Cars have their own fan clubs.
Yes, car enthusiasts tend to gravitate towards each other like magnets, congregating in communal areas to discuss their love for the best box on four wheels. Some car clubs even have tells or signals, like secret handshakes, they share as they pass each other on the road. Like a fraternity, these groups have chapters of sub-groups located in every city around the world.
This isn’t new. Car clubs have been a thing for generations. Much like we use our hairstyle or clothes to express our personality and preferences, many like to use their cars as an extension of themselves. We see this a lot in custom muscle cars, luxury vehicles, and limited edition collectables. For the everyday fan who uses their car to get around and bond with others, no group exudes car enthusiasm more than Jeep clubs.
An Icon of Patriotism
Nearly 100 years old, what we know as Jeep was born from the Willys-Overland company in the 1940s. The Willys-Overland brand was a pioneer in 4×4 technology, highly utilized by the military during World War II. “Born in the heat of battle, the Go Anywhere. Do Anything.® Jeep® Brand 4×4 emerged a hero to thousands of Allied soldiers around the world,” Jeep history reads.
Soon after, the Willys-Overland company evolved its four-wheel-drive icons to fit the needs of American families, particularly, the millions of farmers around the country who needed a “work-horse”.
“Forever tied to freedom, capability and adventure,” the company says. “Jeep vehicle owners have long known that Go Anywhere. Do Anything.® is a way of life—not just a campaign slogan.”
With such a heritage, it’s no wonder Jeep owners are so enthusiastic about their cars. Not only are they uniquely capable and customizable, but Jeeps are an icon of patriotism and freedom. But pride isn’t the only thing that makes Jeep so desirable. This brand is highly recognized for holding its value. While the average car loses up to 75 percent of its value within five years – ten percent the moment it leaves the lot – Jeep’s two-door Wrangler and four-door Wrangler Unlimited have some of the lowest five-year depreciation rates of any car.
“Jeep Wranglers are known for retaining their value for reasons including their ruggedness, durability, and iconic design,” an iSeeCars study reveals. “Because of Jeep’s loyal following, their demand outstrips supply in the used car marketplace leading to high resale values.”
It turns out, Jeeps have the lowest depreciation rates and the highest resale value. With a history of being the car that just won’t quit, Quora reviews tout the brand lasting 15 to 20 years and up to 500k miles for the prudent owner.
Customization is Key
Jeep club gatherings can be a treat for non-owners too. Like a car show, if you’re a lucky spectator who happened to be in the right place at the right time, you can walk rows of Wranglers and Cherokees (the two most popular Jeeps), to view the great potential of car customization. Owning a Jeep is the first level on the enthusiasm spectrum. Leveling-up depends on collector’s value or customization. One might say, you’re not a true Jeep enthusiast if you haven’t personalized your car.
The most common augmentations include lift kits, suspension, tires, winches, lights, and protective gear. Since the Jeep is most known for its off-road capabilities, upgrades demonstrate to your fellow club-members, just how adventurous you really are. Some owners go as far as converting their basic off-road 4×4 into what enthusiasts call a “Rock Crawler.”
Performance accessories aren’t the only thing Jeep clubers are know for. Much like monster trucks, many owners transform their Jeeps into a character or a piece of art. You’ll find crazy wraps, colors, or grills on once-bare Wranglers. Military veterans, mountain men, girly-girls…as mentioned earlier, these cars are a way for Jeep-owners to express themselves.
Common Club Activities
In addition to meetups for showing off tailor-made wheels, Jeep club members coordinate drives, road trips and parties. Jeep clubs also interact online. If you’re located in California, but want to see how Arizona hangs, Facebook and Instagram are great places to connect with other enthusiasts. The car becomes the model and social media is flooded with magazine-worth photos! For fans, their Jeep is their baby, and they want everyone to know how proud they are.
Not only are Jeep clubs segmented by location, they’re also unique to specific attributes. Military Jeepers is a club founded in 2007 for Wrangler owners who have served their country. There are also gals-only Jeep clubs and groups who honor the classics.
Where Do I Sign Up?
Are you new to Jeep ownership and looking to test the waters of a local club? You may find that just driving around will get you connected. Jeep owners can’t help but connect. Stopping for gas, you might make a friend while filling up. Roll up to a trailhead and see if you don’t find yourself in the company of club-members. There are a variety of Jeep forums online where you can get in touch with owners in your area, otherwise, do a simple Facebook or Google search for Jeep clubs by city or state.
Don’t stop there! If you can’t find a Jeep club in your city, or if you have an idea for something more exclusive, start your own Jeep club! Take a few photos of your vehicle and create a few social media accounts. Create fliers to leave with your local Jeep dealership or to pin up on community boards at coffee shops. Jeep fans are prevalent and this is one group you won’t have trouble filling.