A Willys MB model dated 1943 has left Italy to return to its original production site in Toledo, Ohio and celebrate its 70th anniversary.
The exclusive pictures of the visit to the Willys’ historical production site and to the Toledo Assembly Complex where at present the current generation of the iconic Jeep Wrangler is produced.
On June 3d 2013, an original Jeep Willys MB model returned home to Toledo, Ohio to celebrate its 70th birthday. After leaving Italy and crossing the Atlantic, the forefather to the current Jeep Wrangler has driven for over 1000 miles across the three American states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio to reach Chrysler Group’s Toledo Assembly Complex and the historical production site where it was built 70 years ago.
The homecoming Willys MB rolled off the assembly line of the Toledo plant, Ohio to be delivered to the U.S. Army on June 3, 1943, one month before the landing in Sicily. This vehicle was derived from the military Willys Quad built in 1941 for the U.S. Army by Willys-Overland and forefather to the first civilian Jeep, the CJ-2A. With modifications and improvements, the Willys Quad became the MA, and later the MB. But the Army, and the world, came to know it as the Jeep.
The matching serial and frame numbers of the homecoming Willys are 238.746. Army registration 20341061 is an estimate based on a number stamped on the frame. At the end of World War II, the homecoming Willys was transferred to the Italian Army, which put it into service as EI 21574. Later, the Willys was sold to private owners and in April 1984 it was bought by the Italian journalist Vittorio Argento, present owner, director and star of the ‘back home’ operation that brought the Jeep back to its birthplace after 70 years.