We asked; you delivered. Below, some of our car-enthusiast readers’ personal rides, with the stories to go along with. There are plenty more to share, but this time we’re concentrating on SUVs and Overlanders… and the off-grid life has never beckoned harder. If you’d like the chance to share your own car or motorcycle, submit all the info about your ride here. It’s exciting for us to see the project, daily driver and/or pride and joy in your stable, so thanks for sharing. Keep ’em coming.
1992 GMC Typhoon
Neal M, Thousand Oaks, CA
Why do you love your car? The GMC Typhoon was only produced for two years [and fewer] than 5,000 total trucks were made. It came stock with all-wheel drive, and a turbocharged 4.3-liter V6 putting out 285 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 5.2 seconds and the quarter mile in 14.1 seconds. Which beat the Ferrari 348 of the same year. I love these trucks because they’re the ultimate sleeper and will still blow the doors off most of today’s cars. They’re super rare, and of course, Clint Eastwood STILL drives one.
The best story about your car? My best story came shortly after I got my Typhoon. I was driving in Burbank, CA, when I noticed a GMC Syclone (the pickup truck version of the Typhoon made in 1991) up ahead. I sped up and pulled alongside of the Syclone and none other than Jay Leno himself was driving it. He looked over and gave me a thumbs up! Years later I ran into Jay at The Rock Store in Malibu, CA, and told him about our encounter years before; he got a good laugh from it, and said he still owns his Syclone.
Has the car been a good deal? I bought my Typhoon in 2006, with a little over 14,000 miles on it for $16,000. For the time it was a great deal. A low mileage truck in excellent condition would run you around $30k. However, you can still score a great deal on a truck in good condition with under 100k miles for around $17-18k. It’s some of the cheapest dollar-to-performance you can get!
Any advice for future owners? If you don’t know anything about cars, you will after owning one of these. They can be temperamental, and you do need to stay on top of maintenance… but if properly tuned, they’re a blast to drive! Be careful though, the speed bug can bite you and before you know it you’ll be upgrading the turbo, for more horsepower.
1985 Land Rover Santana 90
Sam B., Philadelphia/PA
Why do you love your car? Firstly, I found my truck on Bring a Trailer, after Gear Patrol turned me on to them. I bought it from the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco because Defenders are out of my price range. I love it because it is truly unique. The vents are cut into the body instead of having plastic inserts. There is no tachometer. The engine is unique with no owners manual (make sure to travel with tools). I 3D printed a custom part to hold a Bluetooth stereo instead of an ashtray.
The best story about your car? I drove it down the shore this summer. I lived in a house full of friends. Everywhere we went, my friends asked to take the “fun” car. It turned a lot of heads, sparked a lot of conversations, and brought enjoyment to all passengers. I also became more popular on the island once people learned who the cool, old safari truck belonged to.
Has the car been a good deal? $10,000. I’m going to keep this truck for a long time. I can resell for at least double in the right market. I think it was a great deal.
Any advice for future owners? Most old Defenders have a lot of rust. Since my car spent its life in the Canary Islands on an estate, it’s rust free and low mileage (kilometerage?).
1995 Jeep Cherokee
Dennis M., Raleigh NC
Why do you love your car? It’s a classic now! With steel front and rear bumpers and four-wheel drive it feels like I’m in a tank by today’s auto standards.
The best story about your car? I bought my Jeep on Craigslist! It was in excellent condition. Most people like it.
Has the car been a good deal? $3,100 dollars. It was a great deal.
Any advice for future owners? JEEP stands for Just Empty Every Pocket.
1974 Ford Bronco
Asa M., Young Harris, GA
Why do you love your car? This is a restoration that my father and I did over quite a few years and it’s really turned into a great driver. We kept it pretty stock with only a few inches of lift and didn’t cut the fenders but it’s still got a pretty mean stance.
The best story about your car? We found the truck in the backyard of the local garbage man. It was completely original but had been sitting out for most of its life, so I spent an entire summer simply removing rust.
Has the car been a good deal? I think we paid about $2,500, which I think is a pretty solid deal.
Any advice for future owners? Prepare for loads of rust repair.
1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara
Tyler R., San Diego, CA
Why do you love your car? This is the car I grew up in. Bought right before college. Moved to the beach. Packed it with surfboards and friends. Took my wife fishing on our first date. Brought home my first dog in it. Drove it through law school. Moved from NC to CA. 11 years later and it’s still my daily driver.
The best story about your car? There were a lot of fun beach camping trips, but by far the best drive in the car was a camping/surfing trip along the outer banks of North Carolina. We started in Ocracoke and worked our way up to Hatteras. Beach, ferry disappearing roads (thanks hurricane season) – this thing handled it all. We spent a week living out of the Jeep, surfing early in the morning until late afternoon, finding a good campground, making a fire, grabbing our guitars and enjoying a few beers.
