Ronald Reagan’s Jeep
Before he became the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan was no stranger to Jeeps. His B film career was interrupted in 1942 by World War ll, and driving Jeeps was part of his active duty in the Army Reserve as an officer and eventually a captain.
When he was governor of California, Reagan purchased a ranch as a retreat in 1974. At his 688-acre Rancho del Cielo northwest of Santa Barbara, Reagan could be seen horseback riding (a throwback to his days in the movies) and running trails in his sky blue 1983 CJ-8 Scrambler Renegade or his brick red 1962 CJ-6. The Scrambler was a gift from his wife Nancy and sported a personalized license plate with his nickname GIPPER and bunk boards that read Rancho del Cielo.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and secret service members were among the passengers who toured the ranch in the Scrambler. When it came to a more utilitarian vehicle for odd jobs like hauling rocks and chopped wood and brush, Reagan’s red CJ-6 would be pressed into service. After Ronald was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, the Reagan’s visits to the ranch tapered off and both of the Jeeps were donated in 1995. The ranch was eventually sold to the Young America’s Foundation.
Today, Jeep fans can visit the Reagan Ranch Center on State Street in Santa Barbara to get an in person view of the Jeep Scrambler. Unfortunately, the CJ-6 is not on public display and is living out its days in a barn on the remote ranch.