The year is 1940 and, faced with the impending prospect of entering World War II, the U.S. Army faces the urgent need to build a new mechanized vehicle designed to transport troops and light payloads and match the Germans’ new mechanized warfare of blitzkrieg. That summer, with his firm American Bantam Car Company bankrupt, and allotted just 49 days to design and build such a vehicle, Roy S. Evans does the impossible: He beats 134 other companies by outbidding them and then produces the very first Jeep—later recognized among the three major reasons the Allies would ultimately win the war.
Sound like a great story? Consider that Evans delivered his invention with just 30 minutes to spare. Consider also that political measures conspired to doom his prototype to connected competitors. You bet it’s a great story and one that deserves to be told. If screen writers Cathy & Paul Bruno and producer-co-writer Manuel Freedman have their way, in fact, “THE JEEP: An American Triumph” will one day be a major motion picture. They have been working for many years to accomplish just that. (See more here).
Some would say there has perhaps never been a more opportune time. As Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne officially took the helm of Chrysler this year, he put forth much inspired dialogue: “Athough we have many challenges yet to overcome,” he said, “There is no doubt that we will get the job done. Chrysler will be back—strong and competitive…”
What better time for Chrysler to underscore its rich heritage of innovation and commitment to building outstanding vehicles for the world stage. Like the military in the days leading up to Pearl Harbor, Chrysler is under the gun to turn things around. Like Roy Evans, who would do the impossible, it is poised to persevere. With movie incentives at an all-time high in Michigan, what better place to film such an epic?
Full disclosure here: We are working with the filmmakers to grab the ear of, ideally, the powers that be at Chrysler, if not additional investors. Yet, even at a time when the automaker is reeling financially, one must consider the many powerful, positive ramifications—on both grass roots and grass tops levels—that such a feature film would have in terms of marketing, promotional and public relations value. Think about it: a “feel good” film to help scores of Chrysler faithful—enthusiasts, past and current customers, employees, business partners and more—once again feel good and proud about the auto giant. How does one place a value on that?