Welcome to Thelma Jane's Page!

(updated 5/09/03, added page 2

Thelma Jane is my baby girl. She was born at 12:13 AM on Tuesday, December 5, 2000, (according to DaimlerChrysler) and she weighed 3316 lbs and was 150 inches long. I got to bring her home on Friday, December 8, 2000.

It was a long and difficult struggle to get Thelma Jane! I had just traded for a new 2000 Grand Prix GT sedan at the end of March, 2000, and I was way, way upside down on trade-in vs. pay off, as you can imagine. I caught Wrangler Fever not long after trading for the Grand Prix, but I just couldn't see a way to trade again so soon.

You can imagine what my wife thought of the whole idea! It was during this time of struggling over the decision to go ahead and get the Jeep and enduring the wife's reaction to my potential trade that I wrote this poem:

Momma don't understand,
And I could just strangle 'er.
Daddy's got to have,
A brand new Wrangler.
I toss and I turn,
And can't go to sleep.
I'm thinkin' about,
That brand new Jeep.
She's shiny and white,
With a top that is black.
Thirty inch tires,
And a spare on the back.
Mortgage the house,
Rob the 401 K.
Get a down payment,
For that new TJ.
Some way, somehow,
She's gonna be mine.
I'll get that Jeep,
And Momma can whine.

In case you are thinking of getting a Wrangler Sport, this list of equipment and prices may be of some help to you. Sorry about the quality of the image, but the paper was wrinkled and coffee-stained.

I was telling the guy over the phone which options I wanted, and he was entering the codes into the computer. He then printed out one of these sheets and faxed it to me at work. He mistakenly included the fog lights and tow hooks, but he then deducted the $180.00, so the bottom line retail price was $23,870.00.

They let me have Thelma Jane for $200.00 over invoice, which meant that I bought her for approximately $22,200.00. With tax (5.4% of sticker) and license and the dealer's paper work fee, the total price to put her on the road was $23,560.70.

I am amazed at the difference in the deal you can get at one dealership vs. others. I bought Thelma Jane at the third dealer that I got an offer from. After the first two dealers got through trying to rob me, I was about ready to give up on the whole idea of trading.

I had done my homework and knew that the Wranglers were being sold for as little as $200.00 over invoice. I obtained this information from peoples' postings in the Wrangler IV news group in Edmunds.com. I also knew from kelleybluebook.com that the average trade-in value for my 2000 Grand Prix GT was $16,000.00. So, putting all of this together, I knew I should be able to trade for around $7000.00, tax, license and everything.

I started at my local Chrysler dealer, and they rewarded my loyalty and "buy at home" philosophy with an offer to trade for $10,000.00! I told them that I was born at night, but not LAST NIGHT!

My second stop was at the next nearest dealer to my hometown. They were going to be real nice to me and trade for $8988.12.

I was ready to just forget the whole thing, but I called the third closest dealer, who was 40 miles away. I LOVE the way they treated me! I simply asked over the phone what they would sell me a new Wrangler for on a no trade-in basis. The guy didn't hesitate a second and said, "How does $200.00 over invoice sound?" I told him that sounded just fine, but that I had a 2000 Grand Prix GT that I was trying to sell and that I would have to trade it in if I couldn't sell it. I described the car to the guy in detail and told him what a fanatic I am on car care (That car was in showroom condition!). I asked him what he thought they could allow me for trade-in. He said he would pass the info on to his used car buyer and call me back.

After the first two dealers had tried to rape me, and with this guy offering to sell the Jeep at $200.00 over invoice, I was expecting to hear this dealer offer me about $13,000.00 for my trade-in. When they called back with an offer of $17,000.00 for my car, I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO SH** MY PANTS! I didn't even haggle! I went straight over there to let them drive my car and make the offer official. As I was driving over there, I was thinking that they were trying to pull a fast one on me and would say that they had made a mistake.

No mistake! No tricks! The appraiser drove my car around the block, got out of it, and asked, "What did I tell you I would give you on this car?" I told him that he had told my salesman that he would allow me $17,000.00 for it. He said, "Ok, I'll honor that."

