This Jeep was built in 1943 at a Toledo factory, then sent overseas during the war. After 70 years, it has finally made its way home.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
An 800-mile journey is coming to an end as a Jeep returns home, 70 years after it was built here in the Glass City.
The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and city of Toledo welcomed Vittorio Argento, a history enthusiast who has embarked on an 800-mile journey after sailing from Naples to New York, to bring a Jeep, which was built during World War II, back to its birthplace. The Jeep left the site back on June 3, 1943.
Argento felt it was important not only to repair the Jeep, but return it home. He felt a responsibility to make the journey to show how much of an impact Jeep had in his country.
He says he found the Jeep in Florence and decided to restore it because like many Toledoans, he has a personal connection with Jeep.
"My father was born in 1926 and he recalled he learned driving on a Jeep," said Argento.
Argento says besides helping to drive the allied victory in WWII, the Jeep played a major role after the war in Italy.
"We needed something to reconstruct the country and the Jeep - the GMC, too - the big trucks were among the vehicles we used for agricultural purposes, to tow cars, for everything," explained Argento.
Argento's journey finished when he drove up to the lone smokestack which remains from the former Jeep Parkway Plant. He was welcomed by both the mayor of Toledo and the Port Authority president.
"Those of us in Toledo have such pride in Jeep. It's been such a big part of our community for 100 years. But to have somebody from Italy share that same level of excitement is really cool," said Paul Toth, president of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
"That says a lot for our city. I think it says a lot for our products that are made here, that we make some really good things. This thing is still rolling at 70 years old. I think is extremely impressive," said Mayor Mike Bell.
Upon reflection of his journey, Argento says the years of labor and financial commitment have all been worth it.