Reader Submissions: Jeep Laredo Finds Him After Thirty Years

Jeep Laredo Finds Him After Thirty Years

By Petrolicious Productions
December 24, 2014

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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Dave Ramsour
Dave Ramsour(@ramsgear)
7 years ago

Years ago, just out of High School a soon to be friend had a CJ5, 302, 3sp, I think around a 75 or so, it was also a Levi addition and a Renegade. We had such a blast in that. Dragin’ the local streets one Friday night we had 5 in her, 3 in the back and I talked Bill into throwing into 4 low and trying some wheel stands. The first try we twisted the yoke out of the rear drive shaft and had to limp home in 4WD with the front driving us. Later we replaced the clutch and then I lost touch with him until about 10 years later where he wheeled the Jeep out of his garage fully restored.

This lead me to buy a TJ, although not the power, plenty of fun

Shaun Deslauriers
Shaun Deslauriers(@shaunsebring)
7 years ago

Had the pleasure of driving one of these for a summer once, great experience! Enjoy it!

Speed Racer
Speed Racer(@speedracer)
7 years ago

Boy this made me happy today. I have a 1986 CJ7 – that has been in my family since brand new. I was about 13 and my brother-in-law bought it. The funny thing is he and my sister divorced in 1991 – but I am still really close to him, his family and his new wife. 11 years ago – at his bachelor party he gave it me as a present – the day before he married his new wife – oddly – on my sister’s birthday. Talk about Modern Family. I’m in the process of restoring it – about 99\% done. Had the whole thing de-rusted and reprayed the stock gun metal grey metallic. I did change out the black interior for a custom cognac marine vinyl – that looks insanely good – and added the chrome grill – which I always loved on the Laredo’s. This was the first JEEP I ever rode in – and in high school my friends and I all took pictures in it — and now I’m 43 – and own it – and every time I drive it I think of my Brother (cuz really that is what he is) and I’m a teenager again. EVERY TIME. It’s like magic. You will have a lot of fun in this Jeep. They are indestructible in some ways.

Neil Saaty
Neil Saaty(@kt100karter)
7 years ago
Reply to  Speed Racer

You should submit your story. Don’t just leave it as a comment to another story; few readers will see it.

Andrew LeBlanc
Andrew LeBlanc(@j-a-leblanc1)
5 years ago
Reply to  Speed Racer

Speed Racer, love the shots of your Jeep. I’ve got a 1995 YJ that is going to be started on being restored (cosmetically, the paint and seats are completely shot). Might you have a few more photos that you could post? I love what you’ve done with yours.

Christopher Burton
Christopher Burton(@twowings)
7 years ago

Arghhh….I had almost gone a whole week without thinking about my old CJ-7!! Marvelous Jeep, man… Keep it, cherish it, and don’t ever sell it, ever !!

Ryan Winburn
Ryan Winburn(@ryanwinburn)
7 years ago

Oh I don’t plan on ever selling her, my kids will have the pleasure of living this one day!

D.j. Hite
D.j. Hite(@fb_1437920797)
7 years ago

Awesome jeep! Glad to hear it made its way back to you. I love the patina and originality of it. I would leave it just the way it is. I had a 79′ CJ5 in college and my buddies and I had so much fun with it. I’ll have another one someday.

Ryan Winburn
Ryan Winburn(@ryanwinburn)
7 years ago
Reply to  D.j. Hite

Thanks man! Yea she looks good from a distance, but up close there are a few spots that need to be addressed. I don’t want to fall thru the floor boards!