Had lunch the other day with an old friend from my days as President of the Potomac Region of the Porsche Club of America.

He’s still a Porsche nut, owning two street cars and a racing version, and our conversation naturally turned to cars.

“What are you driving these days?”

“A Jeep.”

“No, I mean for fun.”

“A Jeep.”

“Just a Jeep?”

“Yep. I have a 2000 Wrangler as a daily driver. Amy has a 1995 Wrangler for off-roading and a 2002 Liberty for everyday use.”

“No Porsches?”

“No.”

“No other sports cars?”

“Nope.”

“Wow, that’s a step down.”

“I don’t think so.”

We moved on to other topics before he headed back up to the northern end of the state but I continued to mull over our conversation. Like many men, I’ve been a car nut for most of my life. My first car in Floyd County was a white 1957 Ford hardtop, a two-door model with a red interior. I bought it for $500 at Thomas Ford (now Autoville) and my uncle, Max Wade, tricked it up with a 1962 Ford 406 V-8 and a 1958 Lincoln Police Special overdrive transmission that allowed me to switch into overdrive in any gear, giving me six speeds.

The car screamed and I terrorized Floyd County roads with it, outrunning more than one State Trooper. I traded it in 1967 for a Mustang, a roaring lime green fastback with a 390 V-8, then a 1969 Ford Torino fastback with a 428. I took that Torino to the midwest and drove it for a number of years before getting into sports cars, starting with an Austin Healy, then an MG and then a Triumph TR-6.

In Arlington, I discovered Porsches and owned several. Joined the Porsche Club, raced at Summit Point, WVa, and served as the club’s President, chief steward and a tech inspector. We also picked up another TR-6 for Amy. We owned other so-called “luxury cars,” mostly European, and served as models of conspicous consumption.

In 2000, I bought a Wrangler and started having fun at off-road events. In late 2001, we replaced Amy’s Sterling with the Liberty and later added the ’95 Wrangler to use at the farm in Floyd County. I found myself driving the sports cars less and less and sold my 911 Porsche Targa in 2003 and Amy’s TR-6 in 2004. When we moved to Floyd County in late 2004, we were down to three four-wheel drive cars and that’s been our stable of transportation eve since.

“I’m not sure what happened to you,” my friend from Northern Virginia said before he left. “You used to be a car guy.”

I’m still a car guy. All you have to do is look at the winch, cargo cage, special suspension, dual lockers and other accessories that I’ve added to the Wrangler and you quickly realize that a car guy owns it. Anyone who has prounded over a logging road in a Wrangler on a warm day with the top down knows why the Jeep is still so popular. And anyone who lives here knows a four-wheel drive vehicle is a necessity. That’s why you see so many Jeeps, four-wheel drive pickups and all-wheel-drive Subarus on the roads around here.