When we think of the European country-side the last thing we imagine is a
Jeep truck rambling around central France, but the folks at JeepTruck.com
continue to learn more about Jeeps overseas.
Guillaume Herve-Gruyer lives in Charmant le Haut, France and although he
doesn't consider himself a true Full Size Jeep collector, he certainly shares our
passion for Jeep trucks. In his garage can be found a CJ7, a J10 and a Dodge
W350 (if anyone is interested). Let's take a closer look...
Guillaume first purchased a CJ7 Laredo with a 304. "I
like the V8 and the Laredo trim" he says "I found it three
years ago in the southwest
of France, after searching
for months." And we
thought finding the right
Jeep was tough in America.
But french variants of
Jeeps are not entirely
unheard of due to a
Renault and AMC.
Guillaume, however, is
proud to say his CJ7
is a U.S. model imported into France in the early '80's.
Preferring a Jeep that's close to stock, except for a little lift
and bigger tires, Guillaume changed his CJ's tires to 35",
asked a professional garage for the appropriate change in axle ratio
and is currently working on his engine which he describes as
"pretty tired". He took apart the camshaft, a few lobes and the
corresponding lifters were also badly worn.
Now let's move on to the J10. Two years ago Guillaume
bought his 258 J10 Sportside. He says he was lucky; the J10 is
extremely uncommon in Europe and fully restored it could be worth more than a
CJ. This truck is close to stock, but also rusty and "tired". It is one of a few J10's
imported by Jean-Charles Automobile, an american cars specialist in Paris at
the time. Guillaume suspects that the original buyer of the
truck sought to enter it in the Paris-Dakar rally, a 4 Wheel
Drive race stretching from Paris to the capital city of Senegal
on the west coast of Africa. Guillaume
has just begun to restore this truck. It is
his first restoration, but he has already
finished the disassembly. For his
restoration he had no trouble finding an
Edelbrock in-take manifold, or an HEI
distributor, but finding FSJ parts in
Europe is a much more difficult task.
Guillaume traveled to Belgium to find a
front fender and a T176 spacer
and they weren't cheap. He reports that there is a guy there
who restores CJ's and FSJ's and in order to restore and
maintain his trucks, Guillaume purchases parts, tools and
manuals on Ebay, from Summit or from an American parts
catalog. Websites have been very useful to him, but when
dealing with heavy parts, like those of an engine, shipping
can get complicated.
So, if we have trouble finding parts for our Jeeps we can
only imagine how it is for those in other countries like Guillaume, who still
has ambitions of one day owning a Gladiator, Wagoneer or CJ5.
Jeeps in France?
(Top: A Diesel French CJ7
Above: The interior of
The J10 L6
(Above: The fender found in Belgium)
By Tom Smith
* Additional Photos
- Tom Smith is a freelance writer majoring in film at Ithaca College in New York.