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Volume 1, Issue 1                                                                                                                               August 1999

The Toronto Star WHEELS

Saturday, August 28, 1999

 

It’s Jeeps galore for Coulson Rebuilder

 

Markus Schneider lovingly restores WWII icons

By Brian Dexter Staff Reporter

If you fancy zipping around in a World War II Jeep you just might like to meet Markus Schneider.

The 31-year-old sheet metal worker and welder has turned his hobby of restoring such vehicles into a full-time job.

On his rural 11-acre property at Coulson, off Horseshoe Valley Rd. west of Orillia, Schneider has a treasure trove of 45 old Jeeps, most of them waiting to be refurbished.

His workshop, home basement and a barn also house thousands of parts for the Jeeps and many of them, like fuel filters and tires, are brand new, some even with original packaging.

Schneider began working with Jeeps in Germany when he was a teenager and bought his first Willys Jeep to fix
 

At one time he was a professional racing driver sponsored by BMW and he raced a Mosport and in Montreal.

At one time he was a professional racing driver sponsored by BMW and he raced a Mosport and in Montreal.

Schneider says that if someone can bring the core of an old Jeep to him he can probably restore it as new for something between $ 8,000 and $ 14,000.

“ If you buy a new TJ today you’ll spend over $ 20,000 but you lose big time in the first year due to depreciation.

“Yet with an old Jeep that’s been restored you’ll find it gains in value every year.”

Schneider says he’s booked up for restoration work until next year, but on Sept 11 and 12 will hold a military vehicles flea market at his property on the Oro-Medonte Line 7 south of Coulson.

“There will be people here with everything from Jeeps to tanks,” he says. “It’s also planned to form a Jeep Club.”

Schneider says he finds the refurbishing of World War II and Korean War era jeeps fund to do.

He gets engines, like the famous 63 hp four-cylinder Go-devil, rebuilt at a machine shop in Aurora.

Otherwise, he basically fixes up everything else himself including new electrical system wiring and, where necessary, making body parts out of 18-gauge steel.

He’s also skilled in making new canvas tops for Jeeps on a basement sewing machine.

Jeeps were mass produced for the U.S. Army by Willys-Overland and Ford although the American Bantam Car Co., of Butler, Pa., was active in the early stages of Jeep development with a vehicle called a BlitzBuggy.

One 1940 prototype was nicknamed the Quad.

In Canada some later models were built by Ford at Oakville and in the U.S.

The last military Jeep, Model M38A1, rolled off the Ohio production line of the former Kaiser Jeep Corp. in 1966.

It was Kaiser that absorbed Willys-Overland in