Creamsicle

Drive!|August 2020

Creamsicle
1978 JEEP J20
BRYON DORR
In 1977, Bert Garrison Sr. ordered this beautiful Alpine White ’78 Jeep J20 from Hinkle’s Jeep Sales in Pickens, South Carolina—at the time, the largest Jeep dealer in the world. The order was for a long wheelbase, three-quarter-ton, no-frills work truck. The plan was for it to be used in a small home-hauling business before eventually getting a slide-in truck camper.

Keeping It in the Family

Bert Garrison Sr.’s son, Bert, got the keys to this family workhorse when he got his driver’s license in 1977. Those early years for the younger Garrison were filled with fond memories in the J20, like going on his first date to the drive-in to see Star Wars. The truck was then used to drive between Greer, South Carolina, and The Citadel for college for a few years before Garrison went off to the Air Force on the West Coast.

The truck was mostly a yard ornament at Garrison Sr.’s house in South Carolina, occasionally seeing service as a garbage hauler until the younger Garrison got a call in 1993. Senior decided it was time to get the truck out of his yard and planned to send it to the junkyard if his son didn’t want it.

The Retrieval

Garrison was stationed in Spokane, Washington, at Fairchild AFB when he got that call from his dad. There was no chance he was letting the classic Jeep pickup, with so many amazing memories, end up in the scrap yard. He promptly made arrangements to drive more than 2,000 miles back to South Carolina to retrieve the truck.

Garrison moved the J20 into his workshop and set about evicting the mice and breathing new life into this classic old truck.

“GARRISON HAS BUILT A TRULY UNIQUE QUALITY ADVENTURE TRUCK THAT RETAINS ITS CLASSIC APPEAL WHILE OFFERING THE CAPABILITY AND CAMP COMFORTS OF A MODERN OVERLAND MACHINE.”

When he arrived at his parents’ house, he found the truck in disrepair. His mom had run it out of water and warped a valve. It was leaking from the rear seal and burning a lot of oil. The drive back home across the country was going to be interesting.

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August 2020