came to be one of few who understood and could handle its fickle nature. I loved its capableness and personality, so I have a soft spot for Jeeps that associates them with the smell of forest and freedom.

Still, Eric made it clear he wasn't impressed. Nevertheless, I left the tab open, nested along with the other tabs he had up, all containing trucks that had passed his interest test. Like a child taping up pictures of a wanted toy all over the house in hopes of persuading his parents, I hoped that with exposure, Eric might eventually come to see things my way. Later that night I did my homework while Eric was narrowing down his selections, and my gamble paid off. Curiously, he looked at the page, and the more he looked, the more he liked. He came and told me we could go have a look at it after all, and I wasted no time contacting the owner.

To make a long story short, we are now the proud owners of a 1987 Jeep Commanche Chief. We've driven it over 500 miles with no issues, and it has already survived a brawl with a semi truck that left the semi running away with its tail between its legs (a dumbass truck driver backed into us while we were eating in a Bojangles, pushing the truck and then taking off, apparently unaware customers in the parking lot had witnessed his hit-and-run; the good news is the damage was relegated to a small dent near the back bumper).

*After talking to a local Jeep expert, we found out our particular setup for a Commache is somewhat rare: 4-cylinders were uncommon, and so was the air conditioning option. If you want to read more about the history of the Commanche, visit this awesome page.

First improvements have included fresh spark plugs, and we just got new 31" BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires. I can't wait to try them out in my old trails. Eric has lots of more upgrades planned, of course, and I plan to chart them on this blog as they come along.




"The uglier it got, the better it looked." A great Jeep ads which sums up Jeep aesthetics.




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