they settled on finding their ultimate cool guy car. a old jeep grand wagoneer to fix up. jeff wanted wood grain paneling, bennett wanted it lifted and i wanted it not to cost a fortune. it did not take long for them to find one on craigslist. paneled and within the price range.. a lift kit was first on the purchase list.
the seller was the nicest guy! we learned the jeep was very sentimental, it was purchased new by his father when he was a young boy. he had plans to restore it with his son. but with a young family and a new house his project had to go.
over the next several months, my father son duo stripped the jeep to the bare bones. ordering owners manuals, researching, welding, repairing, replacing, sanding, painting... i am really not sure what all they did. i do know it warmed my heart watching the hours upon hours they worked side by side in the shop. the bonding made up for the loads of greasy clothes i washed (and trashed) during this time. it also made up for the known fact that this car was a gas guzzler!
the minute it was reassembled and running (not the same as completed, because it was never rally completed) bennett was itching to start driving his 'new' car. he loved this car! no matter how many times it left him stranded on the roadside, hood up, calling his daddy, he loved it. yes, it could be described as on the unreliable side. i remember dinnertime discussions of fuel pumps, starters and gas gages. i remember jeff making sure a tool box remained in the backseat. but with every breakdown, my guys figured it out and fixed the problem together. i believe most of the lessons came not from the restoration, but from repairing a problem.
so here we are a few weeks from bennett leaving for college, a quirky old car, a mother that is a worrier, the master mechanic will be hours away... oh and it gets 8MPG! the gas mileage was the deal breaker! it took some time to sink in... it was inevitable; they had to sell their project.
after weeks of knowing what had to be done, bennett finally listed it on craigslist last sunday night.
the next part sounds almost too good to be true! 5 hours after placing the ad, bennett had an offer for the asking price. the offer came from the same man they purchased it from. his father had just passed away and a jeep wagoneer had been on his mind. the first time he looked for wagoneers on craigslist was the very same night bennett listed the car.
24 hours later and the original owner's son and grandson drove it out of our driveway. what a happy ending! with a few embellishments, this could be a hallmark movie. who knew a 1989 jeep wagoneer could hold so many father son memories.