The Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Jeep DJ -Tennessee, Late 1960s – Early 1970s


Cars Of Leonard Cohen

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series will be collected at when they go online.

Leonard Cohen’s Jeep

I suspect the jeep in these photos with Leonard Cohen is the one he purchased for use during his sojourn in Franklin, Tennessee in the early 1970s:

I moved there [Franklin Tennessee]. I had a house, a jeep, a carbine, a pair of cowboy boots, a girlfriend. … A typewriter, a guitar. Everything I needed1

Jeep DJ

JeepMailTruckThe vehicle in the shots with Leonard Cohen resembles the DJ series “postal jeep” (pictured directly above) that was used by the USPS. DJ’s were also, however, employed by the military and were sold to individuals.

The Jeep DJ (also known as the Dispatcher) was a two-wheel-drive variant of the four-wheel drive CJ series. Production started in 1955 by Willys, which was renamed Kaiser Jeep in 1963. In 1970, American Motors (AMC) purchased Kaiser’s money-losing Jeep operations and established AM General, a wholly owned subsidiary that built the DJ through 1983.2

The DJ series was largely recycled using leftover jeep body styles and existing technology, making these jeeps inexpensive delivery vehicles. It came with either a column shift or floor shift three-speed Borg Warner T-96 manual transmission, which was the first since the CJ-2A to have a column shift. The DJ models were offered with many different body options including a soft top, hard top, or a full van body. The DJ could also come in right-hand drive for postal delivery use.,, DJ-A thru DJ-M became the Postal/Dispatch Jeep for most of America. Rural areas still used the Jeeps through 1984… Although rare, there are reportedly still Postal Jeeps in service today in a few areas.3


Photo Credit: Arnaud Maggs / Library and Archives Canada, R7959-3101.


  1. Various Positions by Ira Nadel. Random House of Canada, 1996 []
  2. Wikipedia []
  3. Brief History: DJ Series by Rachel (Kaiser Willys Jeep Blog: March 14, 2012) []

The Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Aston Martin V12 Vantage S – NOT

This is a special supplement to , a series of posts about Leonard Cohen’s actual automobiles, those metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars.

Leonard Cohen & The Aston Martin V12 Vantage S: Two (Unconnected) Icons

In reference to my posts, a couple of Leonard Cohen fans have commented that I shouldn’t forget Leonard Cohen’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage S.

Well, as Leonard once observed, “I can’t forget but I don’t remember what.” (The lyrics of that song also include “I’m burning up the road.” Coincidence?  Of course it is; don’t be silly.)

That Leonard Cohen owned an Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is an induced misunderstanding. As Monk (that’s Adrian Monk, the titular detecctive on the TV show, not Leonard Cohen the Zen monk) would say, “Here’s what happened.”

A story entitled Chasing Zen in an Aston Martin: We follow Leonard Cohen’s road to spiritual resolution by Matt Bubbers appeared in the February 2, 2017 edition of The Globe and Mail with this opening [bolding mine]:

Leonard Cohen disappeared into the San Gabriel Mountains for six years, retreating from fame to the Mount Baldy Zen Centre, 60 kilometres east of Los Angeles. There, among the tall pines, he slept in a drafty cabin, meditating and doing chores during the long 18-hour monastery days.

He wasn’t looking for God – not exactly. In one of Cohen’s last interviews, he said to David Remnick of The New Yorker, “Whether [Zen] has a spiritual aspect is debatable. It helps you endure, and it makes whining the least appropriate response to suffering. Just on that level, it’s very valuable.” Sitting in my favourite Aston Martin, the last of its kind, as traffic stalled on Interstate 210 out of Los Angeles, I tried to keep this in mind. Whining is the least appropriate response to suffering. I only had a few hours in this borrowed $239,000 V12 Vantage S to go find some Don-Draper-Gwyneth-Paltrow-Goop-style Hollywood enlightenment through the enjoyment of expensive things, and I didn’t want to waste my time in traffic.

A careful reading reveals that while Leonard Cohen resided at the Mount Baldy Zen Center, it is the author of the article who drives a Aston Martin V12 Vantage S1. to and from that same Mount Baldy Zen Center.

The problem was exacerbated when the folks at Journal, who seem to know quite a bit about Aston Martins but not so much about Leonard Cohen, appear to have misread the Chasing Zen in an Aston Martin story, believing and publishing that it was Leonard himself at the wheel of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. The pertinent excerpt from  2018 Grammy winners and their cars ( Journal: January 29, 2018)

Leonard Cohen – Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

2018 Grammy winners and their cars | JournalRock legend Leonard Cohen was awarded posthumously for his 2016 performance of “You Want it Darker.” In life, Cohen was strongly attached to his Aston Martin V12 Vantage S and often meditated while shifting gears behind that powerful V12 engine.

Now, back to cars actually affiliated with Leonard Cohen.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Automotive Rhythms

All posts in this series will be collected at when they go online.


