Jeep owners are certainly known for being a bit eccentric, but you won’t find us complaining. This often results in some absolutely classic and unbelievable stories, and these tales have been around since the brand’s debut 75 years ago. Whether these Jeep enthusiasts are breaking world records, testing their vehicle’s capabilities, or exploring forgotten fields of the brand’s vehicles (you’ll understand what we’re talking about later), these stories are too good not to pass along.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite tales, which you can find below. Who knows, maybe the enthusiasm from the participants of these stories will convince you to pursue a Jeep lease…
A Record-Breaking Climb
In 1937, Jan Alfred Szczepanski and Justyn Wojsznis became the first two people to reach the top of Ojos del Salado, a stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains.
In 2007, a pair of Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds succeeded in climbing the 6,646-meter volcano. Many vehicles had previously attempted this expedition, but none had the capabilities to climb the steep and rugged terrain. That was until the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicons climbed the second-highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, completing the journey in five days.
“This was exactly the challenge to separate the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited from all other 4×4 vehicles. A climb like this in not just off-road, but extreme conditions, is a testament to the performance of the vehicle’s powertrain, suspension and overall quality. We are very proud that Wrangler Unlimited was the first vehicle to be able to complete such a rigorous challenge, and believe that it really does set the vehicle apart from its competition,” said George Murphy, Chrysler Group Senior Vice President of Global Marketing (via TruckTrend.com).
This trip has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.
An Underwater Field of Jeeps
This sounds one of the automotive wonder’s of the world, as any Jeep enthusiast would presumably enjoy this scuba trip.
That’s right, we said scuba trip. You won’t be able to see this shrine from the surface, so you’re going to have to travel underwater if you want a good look at these aging vehicles. Named Million Dollar Point, this dumping ground for former war vehicles sits off the coast of Espírito Santo, a South Western Pacific island included in the Vanuatu archipelago.
Dive underwater and you’ll find an assortment of vehicles, including Jeeps, bulldozers, forklifts… even cases of Coca-Cola. There’s no denying how harmful this can be for the environment, but it’s still quite the sight.
How did all of these Jeeps get underwater in the first place? At the end of World War II, American military personnel positioned on the island had to find a way to get rid of all the excess vehicles. Well, when you’re in a bit of a rush, where else to hide that giant cargo than under the water? Take writer Thurston Clarke’s account (via Cabinet Magazine):
The Seabees built a ramp running into the sea and every day Americans drove trucks, jeeps, ambulances, bulldozers, and tractors into the channel, locking the wheels and jumping free at the last second. Engine blocks cracked and hissed. Some Seabees wept. Ni-Vanuatu witnessing the destruction of wealth their island would never see again, at least in their lifetimes, thought the Americans had gone mad.
Actual Field of Jeeps
While those previously-mentioned Jeeps were discarded underwater, some were just left to rot. Nobody enjoys seeing these forgotten, worn-down vehicles, especially when it’s a Jeep, but similar to the previous example, it’s still quite a sight.
Thousands and thousands of Jeeps were abandoned on the Japanese island of Okinawa following World War II. Considering how much it would presumably cost to transport all of these vehicles back to the United States, it was initially decided that the vehicles would be left behind. These vehicles have sat there for years, providing an excellent stomping ground for those seeking Jeep parts.
A similar thing happens in Pusan, Korea following the Korean war. Jeeps were literally stacked on top of each other, and you could find a field full of the accompanying tires.
Interesting Display for a Willys MB
If you came across a Willys MB Jeep from World War II, what would you do with it? You’d presumably keep the vehicle, so you’d have to find a clever place to display your new ride.
You could opt for the strategy taken by a Canadian car dealership. The owners had previously purchased the partially restored war vehicle, but they wanted to do something unique with the 72-year-old Jeep. That’s when the pair decided to install the Jeep into the floor of their dealership, providing customers will something amusing to gawk at.
“We have people coming in who have no interest in buying a vehicle just to see it,” Kevin Sawka, the dealership’s marketing manager, told Larry P. Vellequette of AutoNews.com.
“Everyone that comes to the dealership is a little timid to walk over it. It’s such a conversation piece.”
The World’s Longest Jeep Parade
Organizers of the first Bantam Jeep Festival wanted to do something memorable, so why not set a Guinness World Record? More than 1,000 Jeeps (1,106 to be exact) traveled the three-mile parade route, seeing a record in the process.
It was guessed that owners from at least six states visited the parade, and the Butler Pennsylvania mayor estimated that 35,000 fans visited the city during that 2011 weekend.
While the world record was certainly notable, there were plenty of other events to keep the masses entertained. This included the Canadian jiffy Jeep Tear Down, where a group of Canadian enthusiasts drove their Jeep in front of a crowd, ran out, took the car apart, reassembled the vehicle, and then drove off.
“It was amazing,” one fan told Patch.com, “I couldn’t believe it when they drove it away. It was all in about five minutes.”
Sounds like the Bantam Jeep Festival is worth the trip to Pennsylvania.
A group of French adventurers wanted to travel from Paris to New York via three continents and a giant ocean. Oh, and best of all, a trio of Jeep Wranglers were going to accompany them. The plan was to travel the entire 27,000 mile trip in these fully-equipped Jeeps, which would allow them to travel through any terrain.
The itinerary? According to Jeep4Ever.ca, it included a 3,100-mile ride through the “roadless Siberian winter wilderness,” a 50-mile trip through an actual ocean, and a 1,500-mile trip along the frozen Alaskan coastline.
Did they succeed? Almost. After two and a half years on the road, the group finally decided to call it quits. The drivers, including Matthias Jeschke, were especially impressed with their Goodyear MT/R tires.
“Without those tires, we would never have reached the stopover,” Jeschke told Jaime Hernandez of Off-Road.com. “Therefore, it was necessary to drive a distance of more than 1,300 miles with a total weight of vehicle and trailer of app. 17,600 lbs on air pressure between 0.1 and 0.5 bar. Only the MT/R can manage this.”
There’s just something about Jeeps that brings out creativity and an adventurous attitude. Whether these enthusiasts are attempting to travel giant volcanos or travel through dangerous oceans, they’re all willing to prove the capability of their favorite vehicle. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to join these Jeep owners.