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While vacationing in Tuscany, Italy, Markus Cizek of Lustenau, Austria decided
to buy a Cherokee Chief from Kansas which he had painstakingly shipped to his
home. The summer of 2011 Markus traveled to Tuscany where he, his wife and
their Great Dane, Gino, stayed outside of Cortona. In their Mercedes wagon they
rendezvoused with the owner of their summer retreat and, with Gino riding along,
were led roughly 2 km (1.2 Miles) towards the mountains and their destination.
Deep potholes and rocks on both sides is how Markus characterized the end of the
"Each pothole was a stick into my heart,
because on my Mercedes are aluminum
rims with nice low section tires," said
Markus, "I saw in my darkest dreams the
shocks [coming] through the hood."
Once at their destination Markus still
had to traverse this ugly road every day,
with a headache each time. Then "while
chilling at the pool, I got an idea: we
need for our dog and winter time and
travel to such destinations, a Jeep!"
"I surfed and searched for Wranglers, CJ 5's and 7's, Grand Cherokees, Cherokees
and come to the solution that a Wrangler could be the best [to] transport our dog,
and driving in winter time." Markus promptly found a Wrangler in Europe and,
after his vacation, arranged a test drive with his wife, but found it to be in poor
condition for the asking price. They also test drove an Opel Frontera and felt
more comfortable, though for Markus it lacked the 'cool' factor.
After also trying two cherokees,
Markus' friend Jay, who lives in
Charlotte, North Carolina, suggested an
FSJ, or a Range Rover. Markus
remembered the appeal of an american
V8, with its distinct sound, and came to
the conclusion he needed a toy to play
with. One of his specifications being that
the truck would be low enough for Gino
to jump in. "Night by night I surfed
through the internet to check the market
for Grand Wagoneers and Cherokee
Chiefs." He found a few across his
continent, but wasn't pleased with their
condition or pricetag, while also looking
into shipment to Austria, not to mention
government registration. From the
austrian branch of the Eurotaxglass
organization Markus recieved word that
he would be able to register a jeep built
in 1982 or earlier. Now he knew exactly
what he was looking for.
"Google and Craigslist [were] my best friends including the IFSJA (International
Full Size Jeep Association) for endless nights." Markus says he soon got a feel for
searching listings, which were promising or not. Many sellers became less than
enthusiastic when they learned where he resides, but the IFSJA, he says, was pivotal
in continuing his search. "By the way, I had often [a] headache from reading in the
Forums in english, because all the members working with the 'technical' words, and
I had to learn what they mean."
Finally in Hoyt, Kansas he found exactly
what he was looking for. A 1983 Black, 360
AMC, Cherokee Chief with less than
Luckily the seller was willing to negotiate
with Markus, who was very grateful. He
arranged to have the Chief picked up in
Kansas, shipped by truck to Houston, Texas,
sailed across the ocean to Germany and,
finally, delivered to his door.
Markus used a few methods to solve his
global problem. He used
kcautoappraisal.com to find a guy called
Greg Denk, who, Markus says, did a perfect
job on his Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI).
Transglobal-logistics.eu helped determine
shipping, along with marinetraffic.com to
rack the Chief while at sea. The shipping
company couldn't give Markus an exact
delivery date, so he monitored his Jeep's
progress day by day.
"The complete shipping including door to
door lasted six weeks." Once grounded in
Germany Markus received an estimated
delivery date of July 3rd, 2012 and that
morning at 6:45 the driver called to let him
know he was around the corner.
The Chief arrives.
With a lot of luck, he says, and the last drops of gas Markus started the Chief in
front of his house. "The truck driver was very friendly, but he was not informed that
this old black thing is not remains, no, it is a pearl!"
Upon arrival Markus said, "the feeling was mixed, I was very nervous, but I [knew],
yes, it is what I wanted.
In the next 6-8 months Markus hopes to
make his Chief road worthy. In order to
do that he still needs to replace the
steering ball joints, brake lines, find a
grill and front bumper and touch up
some paint among other things. But he
seems to remain confident in his
Cherokee Chief's restoration after
shipping it roughly halfway around the
world. It's safe to say, the Chief isn't in
By: Tom Smith
Tom Smith studies Film, Photography
and the Visual Arts at Ithaca College's
Roy H. Park School of Communications.
Halfway around the world Markus Cizek's
Cherokee Chief reaches its proud owner.
"I got an idea:
we need ... a
(from top): Gino and the
Jeep; A top view of the
Chief; Under the hood.
"The complete shipping
... lasted six weeks."