Lamballe high school students restore a World War II Jeep

Lamballe high school students restore a World War II Jeep

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High school students from Henri-Avril in Lamballe (Côtes-d’Armor) are restoring a Jeep Willys from the 1940s, as part of their school project. ©Le Penthièvre

This is their graduate project. Since September 2022, twelve first-year students of the maintenance section of road transport vehicles, at the high school of Henri-Avril, in Lamballe (Côtes-d’Armor), have been restoring. a Jeep called Lucky. A long-term task that will accompany them until their final exam.

Disassembly and repair

Supervised by their teachers, they dismantle and repair this car from the war of 39-45, several times a week. A chance for them to discover an ancient mechanical system. “It’s more fun to work on this type of car than today’s. Back then, there weren’t all the electronics,” admits Gweltaz, 16. “We took it apart first, then checked and sorted the parts in good condition. Later, it will have to be fixed,” explains Hugo, 16 years old.

Careful work that also gives opportunity to learn different history. “Through this exercise, high school students learn history, but also English. For example, the ads are in English, so they learn vocabulary. It builds them up a lot,” emphasizes Sylvain Goaster, a car maintenance teacher who leads the students’ project together with Émilie Le Gall, a literature and history teacher.

Students enjoy working on the old model. ©Le Penthièvre

He left the factory in 1944

For thirty years, Lucky has taken place in the Museum of the Resistance of Saint-Marcel (Morbihan) 360,000 copies of this 4×4 vehicle were made during the Second World War, including. most remained in liberated Europe. “Thanks to its identification number, we found out that the car left the factory on April 23, 1944. Maybe it took part in the D-Day landings,” says Guillal, 16.

Lamballe Henri Avril
High school students will strip the chassis by sandblasting. ©Le Penthièvre

On top of social networks, this event is told. Lucky has his own Twitter and Facebook account, like a high school student diary. They say there that Lucky gathered at the Willys Overland plant in Toledo, in the state of Ohio in the United States. After the war, the car took part in the construction of the country. It was used for agricultural work, then by firefighters, they explain in detail. “Symptoms are still visible on the bodywork. Several color spots were found. Green wafer in reference to its military use, yellow for agricultural work”, notes Sylvain Goaster.

These future craftsmen also carried out a communication campaign to publicize their project. Posters, flyers, emails… Everyone contributed to the creation of all the materials. “It took us a lot of time, between diagnosis, corrections and verification, but it was very interesting”, they assure.

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At the end of its restoration, the car will return to the Resistance Museum and allow visitors to discover maquis of Saint-Marcel, which was used to receive parachute drops of weapons for resistance fighters. “The goal of this project is not to start a Jeep, it must be really built”, adds the teacher.

LAMALLE.  Lycée Henri-Avril, the mechanical section restores the Jeep.
Two sessions per week are given to car mechanics. ©Le Penthièvre

Call for donations

High school students are asking for donations to fund the purchase of mechanical parts. “We opened the chest online, launches Gweltaz. And if the collectors have pieces to throw, we are all ears. »

These guys are looking forward to the harvest €5,000 by February 2023. “These types of old pieces are not difficult to find. On the other hand, they are expensive,” explains the professor.

By reaching €2,500 in support, these young people will be able to strip the chassis by sandblasting, fix the front and rear axles and tighten them with restored suspension blades. For € 5,000, they will also be able to modify the go-devil engine according to the rules of the art: segmentation, shaft line bearings, fitting of valve seats.

To help them, contributors can go to the forum: For more information: Lucky JeepWillys on Facebook and @LuckyJeepWillys on Twitter

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