**Life-long automotive enthusiast and talented photographer, John Stokes, broke the internet with his famous build, That Blue Wheelbarrow. When he isn’t wrenching on his wheelbarrow, John shifts his focus to his JK, That Green Jeep. **
What cars have you had before, and what got you into Jeeps?
I’ve been an automotive enthusiast and gear head since forever. When I was 15 years old and got my learner’s permit, the first car I legally drove was an ultra-sweet early 90’s white Dodge Caravan. Little did I know that many years later I would own a supercharged, convertible offroad edition of the same vehicle!
I first got into Toyotas and import cars (pre Fast n’ Furious FYI) and loved building them, slapping bigger turbos on them, blowing the engines up, and then repeating the process over and over, for years. I eventually got tired of that and fell in love with BMWs.
They were really fun to drive, relatively fast, had a great aftermarket following, and could pull double duty as a daily driver and a weekend warrior. The BMW M3 was the car I identified with the most. I owned a supercharged 1996 M3, a 2008 M3 with the V8, the twin-turbo 2015 M3 and a handful of other BMWs. Recently, I made the switch to Porsche and currently have a 2018 Cayman S and 2018 Macan GTS, which are incredible cars.
I’ve always loved Jeeps.
Through the years, some of my friends had Jeeps, and every time I would ride around with them, I just felt this “coolness factor” that was so much different than any other car. I always wanted a Jeep, but couldn’t afford buying a jeep plus the replacement engines and other go-fast goodies I needed for my import tuner cars.
As the years went on, I kept seeing people drive around in their Jeeps, top off, doors off, and I thought to myself, “See, that’s just soooo cool!” In 2015, Stephanie (my better half) worked for a BMW dealership. A guy brought in a green 2007 Wrangler and wanted to trade it in a Grand Cherokee SRT8. Stephanie sent me a text with pics of the Wrangler and wrote, “Isn’t this the Jeep you want??” Naturally, I replied, “YESSSS.”
So, we test drove it the next day and then never took it back to the dealership.
After buying the Jeep, the first order of business was modify the heck out of it, because apparently that’s what I do with everything I own. Modifying a vehicle introduces you to that community and from there, the passion and relationships started to take off!
What made you choose the green jeep?
I’ve always thought that the color green was the perfect color for a jeep.
It paid homage to the early 1940’s Jeep history during the war, as well as complemented the trees and nature in general. Actually, buying that green jeep was just a happy impulse buy, and happened to be the color I wanted!
What has been your favorite part of the build so far?
I have several favorite parts. One of them has been learning everything I possibly could about the Jeep, and then getting to spend countless hours researching all of the parts available. I enjoy losing many hours of sleep every night because I’m trying to decide how to modify something.
Another favorite part of the build has actually been the Jeep community. People with Jeeps are just cooler than the other “car crowds.”
Lastly, I like how simple my Jeep build is. It’s not wild and crazy, or flashy by any means, so to quote the late Han Solo,
She doesn’t look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.
My Jeep is a basic build, has quality parts that all pair rather well with each other, it drives rather well, and is the perfect balance of form and function. I can daily drive it, use it to run errands, or go out on the trails where it does surprisingly well. I think it’s just a good example of a tastefully modified jeep that a lot of people can relate to.
What’s your secret to keeping an older model JK looking brand new?
It turns out that the previous owner of my Jeep never, ever, ever took it offroad. When we first looked under the Jeep before I bought it, there was not a spec of mud anywhere to be found in areas where you can never get the mud out. So, I was starting off with a really good example of a daily-driven, road only Jeep.
From there, I tried to keep it clean and be mindful of what I had and what I should do to take care of it. Additionally, I feel like I have replaced 70% of the Jeep with brand new aftermarket parts, so any of the usual signs of age have mostly been replaced.
Has photography fueled your passion for Jeeps, or is it the other way around?
I think they are two totally separate hobbies of mine that pair well together. Photography has always interested me ever since I took a photography class in high school. I grew up taking pictures of whatever I was doing at the time and it has always been a part of my life. I feel like I forget a lot of great times I have had in the past, and taking photographs during those times preserves those memories for me to look back on.
Now that I own a Jeep, it has just become the “next subject” for me to point my camera at.
I really enjoy photography and like to share the pictures I take, hence why I started an Instagram account.