Jira’s Jeep handles Hereford’s hills

 Haley Gilmore

     Assistant Principal, Mr. Joe Jira, drives probably the most recognizable Jeep in Hereford out of all the faculty and staff. Mr. Jira bought his 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon from Carmax in 2005 for just $19,000. “It was a steal,” Mr. Jira said.

     His brown Jeep has a six cylinder, 4.0 liter engine, a 190 horsepower at 4600 rpms, and has a manual five-speed transmission. Mr. Jira bought it with 23,000 miles on it, and he just hit 60,000 miles. He gets 20 miles to the gallon, and he intimated that it’s not the fastest car on the road. “It’s not how fast a Jeep can go, it’s where you can take it,” he said.

     Because he got the Jeep at such a low price, he had some extra money to soup it up. The first upgrade included Goodrich Mud Terrain tires in 2006. He also added a 3 ½ inch suspension lift. In the second round of upgrades this past June, he added a 2 inch body lift, four BFG KM2 35-inch tires with 35-inch rims, 7-inch fender flares, Blackrock 909 15×8 black TJ wheels, and pinstripes to accentuate the lines of his Jeep.

     Mr. Jira had to convince his wife, substitute teacher, Mrs. Louise Jira, that the purchase of the Jeep was worthwhile. He told her that it was a necessity because they live in a “hilly area” and their truck and Mustang couldn’t always do the job. Mr. Jira does allow Mrs. Jira to drive occasionally, but Mr. Jira mostly takes control, and Mrs. Jira drives their truck.

     Mr. Jira loves how he can open up his Jeep in the summertime. He always has the top down in the summer. He loves going to Wildwood, N.J., the Outer Banks, and Virginia Beach and driving on the sand with the top down. He takes the top off as soon as he can when it’s warm enough in the spring. He tries as much as he can to tuck his Jeep away under the canopy by the tech room in the summer just in case it rains while he’s working. Although Mr. Jira can take the doors off completely, he has never done it, but he is looking forward to doing it in the future.

     In the past, Mr. Jira has taken his Jeep off-road four-wheeling at his wife’s parents’ house in Hanover, Pennsylvania. They have 50+ acres, so it’s perfect for four-wheeling, but Mr. Jira doesn’t like to go off-roading much because it gets messy.

     Mr. Jira says that the newer Jeeps are “too boxy” and they “don’t look like Jeeps” at all. He’s happy with his 2003 Jeep and said it was his best investment. He also said his Jeep is “perfect for Hereford High because [he is] all over the back lots and in the woods.” He is flattered that people love his Jeep. “I never believed students cared so much about a teacher’s car,” said Mr. Jira. He said that parents and students come up to him all the time, asking about his car and telling him how fascinated they are by it.

     Other faculty members, especially in the office, are critical of Mr. Jira’s Jeep. Principal, Mr. Andrew Last, believes that Mr. Jira “doesn’t know what a good vehicle is.” Mr. Last prefers diesel over gasoline engines because diesels are more efficient and that is what they use in his native home of England. “Americans find [Jeeps] sexy, but it can be a rough ride,” said Mr. Last. “[It’s] fun when you’re 17,” he said. Administrative Secretary, Mrs. Denise Butcher, said that Mr. Jira’s tires are “ugly.”

     Mr. Jira recommends Appalachian Offroad Inc. in Westminster on George Street for people who need work done on their Jeeps. He said to request John and tell him you were sent by Mr. Jira.