I Sold My $500 Postal Jeep But I'm Still Driving It And That's Just Unhealthy

The best thing to do when you sell a vehicle is to never see it again. I know, because I just sold my $500 Postal Jeep and yet I’m still seeing it daily and even cruising in it. And it’s driving me crazy.

I somehow managed to get 2,000 actual U.S. dollars in exchange for my $500 Postal Jeep, lovingly called Project POStal—a vehicle that started off life with a two-foot hole in its frame, a cracked engine, and literally no front suspension bushings. It was a deathtrap brought to life by sheer ambition, prayer, and hard work. And when given a second chance on life, it thrived, driving 1,800 miles to Moab, Utah, off-roading like a champ, and then cruising all the way back to the Motor City with only a single significant mechanical failure.

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The Postal Jeep was my Everest. It was a vehicle that dozens of people told me I couldn’t fix given my resources, but as the doubters grew, so did my desire to limp this old mail carrier across the country. Family, local friends, and even some readers helped me stitch up the rotted-out frame, mend the worn-out steering box, source a new cylinder head, get the electricals working, and install an all-new floor and frame mounts. But by and large, I did the work myself. I was going to get that cubic basketcase to Utah, I just had to.

By the time my brothers and I had rolled into Moab on the final night of the Easter Jeep Safari, and by the time I’d gone off road the following day, I’d fallen in love with that Postal Jeep. Was it hideous? Technically, sure. Was it missing wipers? Yes. Did its heat work worth a damn? Definitely not. But I brought that Jeep life, and it reciprocated. You can hear it in my voice:

It’s clear that this Postal Jeep and I had—or have—something special, which is why I’m having such a hard time with my current situation. I did indeed sell the Postal Jeep for $2,000, which is a miracle any way you slice it, even if you consider the fact that the project actually cost me $3,000 in total after including extensive repairs. That’s because my repairs didn’t mend any aesthetic issues, so the vehicle still looks like absolute hell, and features dents from when a Hummer H2 rammed me.

So while I’m thrilled about the cash, the problem is that the Postal Jeep is still with me. Not just in my heart; literally still with me.

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Allow me to explain. Bob, the guy who wanted to buy my Willys CJ-2A (and the one standing on the left in the image above), flew with two of his buddies from Chicago into the tiny Troy, Michigan airport in his old, but incredibly soulful airplane. Each year, he told me, he and his friends fly into some city, buy a few shitboxes, and then drive hundreds of miles on an epic roadtrip of automotive questionability. Bob is a true car nut, and it showed as soon as we got into the Postal Jeep.

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Project POStal only has two seats, so a couple of us sat on the rear wheel wells as Bob piloted the inline-six powered cube-on-wheels, noting how slow it is and how much steering it takes just to keep the Jeep in a straight line, especially under braking. The Jeep is flawed, but the smile on Bob’s face and the joy in his speech made it clear that he was falling in love with the charming machine, just as I had on my nearly 4,000-mile road trip to and from Moab, Utah.

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After cruising up and down Detroit’s famed Woodward Avenue, the four of us drove to lunch, and then finished up some paperwork. Bob handed over twenty Benjamins, and I not only sold him the Jeep, but I also agreed to store it until Bob and his friends return in May to begin the road trip.

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So there in my backyard sits my beloved Postal Jeep. Err, I guess I shouldn’t say “my” anymore. It belongs to someone else.

I miss it, even though it’s right there, because I know our days together are numbered. When I drive it, I get especially emotional. That cabin, with its rusted-out dashboard, its floorboard hole exactly where my right heel wants to rest, and its driver’s side door that opens when accelerating from every stop sign, was where I spent some truly joyful days.

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Yes, driving a sold car that I love is driving me a bit crazy. But come May, when Bob drives into the sunset, I’ll know it was all for the better. Because those two G’s will act as defibrillators for my other projects that deserve their own chances at glory.

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio