JeepLike most men, I’ve had a lifelong love affair with cars.

Started with a 1957 Ford hardtop that I drove through my high school years in Floyd County. An uncle helped me shoehorn a 1962 Ford 406 cubic-inch V-8 into the car and it could outrun just about anything on the road (including some state troopers who knew it was me but wouldn’t go into court and admit they couldn’t catch the car on the open road).

A Mustang replaced the ’57 until I wandered into Magic City Ford in Roanoke one day and spied a brand-new Shelby GT-500 fastback. It cost $4700 in 1967 dollars but the engine was a full-bore 427 cubic-inch, two-four-barrel carb, 425 horsepower monster. The car ran great, in a straight line, and didn’t hold a curve one night when I totaled it against a rock wall.

Some years later, I would find out that Ford only made 17 of the GT500s with the 427 and the car is now worth about 750 grand. Sports cars later replaced the American iron — first an MG Midget, then a "B" and finally a Triumph TR-6.

Then the ultimate — a Bahia red Porsche 911 Targa. Put 300,000 plus miles on the 911 before selling it.

The sports cars are gone, replaced by a 2000 Jeep Wrangler as my daily driver. The Jeep is perfect for the snow and mud of Floyd County and also serves me well in Northern Virginia.

Amy completed the Jeep circle with a 2002 Liberty (red like the Porsche) and after 41 years, I’m back to American iron.

The last car of non-American origin, a British-Japanese hybrid Sterling, went to a charity. Both Jeeps have proven to be the most reliable cars we’ve owned.

Over 40,000 miles on the Liberty and 28,000 on the Wranger and not an ounce of trouble. And both are pure Jeep, able to slog their way through mud, snow and muck without any problems.