Has the car been a good deal? Got it used for about $7,000 in 2007. It was in incredible shape.
Any advice for future owners? None – this thing is built to be abused! Plus, there is almost nothing on it you can’t fix yourself. And if you can’t do it, there is a nationwide community of Jeep owners willing to lend a hand either online or in person.
1973 Land Rover Military Lightweight Series 3
Gary P., Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Why do you love your car? It is unique — just different. Old school.
The best story about your car? It was [found] at a house in an open garage. Have done a few trips with it — other people love it lots and offer to buy it.
Any advice for future owners? No, it’s a Land Rover.
1965 Jeep CJ5a Tuxedo Park Mark IV
Chris H., Rochester, NY
Why do you love your car? It is the first ever [special-edition trim package offered on a] Jeep which consisted of chrome bumpers, chrome windshield hinges, a chrome mirror and a name badge: Tuxedo Park Mark IV. Apparently, [in the late 1800s] Tuxedo Park was a ritzy neighborhood north of NYC. I’m the second owner; first guy died as a happy old man and his son-in-law sold it to me to make more room for his tractor collection. Came with original key and a receipt from the dealership, [located] down the street from the guy. It was used as a farm utility vehicle.
The best story about your car? Found on eBay. Funny ad: “vintage Jeep, this ain’t junk, call me” – but there was no number. It took me several emails to explain to the guy I wanted to speak with him. He was two hours away so I went to look with a trailer and a pocket of cash. As per the VIN, I knew that there were only about 1900 of these made so I had to check it out.
Has it been a good deal? Paid $5K. A great deal, I could sell it for $12K today.
Any advice for future owners? You’ll have to learn what the Jeep wave is all about.
1972 International Harvester 1210
Chris L. — Raleigh, NC
Why do you love your car? My “Mint Julep” reminds me of my childhood, riding in an IH truck and Travelall.
The best story about your car? I found her online and bought it sight unseen. You just gotta trust folks. Now more than ever.
Has it been a good deal? $5,000. To me, a great deal.
Any advice for future owners? Love it and cherish it. It is history.
1998 Toyota Land Cruiser
Ron B., Canton, OH
Why do you love your car? I love this car more than life itself! It does everything. Hauls gear and people in all conditions too.
The best story about your car? How many people fly over 1,000 miles to buy a 20-year-old car with a quarter of a million miles on it?
1970 Nissan Patrol LG60
Kirk D. — Austin, TX
Why do you love your car? The secret love child of an FJ40 and a Series IIa, the Patrol is rarest of all here in the USA. Seating for eight and just the right amount of patina means that everywhere I go, we get attention! A true resto-mod, it sports a Chevy 350 V8 and automatic transmission from the previous owner, LED headlights and is all new from the frame down to the ground, including disc brakes.
The best story about your car? I first saw the Patrol on a Sunday — [it was] sitting on a shady used car lot on the side of the highway. Before I could call on it the next day, I suffered a stroke and was dealing with life issues for a while. Two weeks later, it was gone from the lot. I tracked down the owner and convinced him I was its next rightful owner. Now, at least once a week when out and about, I will find a note or business card from someone trying to convince me they are next in line. Not yet… not yet.
Has it been a good deal? Incredibly used but at $7K, I feel it is a great bargain!
Any advice for future owners? Enjoy the journey of fixing up a car like this – make a list and be prepared for lots of contingency items to pop up along the way. Keep the top off and drive it all the time.
1971 Land Rover Santana Series IIA 109
Liam F. — Medfield, MA
Why do you love your car? It is so slow that it’s unusable unless driving around town. It seats 11 people while being a 4WD convertible getting 30 mpg. It’s good at everything but great at nothing.
The best story about your car? While driving off the beach I tried to shift the transfer case from 4 Low into 2 High, but it wouldn’t shift. I climbed under the car and found the linkage broken, so I took a hammer and banged it back into place, tossed a couple zip ties on it, and it did the trick for a good six months.
Has it been a good deal? $12,000 — in the long term it needed a lot of work, but it has been an excellent first car.
Any advice for future owners? It’ll need a lot of work to get it into a mostly reliable state, but once all the work is done it works like a charm. Watch out for rust in the frame, bulkhead and the floors. Otherwise, they just run and run and run.
1976 International Scout II
Ben G. — New York, NY
Why do you love your car? My Scout is not a vehicle you see every day. A work hourse that has a rugged a sleek style. Not your avarage daily driver.
The best story about your car? Taking my four-year-old to her first movie at a drive-in-theater with the top removed and, hearing the V8 rumble into a parking spot, watching everybody’s heads turning. My daughter says to me “this is my ride.”
Has it been a good deal? I traded with a friend for it.
Any advice for future owners? Nope. Get one. And enjoy life!