Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective

The Faces of Jeep interview with Jason Chantelau

Founder of Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective


FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Jason: “It really started in the mid 90s for me when a good friend of mine bought a CJ5. He came over that first day and I walked out the door and instantly fell in love. It was mid June in the northeast and he had it completely naked. I remember just riding down the road and having this amazing feeling, I couldn’t stop smiling, I was hooked. I chose Jeep because there isn’t another community like it anywhere. There isn’t another vehicle that gets you out exploring and feeling adventurous. I always like to say from the paved interstates to the dirt and gravel roads, from rock gardens to mud holes there’s nothing like owning a Jeep and being part of the Jeep community.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Jason: “I’ve been wheeling since my first Jeep purchase a 1998, Jeep TJ back in April of 2000.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How many Jeeps have you owned?”

Jason: “I’ve owned four Jeeps, three being Wranglers and one Cherokee.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What upgrades have you done, and which companies would you suggest to others?

Jason: “With all my Jeeps they seem to follow the same pattern. There are items I always do with my Jeeps like tint the windows, tail light guards, stubby antenna, CB radio, all weather mats, a center console cover, bikini/sun rider type tops, and sometimes grill inserts. Then there are the larger items. With the Rubicon I went with a mid length Barricade Trailforce HD front bumper with added front Barricade skidplate and the Smittybilt 9500 pound winch and a couple of KC HiLite Apollo Pro Driving Lights. For the lift I installed the Teraflex 2.5 inch using the Teraflex 9550 shocks and Teraflex steering stabilizer. I’m running the Fuel Beast 17×9 wheels wrapped in the General Grabber X3 35 inch tires. I then switched over to open flares choosing the Smittybilt XRCs and coupled them with the ACE Engineering inner fenders. In the rear to hold the larger tire size I have the Barricade Trailforce rear bumper with tire swing out. Lastly, I have the ACE Engineering rock rails for added side protection. I’m a big fan of a few companies I’ve had a lot of luck with Smittybilt and ACE Engineering products. I also will suggest Teraflex for suspension products and for general product purchases I usually recommend Morris 4×4 and Extreme Terrain. There are other great companies out there so my suggestion to folks will vary.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where is your favorite place to wheel and what kind of wheeling do you prefer best?”

Jason: “I usually answer that question with my next wheeling adventure is my favorite. Living in Northern Alabama is a great place for Jeepers. We have several Off-Road parks all around us but my favorite might surprise some folks. I love exploring National Forest and National parks, sure it’s not crazy difficult or challenging but I just love the exploration aspect of it just driving off in the middle of the woods and exploring. My wife, daughter, and our chocolate lab Carolina love to jump in the Jeep with no planned location and explore and just go get lost. I still like to play in the mud and on the rocks but there’s just something so therapeutic about getting lost in the woods.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What tips would you suggest to a new Jeeper?”

Jason: “The first tip that comes to mind is to Tread Lightly and be good stewards of the land! The second tip that comes to mind is to learn the Jeep Wave! It’s such an amazing thing that no other community does and just acknowledges that oncoming Jeeper that you recognize and appreciate the common bond. Lastly, I would suggest that they join a local and global Jeep club/community which can provide you a wealth of knowledge and experience from upgrading your Jeep to learning how to properly wheel and just socializing with all the amazing Jeepers out there. I always suggest local and global online groups because of the amazing reach the internet gives us now. I have Jeep friends all over the world and one of the reasons I started Legendary 1941.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about one of your favorite Jeep adventure moments?”

Jason: “You know I have to say it was last summer with my wife and daughter. We went over to the Wildlife Refuge which has some cool little trails down and around the Tennessee River and we stopped at this little scenic overlook to watch the sunset over the river and I turned around and there’s my daughter on top of the Jeep just soaking it in and I realized that she just had her ‘Jeep moment’ that will be apart of defining the rest of her life. As a Jeep Dad it beats any mud hole or rock garden experience hands down. I also have to mention that we are a true Jeep family with his and hers so we often take two Jeeps on rides and it’s been a blast watching my wife Ashli wheel her awesome Rubicon that she stole from me and the reason I had to buy my own! Just wanted to get that in there.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life?”

Jason: “First, all the amazing friends that I have gained over the years and of course the experiences I’ve had. Owning a Jeep has defined what I do and where I go and who I go with almost everyday. What happened to me the other day is the perfect example: I was having a rough day at work and felt frustrated. As I was headed out to lunch, I just kept thinking about the morning events and how annoyed I was. As I began to approach my Jeep, there he was waiting for me and suddenly I started to feel better. I ripped those freedom tops out jumped in, threw it in drive and took off. As I was heading down the road I realized that all that stress was flying straight out the top of that Jeep blasting the music and smiling the entire way. By the time I got to the house my mood had completely changed all because of my Jeep. Simply amazing.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Tell us about Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective and what inspired you to start the page?”

Jason: “Legendary 1941 was formed at the beginning of March 2018. I created this group for a simple reason, to bring Jeepers together to have a great time and more importantly make a real difference in our local communities where we live and work. You know that feeling when you’re on that group ride and you look around and there are Jeeps everywhere! It gives you that sense of community where you’re surrounded by folks that share the same Jeep love and passion that you do. It’s that sense of community that has power to affect change in this world and that is what we want to harness here at Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective! Of course also to meet amazing folks and have a blast sharing our passion for Jeeps. A lot more to come for Legendary 1941!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What is your favorite part about running Legendary 1941: The Off-Road Collective?”

Jason: “That’s easy, working with my amazing admin team and interacting with the members of Legendary 1941 sharing pictures of their Jeeps and the awesome stories and experiences they’re creating.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are some of your biggest accomplishments?

Jason: “Well, I’m pretty proud of my day job where I manage a portfolio of software solutions for Data Center Management. These products allow our customers to better understand how their environments are performing. Sounds fun, right? I worked my way up in the technology sector over the last 20 years to become well respected in my industry. Also, a lot of folks don’t know that at one time in my life I was over 320 pounds and decided to take my health back. I went back to school and took night classes on Exercise Physiology and Nutrition and lost over 120 pounds. I went on to start my own personal training business and helped others to achieve the same. Lastly, I would already consider Legendary 1941 to be a huge accomplishment, even after just one month. I couldn’t do it without my amazing admin team of true Jeepers but more importantly all of them are pure class! My wife, Ashli Chantelau, David Lowrance, Thane Moore, Chris Kirby, Rachael Marshall-Morgan, Kristina Eaker, Susie Lynn, and Angela Wilkerson. I am blessed to have this team and I can’t wait to see what we achieve.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your future goals for yourself?”

Jason: “My goal and my team’s goal is to grow Legendary 1941 to be the largest Jeep community in the world, while continuing to support various charities such as veteran foundations and Humane Societies. I want Legendary 1941 to be my full time gig so continuing to forge relationships within the Off-Road communities and a brand with the reputation that continues to make a difference in this world. I also hope to get to some epic wheeling locations that have escaped me so far. These just might be on every Jeepers list. 1. The Rubicon Trail 2. Moab 3. The Big Bear Trail.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: ” Thank you Jason for sharing your awesome Jeep journey with us. Love your passion and enthusiasm for Jeep and the Jeeping community. We wish you and the Legendary 1941 team a fantastic 2018 wheeling year and look forward to watching you grow.”

Photo from Jason Chantelau, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis, Answers from Jason Chantelau

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