Ever since they first emerged on highways, but first the battlefield more than 70 years ago, Jeeps have tugged on the heartstrings of all sorts of Americans, providing them with a sense of freedom, romance, and adventure. That’s why they continue to be one of the best selling cars in the U.S. They attract a wide variety of people of all ages, including celebrities that embrace the iconic 4×4 sport utility vehicle for a variety of reasons.
Owning a Jeep is no laughing matter to a number of stand-up comedians and funny-men. Take, for example, Kevin Hart, the diminutive 36-year-old movie actor from Ride Along 1 and 2, The Wedding Ringer, and Get Hard. Over his impressive career, he has also become an automotive connoisseur, amassing a large collection of restored classic and some hard-to-find vehicles. Recently, he added a special black Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that was gifted to him by a group of friends after the record-breaking success of his “What Now?” comedy tour. Hart received the 2016 Jeep Wrangler with its standard 16-inch wheels, tinted windshield glass, and a 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. He had it heavily customized by Stealth Motor Works, opting for an all black color scheme with red accents throughout. Hart has nicknamed his Jeep Wrangler “Jeep Nasty.”
Life-long Jeep Owners
Some celebrities have a life-long tie to the Jeep brand. Ronald Reagan, America’s 40th president, got his hands on his first Jeep during World War II in the 1940s and remained a fan of the vehicle throughout his presidency during the 1980s. Reagan learned to drive a Jeep while he was on active duty in the Army Reserve. But during his political years, first as Governor of California and then President, he owned two Jeep vehicles. They were used to ferry Reagan and his staff or visitors around his 688-acre Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, CA. One was a brick red 1962 Jeep C-J-6 that he used to haul rocks, chopped wood, and brush. The other was a sky blue 1983 Jeep C-J-8 Scrambler Renegade, a gift from his wife Nancy, which was outfitted with a personalized license plate with Reagan’s nickname “Gipper” and bunk boards with the words Rancho del Cielo. Photos of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Reagan’s Secret Service detail show them getting rides in the Jeep. Today, the Jeep Scrambler is on view at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara.
Another life-long Jeep owner is fashion designer Ralph Lauren. He owns a 1948 Jeep Wrangler that he operates at his Double RL ranch near Telluride, CO and a 1976 Jeep CJ-5 at his estate in the Hamptons of New York. He and his wife, Ricky, and their children have enjoyed getting around the streets as well as the beaches along Long Island’s East End in their Jeep. Lauren purchased his 4×4 more than 40 years ago because it “looked cool and was very rare at the time.” Lauren and his family certainly stood out as they drove the Jeep along the beach with their family in tow where no other vehicles could navigate. His children remember being pulled along the back of the Jeep through snowy streets on their sleds. When it came time to do some maintenance on the Jeep, Lauren emphasized to the restoration team that he didn’t want it to look brand new. Rather, the restorers used matte paint and specific replacement parts to maintain the vehicle’s unique character.
Jeepers in Love
The Jeep brand has also been central to some very high profile love stories. When country singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill first began to date while on tour, they borrowed a 1978 red Jeep CJ-6 Rubicon to discuss their plans for marriage. The Jeep was so special to the married couple that Hill became bent on finding the original vehicle and gave it to her husband as a birthday gift years later. McGraw calls it his favorite gift. Today they are still connected to the Jeep brand. On a professional level, Jeep has been a sponsor of the couple’s national tours and one was auctioned off to support the couple’s foundation. At the same time, the family owns several Jeep models that they use to get around their Nashville farm. And the couple continues to drive the original red Jeep every year to mark their wedding anniversary.
In another instance, a Jeep became the perfect gift for a special birthday. When reality TV star Khloe Kardashian turned 30 recently, her boyfriend at the time, rapper French Montana, surprised her with a white Jeep Wrangler Sahara valued at more than $49,000. Since then, her younger sisters, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, have been seen riding around their Calabasas neighborhood in the Jeep.
Made for Serious Muscle
Boxers are known for rebounding during a fight and getting back up if they’re thrown a hard punch. In the case of professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., he chose to add a new Jeep vehicle to his collection after surviving a deadly fire that destroyed four of his exotic cars. Mayweather hired The Auto Firm in Miami to customize his new Jeep Wrangler with fender flares, large black wheels, and alligator skin upholstery as well as incorporating the red, yellow, and black shades from his TMT boxing promotion business.
Celebrity-owned Jeeps are also highly prized at auction. A few years ago, a 1984 Jeep Grand Cherokee owned by former California governor, movie star, and body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger was offered by a New York vintage auto dealer for the hefty price tag of $85,000. Custom designed for the true Schwarzenegger fan, the black Jeep features dark tinted windows, a custom console, creamy leather and reptile hides, and a steering wheel embossed with the California state seal. Each of its three floor mats is emblazoned with famous Schwarzenegger movie or political quotes. Under the hood, the famous Jeep is equipped with a 6.6-litre Duramax V8 engine but the modification team at H-Line Conversions converted the Jeep to biodiesel fuel along with a switch to a DuraMax diesel.
No matter who you are, however, the Jeep brand offers a model and price point that will attract any buyer. And, perhaps, you can add your special story that will be entwined with the iconic 4×4 vehicle like these celebrity owners.