1990 Wrangler Quest, Search, and Find
A few months back I began hunting for a used Jeep
Wrangler. That in itself is pretty common. I was looking for a 1990 model year. Again, this is not that unusual. However, I was not just looking for a 1990 Wrangler, I was looking for a 1990 Wrangler that was manufactured in October of
1989 (for the 1990 model year, production having started around July or August).
If that hadn't upped the ante enough, I decided to try to find one that was built on a certain day, the 25th. As I would later discover, this
would amount to about 160 Jeeps out of over 57,000 that were made for the 1990 model year.
The reason for this quest was two-fold. First, I wanted to find a 10/25/89 Wrangler because that is the birthday of a friend of mine. I thought it would be pretty cool to have a Jeep that was "born" on the same day she was. Secondly, I wanted to see if it could even be accomplished.
I tried contacting Chrysler to see if they could provide a list of VIN numbers of the Jeeps that were built on that day. While they were
helpful, it didn't appear that they were going to be able to provide that list. I next reached out to several of the Jeep and Wrangler forums on the internet. Several people responded and I began to compile the information.
I found out that not only did Chrysler put the month and year of manufacture on the driver's side door sticker, they also included an MDH code, which indicated the month, day and hour of final assembly.
Armed with this information, I began to search the used Jeep market. People were generally very helpful, and I was able to start narrowing down my list of candidates. I started a blog called Jeep Quest (jeepquest.blogspot.com), and began blogging about my search.
After several months of research, I had a fairly narrow VIN number window to consider. I religiously watched KSL.com to see what 1990 Wranglers were listed. This, plus my internet browsing encompassed the bulk of my search efforts.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014, brought up two new listings for 1990 Jeep Wranglers on KSL. The first one was located in Logan, the town I live in. It was a white Wrangler with a gray hard top. Out of habit, I scrolled down to where the VIN number was listed. I sat up in my chair as I realized that the VIN was right in the middle of my target window.
Within minutes I had fired off an e-mail to the seller, explaining my quest and asking if he would be willing to check the door sticker to see when his Jeep had been manufactured.
minutes later, I had the disappointing reply. The doors on this Jeep were not the original doors, so they would provide no useful information in the way of a manufacture date and time.
After pondering this for a minute, I decided to try Chrysler again. This time, I gave them the VIN number and explained that the original doors were not on this Jeep and I would very much like to know the manufacture date and MDH code.
Thursday passed with no communication from Chrysler. Friday morning was the same. During my first break at work, I checked my phone to see if I had received any new e-mails...still nothing. I finished up my work day at 3:30pm and headed out the door. I got my phone out as I headed to my car and noticed an e-mail notification. Upon looking further, I noticed that it was indeed a reply from Chrysler.
"Great", I thought. "It'll most likely be that they either don't have the information, or that the VIN is off by a day or two, just enough to be frustratingly close". I tapped on the e-mail and quickly scanned the contents.
About half way through the e-mail, it stated, "According to our records, your vehicle was built in the factory on: Build Date: 10-25-1989, Build Hour: 22". I was so excited that I immediately told the two people who happened to be in the parking lot at the time of the great news!
I contacted the seller and inquired to see if the Jeep was still for sale...it was. I arranged a time to meet, stopped by the bank for some cash, and headed out to see the Jeep.
I met Aaron, the seller, and he showed me around the Jeep and told me about its history with him. When I asked him where he got it from, he said that he had purchased it from a guy in Lehi, UT.
We got in and I drove it around a couple of back country roads. I suppose I was a seller's dream
come true, because none of the few quirks about the vehicle phased me in the least. We got back to the house and I offered Aaron a cash deal for the Jeep. He accepted, and I walked away with a
set of keys and a title to a Jeep built on 10/25/89 at 22:00 hours (10pm).
Later on that evening, some friends dropped me off at Aaron's and I drove the Jeep home.Editor's Comment: Amazing story, Derek. You seem to have found the proverbial "needle in a haystack". Your diligence in your search is commendable, and very helpful to others who may be trying to track down a specific Jeep model, build date, etc.
Nice looking Jeep also!