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The story so far...

The time is early 1996, and we're toying with changing the Merc sometime during the year. I'm also hankering after something open topped to play with during the fine weather. While looking at a 4x4 replacement for the Merc we head up to the Jeep dealer to look at Cherokees. The Jeep salesman at Reg Vardy's, Dean Foster, told us that the new Jeep Grand Cherokee was coming out soon, and might be more what we're after. Just before we left I saw a brochure for the Jeep Wrangler, and picked one up. When I looked at it later that evening it seemed the ideal answer. An open topped vehicle that was a little different, powerful, and could take the kids in the back. It seemed ideal! So, in April 1996 I placed an order for a Jeep Wrangler 4.0 Sport, with soundbar and softtop options, which I took delivery of in early May.

Me and my Wrangler (beside the ruined church at our
house in Scotland

The summer of 1996 was pretty good and I got lots of opportunities to get the roof down and drive about open top. It was brilliant driving back from Glasgow with the top down, about 90mph, singing to the cassette player. I even ventured onto the grass banks down at the beach near the Gables. I wasn't anywher near the limits of the Wrangler's capabilities, but it was good fun all the same. I wouldn't mind another one at some point, especially as there should be more sunshine here.

Meanwhile, the thoughts of changing the Merc were continuing, although I was trying to persuade Cath to go for a Jaguar. I'd always fancied one, and the new models just looked soooooo sexy. In the end the dealer (who did both Jaguar and Jeep) gave us the cars for a day each at the weekend. So, on the Friday night on the way back from Glasgow I picked up the Jaguar...

The Jaguar XJ6 is one smooth automobile. The doors are smooth; the engine is smoth; the gearchange is smooth; even the indicator repeaters are smooth. I really loved driving it, if only for a day. I gave a shot to my brother and father, and they both loved it. My brother complained that his one chance to drive a Jaguar and nobody that he knows saw him do it!

Later that day we swapped it for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, 4.0 liter. The kids loved this one, mainly because it had a compass in the roof console. After the Jaguar it felt rough as a badger's proverbial, but the size and safety were a big factor in Cath's mind. It certainly came well equipped, with electric everything, and then some...

We continued to think about it, but the Jeep was so much cheaper than the Jaguar that I really couldn't justify the cost, no matter how we looked at it (and the Jaguar salesman at Reg Vardy's tried all sorts of options), and anyway the thought of his and hers Jeeps was quite interesting. So in July 1996 we took delivery of our Grand Cherokee, N3 NSA.

Matching his and hers Jeeps

In the end I was more than happy with the Grand Cherokee. It was a real comfortable long range cruiser, and the air conditioning was brilliant. The seat warmers also came in handy too! It towed the caravan as if it wasn't there, and felt big and safe. Even the mileage wasn't too bad for a 4.0 liter engine, giving about 24mpg on a long run cruising at 75-80.

However, all things come to an end, and with our departure to the US both Jeeps went back to the leasing companies. I can see that they won't be our last associations with Jeep...