Ralph Lauren’s Legendary White Jeep

According to Ralph Lauren’s children, it’s not the stunning stretch of collectible cars that have caught their eyes over the years. It isn’t a Ferrari or a Porsche. No. When you ask his kids about the one car that they remember — the one car that’s had the most influence on their lives — it’s their father and mother’s iconic white 1976 Jeep CJ-5, the one they purchased more than 40 years ago. In an interview on his site, RalphLauren.com, the designer says, “I bought it because it looked cool,” of the CJ-5, adding, “It was a cool thing that was very rare at the time.”

Though it’s no longer uncommon to see an SUV on the road, back in ’76, a four-by-four was as much of a rarity as ever. All the more reason the white Jeep like Lauren’s was a catch. “You didn’t see them around at all. Driving around on the beach with the kids was a big event. The only problem with that was that the car was a mess. But it was a great family vehicle and it was stylish at the same time.” Lauren adds that the much of the car’s life was spent off-roading at the family’s summer home on Long Island’s East End.

But the Jeep was much more than just a car. His wife, Ricky says, “It was a special time for all of us, and one that we still cherish,” while his son, Andrew, adds, “I remember our parents at the help and Dylan, David, and I, in tandem, merrily sliding around the back roads of East Hampton on sleds as they navigated through the snow in four-wheel drive … Rain or shine, snow or sleet, I have the fondest memories of our always-dependable white Jeep.”

Forty years into its tenure, though, and the Jeep is as alive as ever. Lauren had the CJ-5 restored entirely. David, one of Lauren’s sons, said, “Everything that my father buys is something that he plans to keep forever. I’ve been pulled behind it in the snow on a sled, through a snowstorm. I’ve watched Grease and Star Wars at drive-ins at 8 years old in it. And today, I often drive around the Hamptons with my wife, telling these stories and hoping that one day my own son will drive it.”

The Jeep is, as far as the Lauren family is concerned, every part as important to their history as the people riding in it.

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