Home » Forgive Me Jeep Gods, For I Have Sinned: I Just Drove A Ford To The Easter Jeep Safari In Moab

Forgive Me Jeep Gods, For I Have Sinned: I Just Drove A Ford To The Easter Jeep Safari In Moab

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How could I, a man who has resuscitated four basketcase Jeeps and driven them on epic trips from Detroit to Moab and back — a man so obsessed with Jeep that he studied engineering just to help design the new Wrangler — desecrate the holy land with a Ford Bronco Raptor? How can I go on to look at myself in the mirror? It isn’t just that I brought a Ford, it’s that I brought a brand new Ford, further fueling suspicions that I have, indeed, “gone Hollywood.” How do I explain myself? HOW?!

I’m here driving Jeep concept vehicles today at the 57th annual Easter Jeep Safari.

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I drove Magneto, the Wrangler with an electric motor bolted to a manual transmission (it was interesting; more on it later):

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And I drove 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe Concept — the first wide-track “SJ” Jeep Cherokee that I’ve driven in years given that mine has been dead forever:

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But despite me wearing a Jeep denim longsleeve over top of a Jeep T-shirt whilst driving two glorious concept Jeeps, I can’t kid myself. I have brought a plague to the seven-slotted holy land. You can see it in the background above. It’s this beast on the left:

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The guilt of my betrayal has kept me up all night. Actually, what really kept me up all night was the fact that the 10.5 hour drive from LA to Moab actually took 17 due to my recent struggles with fatigue. Things are different when you run a website vs. when you just write for one; the days of 11 hour-straight roadtrips are behind me; I’m just not well-rested enough.


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Anyway, as many of you know, I’ve completed my move from Detroit to LA, but I’m still not unpacked, and my brain is still racing at 1000 mph wondering what the hell is going on. It’s all a bit much. The result of this move is that I haven’t wrenched on a car in months, so my five-speed manual $350 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ (shown above) remains in shambles.

Though I could have taken my Jeep J10 to the Easter Jeep Safari, the reality is that it’s too long to be great off-road, and I wanted to join my friend Brandon — who works for Jeep — on the trails for some good “wheelin’.” Plus, I knew my friend Fred would be out there, as would my friend Jay (an Autopian reader) and others. So, instead of asking Jeep for a Wrangler, which is a bit predictable, I figured I’d switch it up and ask Ford if I could borrow its big, baddest off-road SUV, the Ford Bronco Raptor, for my drive from LA to Moab and back. The Blue Oval was kind enough to hand me some keys.

Maneuvering the Bronco Raptor around a city is a bit tricky, mostly due to the vehicle’s width:

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Fueling up was a bit painful. Just look at these gas prices!:

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17 MPG isn’t bad, though. My  biggest issue was fatigue. The Bronco Raptor’s rather rough ride quality (to be fair, its tires were about 5 PSI overinflated base on what I saw on the screen) didn’t help things, neither did the constant wind noise, the boring (but effective) automatic transmission, and the general slop in the tall suspension that required me to keep my eye on the road at all times.

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But I love the Bronco Raptor. It’s an incredible blend of disparate off-road skills like rock crawling and high-speed desert bashing; you point the 37-inch tires where you want to go, and then you let the machine crawl. It’s a cheat-code.


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But how will the Bronco compare to solid front axle-equipped Jeeps that feature more overall articulation? We may find out in the coming days as I off-road the everliving crap out of this Bronco, along with my friends in their Jeeps. Will the Bronco be able to keep up on the rocks? We may find out soon.

But first, I have to recite 995 Hail Marys to the Jeep lords.

(It is worth noting that many of the first mass-produced Jeeps were indeed built by Ford. WWII Jeeps were a Bantam design, but manufactured by Ford and Willys. The famous stamped grille that came to define Jeep even to this day? That was a Ford idea). Hopefully that convinces the Jeep gods not to send me to the dark, cold junkyard down below.

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1 year ago

If you brought anything NEW to Moab, even a Jeep, it would have qualified as sacrilege.

Matthew Skwarczek
Matthew Skwarczek
1 year ago

I can imagine the confession scene now.
*The interior of a tent during the sunset golden hour, overlooking Moab’s crags.*
David, entering the tent: “Chief of Engineering?”
Said Chief, kneeling by a seven-slot grille: “Yes, my son?”
David: “I have gravely sinned…I brought a Ford to the Jeep Easter Safari.”

1 year ago

Really not a big deal to bring a Bronco. People frequently show up in Toyotas, Suzukis, etc. Take it on a trail like Moab Rim. That trail can be scary in a flexy Jeep, I’d imagine IFS only makes it scarier.

1 year ago

David, do you say those Hail Mary’s on a timing chain?

1 year ago

David, I read that as “Bought” this one, I was concerned for a moment until I saw the M plate!

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