These guys are IDIOTS, but it does show how much abuse those things will take. I'm sure the only reason it wouldn't start at the end, is they punctured the radiator and then continued trying to kill it until it overheated to the point that it wouldn't run. Even so, 500 bucks would make it reliably driveable again, albeit ugly.
Allow me to point out that older Jeep designs are even more rugged. The newer designs don't measure up, though. I'm talking about the Liberty and the latest Grand Cherokees, both of which have IFS (independent front suspension), which does NOT belong on a Jeep. It's why JP, the Jeep enthusiast's magazine, won't write articles about them; and I applaud that decision. The Wrangler is the only real Jeep made anymore, and even it has a minivan engine in it instead of the grand old, nearly indestructible inline 6.
XJ Cherokees are dirt cheap, too. They are one of the great deals in 4x4s.
Possum living is all about living on our own terms, slowing down and kicking back and doing what we really want to be doing instead of burning ourselves out in the pursuit of what society tells us we should strive for. It is about finding easier and more interesting ways of providing what we really need, as an alternative to paying the high price in time, money and freedom that society extracts in exchange for servicing these needs; and about finding the strength to say no to those services we don't really need.