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Toledo JeepFest gains ground

by David Zatz on

Just hours after the Toledo Jeep Fest was announced by the old Willys Overland smokestack, Mercy Health announced a $25,000 sponsorship for the August 13 event.

Toledo Jeep Fest, celebrating 75 years of Willys off-road vehicles (actual “Jeeps” arrived in 1946, 70 years ago), will include car shows, vendors, and music. The free-to-the-public event will start with a parade. Some streets will be dedicated to Jeep Fest, which will extend to the convention center.

Jeeps at the Toledo Assembly Plant

The military vehicle that would become the Jeep was actually created by American Bantam, based on several sources; Willys-Overland made some improvements and provided their more powerful engine in an odd bidding process. Willys, Bantam, and Ford were all given production contracts; only Willys made civilian versions, starting after the war, and using the “general-purpose” nickname Jeep as a trademarked name.

With the exception of some years under AMC when Wranglers were made in Canada, Toledo has built the “Universal Jeep,” “Civilian Jeep,” military Jeep, and Wrangler for 75 years.  Toledo is also the home of the popular Jeep Cherokee and once made the entire Jeep lineup.

Continued news of JeepFest is on the group’s Facebook pageAlso see the Toledo Blade’s coverage that was the basis for this story.

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