Jeep Laredo Finds Him After Thirty Years
Owner: Ryan Winburn
Year, Make, and Model: 1980 Jeep CJ-5 Laredo
Location: Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA
Photographer: Erick Dent
I’ve always loved Jeeps and this particular one was the first Jeep I ever fell in love with. I remember my dad turning wrenches and drinking beers with Chip, our neighbor and former owner of this CJ-5. I was probably about two or three at the time and remember crawling around the back seat of the Jeep and seeing the big round gauges. We moved out of those apartments shortly afterwards to our new home, and I hadn’t seen the Laredo since.
Chip passed away about two years ago, and he was always considered us family friends but lost touch over the years. My grandpa found this Jeep hours after we drove almost two hours to look at a ’56 CJ-5. The deal for the ’56 fell through, thankfully, which lead me to Chip’s Laredo hours later.
I got a phone call from my grandpa, who was never this excited about a vehicle, so I knew I needed to check it out. As we were negotiating over the Laredo we learned of its sentimental value and family connection. That’s when I knew it was meant to be. I’ve never been one to say this was meant to happen but I honestly never felt more certain. I know Chip would want me to have this Jeep if he was alive and knew how much I love cars. The Laredo’s name is Choco-Chip as a shout out to the signature Laredo brown and to Chip, of course. My plans are to completely restore it back to how I remember the CJ-5 when I used to bounce around in the back.
If I had to choose one word to describe this Laredo it would be patina: it’s worn but a good sort of worn. She’s a beach cruiser for sure, my wife used the word cartoony to describe her experience riding in it. Jeep’s response to the fuel crisis was the four-cylinder “iron duke” and 1980 was the first year to feature it. This was also the Lardeo’s first year.
This Jeep looks like a barn find and I like it. The pinstripes are brittle and cracking, and the paint is not perfect but it photographs well and is all original. I also love the four-cylinder. Yeah, it’s slow and just a cruiser, but can get off-road because the curb weight is something like 2,700 pounds. Also with the short wheelbase, the CJ-5 turns on a dime and is such a shout-out to the Willys Jeeps. Most of all, I love driving it on the beach! Top down with a big ol’ yeti cooler or a few skim/surf boards in the back is my style.
I feel like I rescued her and now it’s my job to see her back to prime. Thanks for taking the time to read my story! I love taking pictures and sharing my experiences! [editor’s note: to follow Ryan and Erick’s adventures, follow them on instagram @ryanwinburn and @erickdent respectively]
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