Here’s is how it all started for me.
Ever since my childhood I’ve been riding in Jeeps and dreaming about them. After reading volumes of illustrated War history books, I spent hours in my uncle’s CJ-3A imagining myself to be a World War II soldier. A few years later my father bought my eldest brother his first Jeep. It was a Willy’s M38. I still remember that day; it was our very first Jeep.
In the years that followed I went from pooling in my allowance money to pay for fuel in exchange for seeing the country side to sneaking away to the beach at odd hours of the night in that Jeep. My father doesn’t have the fondest memories of teaching me how to drive. To this day, he maintains that I’m the only person he knows who has turned a Jeep on two wheels! I grew up riding around in that Jeep, seeing many places and doing many things that I possibly could not have lived to tell if it was anything less than a Jeep.
That Jeep re-introduced us to our ex-neighbours, Hamid Omar and family, and through them we met the rest of the gang. When I was seventeen, I went on my first trip with the lot that was to be known as the ‘Karachi Off-roaders 4×4 Club’ to Karchat Center in the Kirthar Mountains. It was heartening to know that there were other people out there who were as ‘out there’ as myself, if not more. Thanks to this unique group of people I have some very memorable experiences and I have seen and experienced more places than I could possibly have done without them. It would be unjust to try and summarize these last 8 years into a paragraph so I shall leave them for many articles to come.
On one of our trips across Pakistan I saw a beautiful copper colored CJ-7 (1982 Jeep Jamboree 30th Anniversary Commemorative Edition) in Islamabad. I had drooled at the sight of it and sighed upon hearing the roar of the 4.2 liter in-line six cylinder petrol engine. I had never imagined that I would own it a few years down the line! Four years later, last June I was hunting for a set of wheels when I came across it again, this time in Karachi. It had changed hands and the original engine had been swapped out for a diesel engine. I had the option of buying an already built-up CJ-7, but the novelty value of something like this was worth the time and money to be invested. I acquired it thanks to my grandfather and father, without whose generosity it would not have been possible.
I could have bought a brand new car with the money I paid for my Jeep and its further (constant) modification. It would have been trouble free too, unlike my Jeep which spent a month or perhaps more with the mechanic. It’s still fond of reacquainting itself with the mechanic every now and then. I often spend my Saturday afternoon wrenching on it. The thing is though, I don’t regret it one bit and in fact I rather enjoy it.
I like all other proud Jeepers love to think about new and exciting additions and modifications to my Jeep. I would like to believe that building a Jeep to one’s own specs is more fulfilling than buying one that needs no tinkering, as the saying goes “It’s the journey and not just the destination that makes a trip memorable.”