When Chase Harnett was 16-years-old, his father had bought a brand new 2001 Mini Cooper and allowed his son to practice driving manual on it. After failing to get it into the garage, Harnett then tried his hand at his dad’s 1967 Pontiac Firebird.
With a classic in hand Harnett found his callsign in terms of cars.
The Nyack, NY native got his first car right after the SAT’s in high school. His dad decided it was time for him to have a car.
“[My dad] just wanted something safe,” said Harnett, who’s a junior at Pace. “Something that I could pile my friends in and go to the beach or whatever.”
They settled on a used 2010 Ford Edge that did the trick and acted as an everyday car.
Two years later, Harnett wanted to buy his own car and turned to Craigslist where he found a black 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade with a 5-speed manual transmission.
“For some reason I started looking at Jeeps,” said Harnett, who works as a model for Major New York. “During a lunch break back in high school, my friends and I drove over to Long Island, checked [the Wrangler] out for 20 minutes, and zipped back to school.”
The car was also listed on Ebay where Harnett bid for it in an auction. He won the auction for $3,500.
The Wrangler’s had its ups and downs. It had eight owners before Harnett, needed some work done, has air conditioning that doesn’t work, and has seen many different iterations. The axle broke twice before it was replaced with a reliable one.
Performance cars are interesting to Harnett, but his definition of performance is different from most car enthusiasts. He takes the Wrangler off-roading a lot and since it’s a Wrangler it performs well.
However, the Wrangler’s time is coming up. Harnett will be replacing the Wrangler in the coming weeks, as well as the Edge, with another Jeep. Harnett’s got his eyes set on a 1976 Jeep Cherokee, which is another classic.
“I like the classics for sure probably because of my dad,” Harnett said. “That’s all I’ve been exposed to.”
It may not be old American Muscle, but Harnett’s Wrangler is a classic in his eyes.