Two years ago I took a hopeless, rotted-out $500 Postal Jeep on an impossible 3,500-mile road trip from Michigan to the off-road trails of Utah and back. My brother filmed the whole thing, and though Jalopnik lost the footage for many months, it is now found. So tune in for the next seven weeks to watch me wrench until I drop, take on terrifying Rocky Mountain passes, break down on treacherous and remote off-road trails, get a bit loopy in the desert heat, experience hilarious run-ins with the law and interview fascinating car enthusiasts in rural America.
It’s been nearly two years since Project POStal captured America’s imagination, presumably because humans seem to derive sick joy from watching trainwrecks. Here was a former mail-service Jeep that had been figuratively driven into the ground, and a naïve idiot wanting to not only get it back on the road, but drive it a long distance and go off-road.
The Jeep’s frame had a two-foot rust hole, the engine was cracked, the electrical system was toast, the body was barely connected to the frame, the wear in the steering meant it offered the precision of a rudder, and frankly, the whole whole white-and-brown cube should have just gone straight to the junkyard. Seriously, just look at the intro video from October 2018:
The Jeep certainly would have headed to a junkyard if it hadn’t made its way into my hands. Excited by the challenge, I spent months with friends toiling on the Jeep. I welded up the frame with a $100 Harbor Freight welder, replaced the cylinder head with one sourced from a legendary Jeep engineer (who has, sadly, since passed away), completely rebuilt the brakes, re-created an electrical system and just generally wasted far too much of my youth breaking rusty bolts and getting Fe2O3 flakes into my eyes.
All of that work culminated in a trip across the country with my two brothers Ben and Mike, who joined me in a rented Hyundai Accent. The two of them filmed the whole journey, including encounters with one of the most incredible car collector in all of the land, Ed, who lives in the middle of nowhere, Colorado. In small-town Kansas, I met a man named Austin, who showed me around his demolition derby collection and his daily-driven Ford pickup with 50-inch tires. All of this golden footage had been lost for many months, but now it is found.
So join me for the ride as I discover car culture while traveling 3,500 miles on back roads through rural America, and as I struggle with a postal Jeep for absolutely no reason other than adventure.
Episode One of seven premiers on April 1 at noon both here on Jalopnik and on YouTube, where I’ll be doing a live Q & A. Subsequent episodes will be released here on Jalopnik every Thursday at midday.