I recently bought a second-gen Jeep Cherokee (not that anyone really calls it that; it’s the XJ!), something I’ve wanted since I was in middle school. That’s my new-to-me machine below, and as you can see, it’s a fine example of “the SUV that changed the world.” I haven’t driven it much, as I’ve been awaiting a new crankshaft position sensor from Mopar. Despite that setback, because I am an insane person, I immediately ordered vanity plates. I couldn’t help myself. My personalized plates finally arrived last Monday, and boy was I thrilled. The Internet? Not so much. Here’s a look at my $5000 Jeep and also at a little fun that I had with my new plates.
[Note: Welcome back Rob Spiteri, our 20 year-old occasional weekend writer, who took a bit of a break due to a health scare. He’s all better now! Or maybe not; you may read this post and decide he’s far from well. -DT]
I’ve been designated the license-plate wizard here at The Autopian (I gave myself the title) due to my obsession with plates, or “tags” as you Southerners call them. My coworker, everyone’s favorite salvage-yard scavenger Stephen Walter Gossin, nicknamed me “Plates” and hasn’t called me anything else since, which is awesome.
Anyway, ready for the big reveal? Here it is:
I just know you’re scratching your head right now, “Wait a second…” Perhaps you’re thinking, “But David has a YJ Wrangler, and Rob you just said you have an XJ–did you switch cars?” No, but I like that idea.
[Editor’s Note: I’ve consulted with the Jeep oracle, and can now officially designate these tags as 100% blasphemy. -DT].
Why does my plate say “YJ” and not “XJ,” like the model it is? Perhaps it was a DMV clerical error. I mean, X and Y are only four inches away from each other on a QWERTY keyboard, right? Alas, no. Did I transfer this plate from a YJ to my new-to-me XJ? Incorrect. “Ah ha!” you say aloud, startling your cat. “Perhaps the Y and J are not even Jeep-related, but are the initials of a beloved someone–maybe an uncle Yves Jolicoeur, of whom you have fond memories from childhood visits to Quebec!” Also a no, but Uncle Yves sounds wonderful. I chose this plate. That’s right, I spent my hard-earned moola on expensive, wrong vanity plates simply to entertain the Jeep community. And not even one day after having my YJ plates did I receive, uh, spirited reactions.
[Editor’s Note: That’s my YJ above. If I were a huge YJ nut (and I’m not not one, but it’s not my true love like the XJ and ZJ) then maybe I’d be a little disappointed that I couldn’t get a YJ plate just so Rob can troll, but it’s all fair. -DT].
The XJ Community Reacts
My first devious plan in assessing the reactions of the interweb’s 4×4 aficionados was to enter the wonderful world of Jeep Facebook Groups. The Jeep groups of Zuckerland are full of people posting their 7-bar-grille’d shitboxes for triple what they’re worth because a pristine example of the same model sold for ridiculous dollars on Bring a Trailer. “Find another!” they say. My man, I can find ten.
As soon as I had the plates mounted, I sent a picture of them to my friend Julian, a fellow Jeep nut and admin of the “XJ Preservation Society” Cherokee Facebook group. I’m sure I made him laugh, but when I shared my new plates in the group, the other admins of the group had other opinions.
I attempted to post this:
The post was declined almost instantly. Soon after, Julian sent me a screenshot of the admin’s reactions:
My apologies admins of XJ Preservation Society, I was merely joking–not trolling at all, let alone big-time trolling. Sorry, XJ people. [Ed note: You were 100% trolling. Why are we even publishing this post? – MH]
Meanwhile, In The YJ Community…
Posting in the XJ group was a failure, so naturally I took the action to the YJ group–which is public, to my advantage.
I copy-pasted the same post into the YJ group and received quite a mixed bag of reactions from the members, not only in terms of positive versus negative, but intensity. Keith here was really unhappy with me. I mean, for real:
Connie used her considerable observational skills to point out that my “YJ” was not, in fact, a YJ:
Man, I bet Connie can absolutely crush a Where’s Waldo book.
Derek gave me a fantastic tip on how to remedy the plate’s offending “Y.”
I’m sure the Sharpie correction would be totally convincing, and I definitely wouldn’t get booked for felony license plate obstruction.
Allena–who I’m sure is just a delightful pleasure in real life–was absolutely not having my shenanigans:
I’m always working on myself, but come on, Allena–harsh.
The action wasn’t all negative, of course. Many got a kick out of my plates, as the sea of “Haha” Facebook reactions and many of laughing-crying-face Emoji comments prove:
I’m keeping the yj plates. These plates are staying on as long as my Jeep is running, which might be a long, long, long time. No disrespect fellow Jeep owners, they’re just for “if you know, you know” laughs and I hope those who do know will get a kick out of them–though I’m sure wherever I meet other 4X4 fans, a few will enjoy informing me that I’m akshully driving an XJ. Fine by me! If these plates help me meet more Jeep drivers and car people, that’s a win!