When your friends don't just support your next crazy idea, they help make it happen!
The next day Smokey's former owner & I struck a deal by phone. I would pay them what the salvage yard had offered, $225.00. I was elated, saving this complete XJ from a grizzly demise of being an organ donor at the junk yard! Other than knowing Smokey appeared to be rust free & complete I had little idea what I had just bought. I was told lights come on but no signs of life. Was the engine kaput? Big electrical problems from the mouse rich wilderness? Either way this was my new record for cheapest vehicle by $1,000, I was optimistic. I recruited a truck, trailer, & friend to whisk this Jeep away before they changed their mind.
A few days later we navigate some steep winding curves to reach Smokey; better us than the junk yard wrecker. I arrive to find what I had hoped, zero rust, arrow straight, & dent free. Spectacular for a nearly 20 year old Jeep. Upon pushing I also found my new XJ included 2 free wasp nests, fully stocked! Luckily I was faster than they were. I learned Smokey was acquired 6 years earlier from presumably its first owner in a split deal, half cash, & 1 firearm, a rare valuable revolver. Smokey served as a family hauler, a grocery getter, & eventually a daily driver for their 2 daughters recently graduated from college. The collection of spare change, sand, & Christmas decoration glitter coating the interior supported this.
I still wasn't sure what was to come of this silver Cherokee but it was way too clean to flip, now just to get it home in one piece.