I have only had her about a month, and this is my first car. I always wanted a jeep and waited until I found a good deal, and I can honestly say it was well worth the money even though she's 15 years old. My boyfriend calls her "the tank" and makes fun of me for driving it, but he just doesn't get it! It's not the smoothest ride, it doesn't accelerate fast, and she has her quirks, but we'll see what he says when I'm pulling his brand new chevy cruze out of snowbanks all winter, offroading by myself all summer and mowing down zombies during the apocolypse. It runs like a top and so far, I am very pleased. I'm officially a Jeep Girl!
I picked up a stock 97 TJ SE (2.5L, 5-speed, No A/C) with 140k for $4k. I then spent $8k and two years of hobby time on full lockers, gears, suspension, winch, rack, bumpers, etc, etc.
It is highly reliable; starts fast and never hicups. The engine is easy to work on, and striping out the interior bits is also quite easy for upgrades and fixes.
A Reman motor will only cost you $1500 and a
weekend to swap it, or half that for a transmission, so long term cost to run it is dirt cheap, vs. the 6cyl w/auto at twice that price, or my 1/2 ton truck, which costs three times that to rebuild.
It's not plush or fast, but it crawls up anything, gets lots of admiration and ride requests! FUN!
Bought my 97 wrangler SE a couple weeks ago with 115k miles on it. it had a 4" lift and 33x 12.5 tires on it. over all it is a fun ride and even better when i drop the soft top. the only issue i have is a common one with jeeps. the infamous death wobble. every now and then i the jeep will go into a violent shake that is only stopped by slowing down. after plenty of research i have found that is a moderatly easy and cheap fix. about $375. kevinsoffroad has kits for this specific problem that are supposed to fix it completely. i will be installing mine tomorrow and im sure ill see an improvement. even with this problem i still can rely on it for a everyday driver.
I bought my Jeep Wrangler as a demo in 1998. I've put 188,000 miles on it and have been more then happy with it since day 1. It goes everywhere, from the tropics to winter blizzards. I've owned many high end vehicles and get more enjoyment out of this Jeep then any of the others!
I bought my '97 TJ Jeep (her name is Jessie) with 86,000 miles in 2004. My ex-wife used to say I loved my Jeep more than her. Well, apparently she was right...I still have the Jeep! It now has 162,000 miles on it and runs stronger than ever. The 4.0 may not be fast, but it will pull trees out of the ground and get you out of the stickiest situations. There are very few vehicles out there that generate such a since of pride, excitement, and comradery as a Jeep. Hands down the best vehicle I've ever owned. For those who have a Jeep (wrangler) it is customary to waive at other wrangler's you pass on the road. I know you're checking out my Jeep so don't forget to waive, you are family now.