Turns out there are only so many times you can walk past a mossy Jeep Cherokee XJ before curiosity gets the better of you. I blame the dog.

There’s a walk that Colin (the Lakeland Terrier) and I do now and again – maybe once every couple of months – that wanders past the front gates of a big house out in the sticks. The first time we passed these gates I noticed the outline of a very mossy-looking Cherokee hibernating (or maybe rotting away, I wasn’t sure at the time) under a massive eucalyptus tree down by the stables. On each subsequent walk I’d glance across to see if the Jeep was still there – yep! – and always ended up pondering how long it might’ve been sitting there, what sort of condition it was in and if it could ever be brought back to life. “Of course”, I said to Colin as we passed by on our last outing, “even if it’s pretty tidy it’ll be a diesel, just to spoil it all”, and to prove it I decided to jot down the registration number to check online later on.

“3960cc”.

“Petrol”.

Bugger.

The other details available through the gov.uk enquiry pages – low miles, an MOT failure on a couple of ball joints and some trivial advisories 5 years ago – and some Cherokee-related Googling fuelled the obsession further and so it was almost inevitable that the next evening I was back at the gates, hoping I wouldn’t be told to clear off when I started asking random questions about the old Jeep in the corner. Luckily, the gentleman owner was happy to chat and filled me in on the Jeep’s history as a towing vehicle for his daughter’s horse box and as transport round his smallholding (way after the MOT failure date) until a random starting problem caused him to park it up. He was open to offers and so, after inspecting it in detail and finding it in in solid condition (as well as doing some more Googling on common Cherokee starting issues), a deal was struck and suddenly I had to work out how to get it home!

Binding drum brakes, low-ish tyres and an uphill gravel drive made sure the Jeep’s recovery wasn’t an easy one, but the recovery truck – and the rest of us pushing, bouncing and rocking it free – prevailed. Nothing seemed to fall off as it jostled its way back home on the flatbed either – bonus!

So that’s how I ended up with a mossy-green Jeep on my driveway, but what now? Well, the Cherokee is a rather ambitious summer project – I want to bring this Jeep back to life and celebrate that fact by taking it on our big holiday later in the year. I’ll be charting my progress here on the blog – step by step, so a little different than usual – and right now I just have everything crossed that I haven’t bought a lemon. I’m sure it’ll be challenging, but that’s part of the fun and I have all the tools and help I’ll need – including a friend who I think might be even more excited about this project than I am 😀


-£350.00 (Jeep Cherokee XJ)
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-£350.00