MAUMEE (WTVG) - There will be all kinds of Jeeps filling the streets of downtown Toledo this week, and one of the rarest models ever made will be part of the festivities. It's called a Super Jeep. It's owned by a man who spent decades at the Jeep plant working on lots of famous vehicles.
Gene Smith says there were only 214 Super Jeeps built in Toledo in 1973. He says the reason for that is the company ran out of the wheels used on the vehicle. There aren't many of them left on the road today, but Gene's will be front and center at the Jeep Fest parade and car show.
Nowadays, Gene's Super Jeep rides around town in style on a trailer.
We tagged along today. Even though it's more than 40 years old, the speedometer hasn't even hit a thousand miles, "It only has 596 miles on it."
Gene hasn't started up the Jeep in a few years, but he says it would be easy to get it back in working order, "It hasn't been driven in quite awhile, but if I put some gas in it and re-built the carburetor, it would be ready to go."
The Super Jeep was made in Toledo, but this one spent its early years elsewhere. It came back home after Gene spotted it at a flea market in southern Ohio,"A guy in Indianapolis had it. He bought it at an AMC dealer in Chicago, and I got it from him in 1976. What did you pay for it? $6,000. What a good investment. It sure is!"
Gene says today it could fetch six figures, "What would it have cost brand new? Probably $3,500-$3,600. What is it worth now? I have seen them go for $100,000-$125,000 on EBay, and that's if you can find one."
The majority of the rare Jeeps had a V6 engine, this one has a V8.
Gene then souped up his Super Jeep quite a bit for racing. He points out that he could transform it back to its original condition, "It came with its original tires, original top, windshield and seats. I have all of that, and it would be easy to put all those parts back in."
Jeep is truly in Gene's blood. He worked at the Toledo plant for 25 years. A lot of that time was spent in the service garage working on vehicles for presidents, celebrities and even one for Chrysler CEO at the time, Lee Iaccoca, "I could tell Chrysler was going to buy Jeep in 1987. A car came through, and it had to be absolutely perfect. It was a limited edition for Mr. Iaccoca. I also worked on the scrambler for President Reagan. I would love to find that Jeep. It's still out there somewhere." All these years later, Gene's very own limited edition is still turning heads. What a ride it's been for Gene and his Super Jeep.