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In Praise of Older Women

Coen van Wyk

Posted on May 25, 2018 13:28

3 users

Not many look back to twenty years of relationship and, with a flash of excitement, say, “That was the right choice.”

It was a glorious early winter day today. The chill of 7°C (45°F) night lingered but brilliant sunshine promised a high of 23°C (73°F). Champagne days, someone called it. I ran a few errands in my red Jeep. She needed a run, and the carburetor needs a little tweaking, but she chortled happily at the slow climb and the twisty roads. It was such fun, and my smile wouldn’t wear off.
This little vehicle has a history. It was in the early 1950’s, I believe, when a journalist on things automobile commented on his own Willis CJ3B: “At last America has a vehicle you can drive from New York to Panama – in a straight line.”
Mine comes out of Idi Amin’s Army, and there’s a mystery. In early 1972, sanctions stopped any sale of military equipment to Uganda. In September of that year a consignment of Jeeps, built from Willis Jeep parts by Ebro of Spain, were registered in Uganda, showing, as country of origin, England. Makes you wonder.

Few vehicles can match the cross-axle capability

I bought her in 1998 out of a farm shed, laboriously rebuilt her, and have been driving her happily ever since. Now, going to Panama is going to take a while, Fast and Jeep doesn’t go well in the same sentence. I get 45 km/hr. (30 mph) on the flat. But, hey, if you are in a Jeep you are already where you want to be.
In the twenty years we have had some marvelous offroad trips. The Jeep also acted as bridal vehicle at my environmentalist daughter’s wedding, and as toy to the grandkids.

Special wedding

I love the simplicity. There is no AC to break down, you are out there in the open air already. There is no sound system, the little F-head engine is as good as a symphony, and I can tend to its needs with a set of wrenches and two screwdrivers. No GPS, no autopilot, just the sheer fun of the rhythm of the road, controlling the crash gearbox, sensing the road through the direct steering.

Maintenance is child's play

And you are out there in the environment. Newspaper vendors talk to you. Passers-by ask about fuel consumption. A driver once cranked down a window and asked: “What do you do when it gets cold?” “Well, you put on a coat.” “And if it rains?” “A raincoat.” “And if it is cold and it rains?” “Well then I take my wife’s car.”

Family fun

Fuel economy is not great, but the carbon footprint of scrapping three cars in these years and buying new would wipe out any guilt feelings I could have for the inefficient low compression engine.
This is real driving, and the kids know it. My youngest granddaughter, when she arrives, demands: “Breep!” Good taste in vehicles, that one. 

Breep!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coen van Wyk

Posted on May 25, 2018 13:28

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