If you’ve driven through Southern Pines in the past month, you’ve probably seen the skeleton Jeep parked in the old Bo’s Food Store lot. Maybe you’ve almost caused an accident while trying to snap a picture of the skeleton hanging from the rear tire (no, we don’t recommend this). Or, maybe you’ve even climbed inside and taken a selfie with one of the passengers in the back seat.
Owned by local resident Kevin Sweeney and his family, the festive vehicle is like the closest thing that Moore County has had to a pop culture phenomenon. No, we’re not being dramatic — this is America. We like to watch videos of overweight cats on treadmills, and we jump at an opportunity to deck out our cars.
Miss Inclined, AKA “the skeleton Jeep” is a 1987 Jeep that has been built and rebuilt a total of three times by Kevin himself. It started as a beach cruiser, eventually becoming a car for his daughters Brooke and Holly to take to college. Now, Miss Inclined is clad in a quarter inch of steel, a set of military tires and headlights that were once on a 1942 truck.
This is year two of Miss Inclined’s Halloween makeover. It all started when Kevin moved to the area from Wyoming a year and a half ago to be close to his kids. After noticing an extra skeleton left over from their extensive Halloween decorating, he decided it should take a ride in the Jeep.
That skeleton couldn’t be lonely, obviously, so Kevin added two more. He added his fourth “actor” this year after finding one for half price at the store — a discovery that he jokes was a sign from God.
“It’s been fun,” Kevin said. “I’ve arranged them a few different ways so far. Kids will see me driving around and give me ideas, too. This setup seems to be the most popular.”
Kevin has to leave at least two seats open in the Jeep because he occasionally picks his grandkids up from school. The skeletons are secured to the Jeep with zip ties — a method that’s proven to be effective. Kevin says he can cruise at 50-60 miles per hour without anyone losing their head.
His daughter, Brooke Proskovec, calls her dad’s hobby a distracted driver’s worst nightmare.
“Every time I look in my rearview, I see someone with their phone up taking a picture,” Kevin says. “I’ve learned not to be startled by honking because I can’t drive down the road without someone flying past me, honking and laughing.”
Named after a small airplane the family used to own, Miss Inclined has served as symbol of the Sweeney family for years. In fact, the Jeep even has its own Facebook page so friends of the family can track her adventures.
“People were curious about what my mom and dad would be up to when they moved to North Carolina. The Facebook page is our way of telling them what Miss Inclined is doing. And that’s pretty much what mom and dad are dong,” Brooke says.
The skeletons have to return to their coffins on Nov. 1, but you can catch Miss Inclined riding in the Southern Pines Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 9.
Oh, and as for Halloween 2020? Kevin says he already has biiiig plans. He wouldn’t reveal too much to us, but he did give us a few hints.
“Let’s just say that the leading characters are going to become supporting characters, and there will be new leads,” Kevin says.
Let the speculations begin.