Plenty of VIASA and EBRO Jeeps from Spain, and even Mahindra Jeeps assembled in Greece, have found their way into Italy. If you run into a high-hood flatfender there, it usually came from one of those sources. But Italy does have its own unique Jeeps, assembled there from primarily U.S. parts.
The Jeep CJ-5 Mediterranea was assembled in Palermo, Sicily in the 1950's and 60's. Roberto Bruciamonti sent this photo, and comments, "Note the ugly front grille, with little headlights, and the combined "fanali di posizione/indicatori di direzione" black pods on the front fenders (parking lights/turn indicators). The owner's manual is a translation of the American one, showing photos of a real CJ (with big headlights and without the pods). Technical specifications are identical to the U.S. ones. Sales literature mentions also a CJ-6 Mediterranea, but I haven't seen photographic evidence of such a model."
The Mediterranea version of the CJ-6 is likely quite rare, but Sabine Schindler did take some photos in northern Italy in 2009. They show the same grille, with the headlights and marker lights moved apart to satisfy Italian regulations. They also show a Koenig hardtop (150K JPEG), and an interior (100K JPEG) with split ventilating windshield, PTO controls, and spare tire mounted behind the driver's seat (140K JPEG).
The CJ-6 has the multilingual Willys Overland export plate on the firewall, below the Kaiser VIN plate (40K JPEG) indicating a 1964 CJ-6. The Kaiser serial number 25842 is also stamped on the Willys Mediterranea plate.
The hardtop has a Koenig Model 650 tag (80K JPEG).
Another distinctive "Italian Jeep" was the Sirecome S 38 (actually an ex-U.S. Army M38A1 completely rebuilt with diesel engine) which was built near La Spezia. Sirecome was a contractor doing rebuilding of military vehicles for the Italian army. See the full version of this photo (1200x600, 180K JPEG) with the S 38 and a pair of horses posed in the mountains.
Roberto found these details on the Sirecome vehicles: "The body was sandblasted, primed and resprayed with bright colors, transmission overhauled, brakes rebuilt (with added vacuum servo-boost). The vinyl top and front seats were new (rear ones were reworked and modified to match the front ones). The original F head 4-134 engine was changed for a Peugeot Indenor XD-P diesel (inline 4, 2.0 litre, 55 CV at 4500 rpm.) You will notice the reworked front grille (to comply with italian traffic regulations, headlight must be closer the edge of the vehicle.)"
"In 1978 an S 38 cost in the order of 8 million Italian lire (approx. 20,000 modern Euros.) A new American CJ-5 with the straight six petrol engine cost about 11 million, a diesel Land Rover 88 about 10 million. And a CJ-3 diesel (built in Spain) cost 8,265,000 lire. For comparison, a Wrangler TJ with the 2.5L inline four costs 21,790 Euro, a Land Rover Defender 90 with Td 5 Diesel engine costs 21,774 Euro. So the S 38 wasn't cheap then!"
There was also an Italian version of the M151A2 MUTT, known as the Perini M 151S. It was built using the drivetrain of the original with a new frame and fiberglass body similar in appearance to the original. Roberto also mentions that "Ennio Perini now has a body repair shop in Riva del Garda, near Trento, telephone 0464-552650. I think he has the biggest amount of spares for the M151 in the world. He doesn't speak English, but he can read it (the FAX number is the same)."
Thanks to Roberto Bruciamonti and Sabine Schindler for the photos. We'd like to hear from anyone with additional photos or information on the Italian Jeeps. -- Derek Redmond
See more Jeeps Around the World on The CJ3B Page.
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