Hitch A Ride


For students with a license, driving is a huge asset, especially for travel to and from school. Out of the hundreds of students who drive to school every day, many of them have very unique vehicles.

Some of the students who park in the parking lot off of Antioch may have spotted a rusty red Jeep. If you think it is a Jeep, you’re dead wrong. It is actually a 1975 FJ-40 Toyota Land Cruiser, which is licensed to junior Jeb Stewart. The car features a stick shift as well as a removable roof and doors and roll bars. It currently has 30 inch off-road tires.

“It was previously owned by a couple in Nevada who used it for off-road driving and sometimes racing,” Jeb said.

Jeb’s father bought the Land Cruiser in South Dakota about 10 years ago, but it sat in his family’s garage for about four to five years before being handed over to Jeb in June. He hasn’t really taken it on any long trips yet, but he often goes hunting in western Kansas and sometimes South Dakota. According to Jeb, he doesn’t really trust his car to take him that far.

“If I ever crash, I know I’ll be safe because of the strong roll bars, but the other driver may not be so lucky,” Jeb said.

The Land Cruiser has been an interesting and unusual way for Jeb to meet new people. According to Jeb, he has made a couple new friends due to his car, and has had numerous people talk to him about it.

“People at gas stations are the worst,” Jeb said, “They come up to and make me roll down my window, just to comment about how cool it looks.”

A lot of average people and even businessmen have also chatted with Jeb about his Land Cruiser.

With an old car also comes many problems.

“There have been all sorts of problems with it: cylinder, bumper, steering, lights and turn signals and clutch problems,” Jeb said.

When Jeb brakes his car, it often rolls back a few inches before accelerating again, but he doesn’t believe it to be much of a problem, except maybe for the person behind him.

He is planning to refurbish the car soon, hoping to add shocks and bigger tires for off-road use, and hopefully a new coat of paint.

“I couldn’t drive it to Homecoming because at the time it wasn’t street legal,” Jeb said.

Jeb isn’t the only student who has a unique car. Senior Austin St. John owns a 2000 Ford Mustang convertible. In the fall of 2008, Austin worked at a car dealership when the used Mustang came in at a cheap price.

“I like Mustangs and this car came in really cheap, so I got my first car that way,” Austin said.

He has personalized it by adding an insert in the back and putting a decal on his brake lights. When he first got it, he put new tires on it for performance, mainly because it’s a sports car. He likes to keep it waxed and good looking at most times.

“I think the car goes with my style- it’s classic and sleek,” Austin said, “But it also is comfortable and seems laid-back, like me.”

He also likes the aggressiveness of the car and its way of showing Austin’s outspoken personality.

Unlike Jeb, the Mustang has never been had any problems with it. Austin has never been in an accident, and according to him, it’s run perfect ever since he got it. The only thing that has ever happened to it was a scratch on the driver’s side door, but that’s where the problems end. Because the Mustang is Austin’s everyday car, he drives it around everywhere.

“I went to Oklahoma once on a paintball trip- but I left the top down so I got windburned pretty bad,” Austin said.

Just like Jeb, Austin has gotten a lot of glances and reactions from people.

“I get a lot of hollers and thumbs ups,” Austin said.

Sometimes he even has other drivers pull up next to him and rev their engine, hoping for a race.

“Even though I never race anyone, it’s still kind of fun to have that happen,” Austin said.

Austin thinks the car has given him more freedom, and definitely has been a way for him to meet with friends, but especially has been more fun than anything.

Cars are a way of transportation and  hanging out with friends, but also a way of changing lives. For these two students, their cars  have also made them more outgoing people and given their lives a little spark.