The Jeep

fronte restaurato

During World War II Willys and Ford built some 640,000 “standardized” jeeps.

The Homecoming MB was delivered by the Willys plant in Toledo, Ohio to the US Army on June 3, 1943, one month before the landing in Sicily. Its matching serial and frame numbers are 238746, while the body is 139045. Army registration 20413061, the so-called “hood number”, is an estimate based on a number stamped on the frame.

The jeep’s wartime service is unknown, but after WW2 it was sold to the Italian Army, whose own workshops modified it with doors and other changes (the so-called OARE standard) and put it into service as EI 21574.

Under a program to help parishes acquire surplus cars at affordable prices, on 19 November 1958 it was registered to Father Dino Bocchi. Two months later Bocchi sold it, presumably with a little markup, to geologist Pietro Dainelli of Florence, who registered it FI 114779.

When Vittorio Argento bought it from Dainelli in April 1984, the jeep was 41 years old but still in good condition. In 1998 Vittorio found in a barn near Rome a body (substantially unmolested but without accessories) and frame (badly molested) with matching numbers. Vittorio then put the jeep through a professional DIY motorpool restoration, merging the two vehicles to obtain a fully restored MB.

Still owned by Vittorio, it resides in Formello, on the outskirts of Rome, and is marked to represent a jeep used in Italy by the 10th Mountain Division, which operated in the Florence area in Winter 1944-45 and still exists in Fort Drum, New York.

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