So, I traded for $6560.70. I had that figure of $7000.00 in my head, so I did even a little better than I originally thought that I could. I had to go to three dealers to get it done though. So, my friend, check at lots of dealers before you buy, and have a good idea of what is reasonable before you even go to the first dealer.

For the record, I was trying to buy exactly the same vehicle at all three dealers. It was going to be a factory order, and I specced out the same vehicle at all three dealers. The trade-in vehicle, obviously, was the same, so we do have apples to apples comparison here. There was $3440.00 difference between my best offer and the worst one!!!!

I thank Stacy Chrysler in Owensboro, KY, for the good deal they gave me. I appreciate the fact that they made a great offer the first time! They were really nice people and didn't put any kind of pressure on me (as if I needed any). Even when we did the paperwork, they didn't pressure me to buy insurance or extended warranty or undercoating or scotch guard or anything! THANK YOU STACY CHRYSLER!

As of 01/03/01, 1400 miles and not a single problem. (Except sloppy roads that get my little girl dirty!)
That's it for now, but I hope to get some more pics of Thelma Jane and add them to this page.

Update 3/18/01

I have now had Thelma Jane for three and a half months, and it has been a BLAST! She has 4800 miles on her now, and she has settled in at about 18 miles per gallon on gas mileage. I am VERY happy with that!

I have had no trouble with her at all mechanically. I did have her hard top repainted at DC's expense because of a defect in the factory paint that resulted in the paint blistering off in one place just above the windshield on the leading edge of the top. There is also a small paint run on the right rear corner of her body, but I'm not even going to have that fixed: it is not very noticeable, and I would rather keep the factory paint on her instead of getting the area repainted. The dealer said that DC would take care of that paint run with no problem, but I declined.

If you are thinking about getting a Jeep, all I can say is, "GO FOR IT!" Thelma has been more fun than I ever dreamed she would be! There's nothing like the feeling of driving down the road in a Jeep. Thelma turns lots of heads as we travel around. It seems that everyone loves the looks of a Jeep.

She's got a better ride than I thought she would have, but she is definitely a Jeep, so don't expect a car-like ride if you get a Jeep. The road and wind noise are also less than I thought they would be, but, once again, she is a Jeep, so don't expect anything like the quiet of a car.

There is not ONE practical reason that I can think of for anyone to buy a Jeep. Jeeps are bought for one reason only, and that is for FUN. And, boy, do they ever deliver in that department!!!!!

I am waiting until the grass greens up and the trees leaf-out before I take more pics of Thelma, so that I will have a nicer background. I will include some new pics this spring.

That's it for now, but I will update later with some more pics and will let you know how she has been performing.

Update 4/15/01

Thelma now has 6909 miles on her and still has had not a single mechanical problem. No new defects have shown up either, so it's still just the two things mentioned earlier- the paint blistering on the hard top and the minor paint run on the right rear corner of the tub.

I had Thelma's top and doors off for the first time yesterday. You talk about fun! WOW! That was great! That's the way a Jeep is meant to be set up!

That brings me to this warning to you, if you are considering a Jeep: think long and hard about your top selection! I thought that I would not care all that much about taking the top off, but was I ever wrong about that! I got the hard top, because I didn't think driving around topless was all that big of a deal. WRONG! I thought that on the few occasions that I might want to go topless, I could still take the hard top off.

Well, it's true that you can take the hard top off, but IT IS NOT AN EASY JOB, EVEN WITH TWO PEOPLE! That thing weighs a ton, and you have to stand in an akward position with your arms partially extended when you lift the top off. That makes the top seem even heavier, and you have to be so careful not to drop the top or to let it scrape against the Jeep as you remove it or put it on. THIS IS NOT A JOB THAT YOU WOULD WANT TO DO EVERY FEW DAYS!

Then you have the problem of storage. If there are kids around, then you have the possibility of having the top damaged while it is being stored.

Also, what do you do if you get far from home and it starts raining?

Get the soft top or the dual top option! I wish I had!

Have you hugged your Jeep today?

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