I purchased my Jeep in Bolivia in 2000, the original owner imported the car in the 70s from the US and used it for his practice as a medic in the Bolivian jungle. After he died the car was left at a local car dealer and when I bought it the daughter of the owner had to be located and a lot of paperwork had to be done. After taking the car apart with local technicians and the occasional Indian ironworker, the car was finished in August 2001 in order to hit the road. I had it transported back to Holland and after driving it home from the harbour the engine blew up, it was in the middle of winter and coming from the tropics no coolant had been added. It took quite some time finding a new engine and installing it, but now I drive it every now and then for film work and art installations. When people see it I get remarks like, “look there goes a true Jeep”. It’s one of three 4×4 Station Wagons that I know of in Holland.
My plan was to travel with the car to the US in order to make my own road movie. After half a year of chasing spare parts and finding places and people I could work with on the car, I was ready to leave for the big adventure. Unfortunately, just before departure, people managed to break into the Jeep and stole almost everything from passport, drivers license, credit cards, film equipment, to dirty laundry and I had to abandon the idea for the film and had the car transported back to Holland. Over there I use it for film work again.
Willys Jeep Life Story – Gert-Jan Gerlach
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