Earlier this week, Motor Trend's article, "President's Day Special: Top Five Presidential Vehicles," awarded the top two spots to President Ronald Reagan's vehicles: the 1952 U.S. Army Model M38-A1 Jeep (#2) and the 1978 Subaru Brat (#1). The Reagan Ranch preserves three Ranch vehicles, including the 1978 Subaru Brat featured as the cover picture of the story.
Here's more information on the preserved vehicles from the curators of the Reagan Ranch:
President Reagan's Vehicles: When a Car Becomes a "National Institution"
By Marilyn Fisher (Curator) and Danielle Fowler (Assistant Curator)
During his Presidency, Reagan was only allowed to drive a vehicle when he was at the Ranch. Two of Reagan’s original ranch vehicles are housed in the tack barn at Rancho del Cielo. They are the red 1978 Subaru Brat and the red 1962 Willys Jeep CJ6. The red Jeep with trailer was used early on at Reagan’s Malibu Creek Ranch and later at Rancho del Cielo. The original color of the red jeep was green; however, the National Guard, as a going away gift to Governor Reagan, refurbished the jeep adding a new coat of red paint with white pin-striping.
Used for brush clearing, wood cutting and various other activities, the red jeep was Reagan’s work vehicle. It is also the vehicle in which he gave Barbara Walters a tour of the Ranch property in 1981 in which she commented that the jeep “didn’t seem fitting for a president of the United States.” Ranch foreman Lee Clearwater once asked the president if he would want to replace the 1962 jeep. Reagan replied, “No I don’t want to get rid of the old one – don’t cha know Barbara Walters made this one into a national institution.”
Nancy Reagan gave a 1981 blue Jeep Scrambler CJ-8 to President Reagan on April 2, 1983 as a late birthday present. Chosen with the help of good friends, it was customized with “Rancho del Cielo” wood side rails. It was also in this vehicle that President Reagan drove Secretary Gorbachev on a tour of the Ranch during his 1992 visit. Reagan’s blue 1981 Jeep Scrambler formerly at the Ranch can now be seen at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California.