XJ Jeep Cherokee Gets Wet & Wild With No Doors & Big Tires

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Two buddies in a stripped-down XJ Cherokee drive through a river and fling up mud, going places their Toyota 4Runner can’t.

No front doors, no snorkel, no problem. Almost nothing stops the guys in this XJ Jeep Cherokee from having fun after a rainstorm.

Zach and Gabe from the Youtube channel Novice Garage recently washed their ’91 Cherokee…then promptly got it filthy. In the video up top, they take their rig known as “Big Red” out to a local river…for a leisurely drive through it. You read that right. Not across. Through. Given that Big Red doesn’t have front doors on it, Zach and Gabe are destined to become just as filthy as it. It’s not long until the water reaches the floorboards.

At one point, the stream is so deep on the passenger’s side that Gabe has to bail out. It looks as if Zach may have gotten them stuck and that he might have to winch Big Red out of the muck. Fortunately, the engine stays lit, allowing Zach to move forward, then back out of the sticky situation, much to Gabe’s amazement.

jk-forum.com XJ Jeep Cherokee Drives Through a River

The two press on, steadily covering Big Red and themselves – and even their camera lens – with more and more flecks and globs of thick mud. It only gets worse when the duo swaps seats and Gabe puts his right foot down. They soon stop on pavement to look at how thoroughly Mother Nature repainted their XJ and realize that it got them through places their Toyota 4Runner wasn’t able to.

jk-forum.com XJ Jeep Cherokee Drives Through a River

Cold, wet, and filthy, the guys end their day of mischief and mudding with a couple of drive-thru coffee drinks. That’s definitely not the ending we saw coming to this adventure, but it doesn’t really matter what they ordered. Whatever they would’ve consumed would’ve been flavored with the sweet taste of victory.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management from Texas State University, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism from Austin Community College as well. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK-Forum.com and Ford-Trucks.com, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram and Facebook to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

Derek can be contacted at [email protected]

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