There are vacations, and then there are dream vacations as defined by a car guy…
All we want for Christmas is an official Jeep museum in Toledo
We know most Jeep owners would prefer to be outside—even apart from rally or trail events, 100,000 showed up for the Toledo Jeep Fest in Ohio this summer—but Jeeps deserve their own museum. Forget the flashy neon hardtops packing suburban malls; their ancestors ferried Allied troops on the beaches of Europe in WWII and others faithfully delivered mail for decades.
Now, thanks to the 22nd Century Committee, a non-profit organization invested in revitalizing downtown Toledo, the Jeep museum project is building some serious momentum.
There’s no official ground-breaking date on the calendar, but the Toledo Blade recently announced the non-profit group’s intention to open “The Jeep Experience” in a 56,000-square-foot building in downtown Toledo, probably in 2022. The interactive-display museum is expected to ring in at $40 million, but the local community hopes to attract international tourism. ProMedica president and CEO Randy Oostra is a member of the Toledo-based non-profit and will likely sit on the board of a 501(c)(3) that, if things go smoothly, steer the project into reality. ProMedica’s staff did some research and thinks that, should the museum become reality, it could generate an annual revenue somewhere around $6M.
Toledo is admirably suited for a Jeep museum; the first Willys-Overland vehicles started production there in 1910. In the 1980s, after the Toledo Assembly plant finished building Jeep Grand Wagoneers, it was razed and replaced by two separate facilities, Toledo North and Toledo South. Since Chrysler collaborates with several other companies to build the Wrangler, Toledo South is also known as Toledo Supplier Park; it currently builds Wranglers. Earlier this year, the Toledo North plant, which has also made the Liberty and the Cherokee, re-tooled in preparation for the Jeep Wrangler Plug-in Hybrid.
The Toledo Blade reports that fundraising for The Jeep Experience has already started, and the eventual design phase will involve study of National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.