  1. An except from the article follows: “Aston Martin invited nostalgia when it fitted a seven-speed in the V12 Vantage S for one last hurrah. It knew what it was doing. It is the only car on sale – perhaps the last one ever – that offers a stick-shift paired with a V-12 engine. This combination – the automotive equivalent of gin and tonic, steak and Bordeaux, gefilte fish with a big dollop of horseradish – was once the core of all lust-worthy supercars: the Ferrari F50, the Lamborghini Miura, Countach and Diablo. These cars are extinct and athis white-and-orange Aston is the last of the old guard []

The Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Driving Miss Marianne – In Her Late 1950s Karmann Ghia

This is the third entry in , a series of posts about Leonard Cohen’s actual automobiles, those metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars.

Driving Miss Marianne: Karmann Ghia

Note: The photo atop this post is a 1958 Karmann Ghia, but not the Karmann Ghia owned by Marianne that is featured in this post.

Leonard Drives Marianne From Greece To Oslo

You even drove [Marianne] from Greece back home to Norway?

Yes in her little Karmann Ghia, and she liked to drive fast, and I didn’t like to drive that fast, but anyway, we got there, and, yes we drove from Athens to Oslo. That was a wonderful drive. Although I remember us quarreling a lot. I don’t know whether it was about the driving or not, but I do remember that it was quarrels that arose. But they were healed because we’d stop at some little Italian cafe and have pasta and a bottle of wine or some cheese and bread, and we’ d get over it.

From Leonard Looks Back On The Past, an interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 (Unedited interview for the Norwegian Radio). Found at LeonardCohenFiles [bolding mine].

More About Marianne’s Volkswagens

Marianne’s automotive history, with and without Leonard Cohen, is intriguing. According to So Long, Marianne: A Love Story by Kari Hesthamar (ECW Press; June 10, 2014), in 1957, Marianne and Axel Jensen purchased a “secondhand blue Volkswagen Beetle” in Hamburg en route to Greece. Shortly thereafter, they spun out on ice in Yugoslavia, extensively damaging the vehicle and necessitating repairs before they could continue their journey. Then, in 1959, they traveled to Stockholm where  they used the revenue from the publication of Axel’s novel, Line, they purchased a “beige Karmann Ghia with light brown leather upholstery.” Some time later, Axel’s lover, Patricia, was driving this car in Athens when, dodging a cart in the road, she wrecked it, injuring herself severely. This was the Karmann Ghia that transported Leonard and Marianne to Oslo. Before Leonard and Marianne left Greece, they had the car checked out, at which time, they discovered – by accidentally meeting the original owner – that the Karmann Ghia was fitted with a Porsche motor.

All posts in this series will be collected at when they go online.

Credit Due Department: Photo atop post by Sicnag – 1958 Volkswagen Type 14 Karmann Ghia front view, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons.

The Cars Of Leonard Cohen: 1990(ish) Honda Sedan & Screening Studio

This is the second entry in , a series of posts about Leonard Cohen’s actual automobiles, those metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars.

Honda Sedan

In a 1992 video, Leonard drives the Honda sedan shown in the screenshots, The model year and make is not given, but it appears to be a late 1980s, early 1990s Honda Civic.


Leonard’s Honda is equipped with a sunroof.

Screening Studio

I like to see how the song stands up in the street. I like to drive with it on. And sometimes I come up beside people at a stop sign or a stoplight and I play it loud. I like to see if they turn and are interested in any way, you know? I like to hear it with traffic, with city noise.


My favorite bit of customization is the dashboard clutter, which (unsurprisingly) includes one of Leonard’s ubiquitous notebooks.


All posts in this series will be collected at when they go online.

The Cars Of Leonard Cohen: 1995 Nissan Pathfinder


You Will Drive Your Car
Here And There
Delivering And Fetching
And Neither The Traffic
Nor The Weather
Will Bother You
In The Least.

From A Life Of Errands
Book Of Longing By Leonard Cohen


When Gerrit Terstiege interviewed Leonard Cohen in July 2001, circumstances were such that, instead of the 20 minutes scheduled, he spent more than an hour with the Lord Byron Of Rock ‘n’ Roll, much of it in casual conversation about a wide range of topics, one of which was the kind of car Leonard drove. Because II was interested in what kind of car Leonard Cohen drove and thought that other fans might be interested as well, I decided to put together a series of posts about Leonard Cohen’s actual automobiles, those metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars.

The first of these entries focuses, appropriately, on this except from the referenced Gerrit Terstiege’s interview with Leonard Cohen (July 2001):

I’ve had the same car for 7 or 8 years now. I had to get a 4-wheel-drive because of the mountain road which is covered with snow for a few months of every year and it’s quite a steep road with a lot of switchbacks. I drive a Nissan Pathfinder 95.

The image atop this post, a screenshot from a 1996 video, shows Leonard (in his monk’s robe) walking to his Pathfinder while the graphic directly above fom the same video pictures him driving the Pathfinder. The two photos below, taken by Lorca Cohen in 2014, show him with the same car. (I’m confident it is the same car because when the Duchess and I visited Leonard in Aug 2014, he wrote that we could identify his home by the 1995 Nissan Pathfinder parked in the driveway.)


All posts in this series will be collected at when they go online.

Leonard Cohen’s Formula For Choosing Car Radio Stations

Driving over 60, I like to listen to country-western or pop music. Between 40 & 60, I like classical music. Then, in city traffic, like under 30, I like to listen to talk shows.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen Press Conference, Reykjavik, 1988. Originally posted Oct 31, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric