Photo: Jeep via Favcars

A very nice 1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ was in my sights a few months ago. It was exactly what I wanted, and yet I let it slip away. Now I lose sleep thinking about it.

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A few months ago, I flew into Richmond to visit my brother. While there, I surfed the crap out of the local Craigslist, spotting what a seller described as a “mint” 1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ with a 4.0-liter inline-six, 5-speed AX-15 manual transmission, and sexy green paint job.

I called the guy up immediately, and he told me to go ahead and drop by his house to have a look. Here’s what I found:

At a price of $4,500, the YJ was a good deal. And in the Michigan area, this almost completely rust-free one would have been considered a steal. The problem was, the seller described the car as “mint,” and there was nothing “mint” about that big rust bubble at the rear of the tub.

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Naturally, because I went out of my way to look at a car that was in significantly worse shape than described (but still gorgeous in my eyes), I tried talking the seller down. I first hit him with a $3,500 offer, which I knew was a lowball, but a fair starting point to get the conversation started.

He didn’t budge. Not a penny. I offered $4,000. Nada. So I walked away— not because the Jeep was a bad deal at $4,500, but because I always expect to knock a few hundos off a Craigslist asking price, especially if the car looks worse than described. It was the principle of the matter.

But I’ve been regretting not having bought that YJ since I walked away that fateful spring afternoon, tossing and turning in my sleep, dreaming of the sight of that creased grille, the touch of the three-spoke steering wheel, and the rumble of that four-liter. I blew it.

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But I’m sure some of you have also blown it, so tell us your story about the one that got away. Why did you let it go?