Raffle features Jeep enthusiasts’ Holy Grail, honors late owner’s memory

WILMINGTON- Holy Grail. Unicorn. Unobtanium. Hen’s teeth. That’s what Jeep enthusiasts have called the early-1990s Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ fitted with a manual transmission.  Some lucky raffle ticket buyer will be driving one of these rare four-wheel drive classics home next month. 
The pristine 1994 Grand Cherokee, currently on display at Wahoo’s Eatery at the corner of Route 9 and Whites Road, was donated by Dover resident Angela Anstatt.  With just over 38,600 miles on the odometer, the vehicle is a real time machine.  According to Jalopnik.com Jeep enthusiast David Tracy, only about 1,500 Grand Cherokees made during this era were produced with a manual transmission. 
The Jeep originally belonged to Anstatt’s son, Bruce Anstatt.  Many Deerfield Valley residents  remember Bruce Anstatt - a well-liked local athlete and, at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, usually the tallest guy in the room.  
Bruce Anstatt was an active local volunteer, serving on Deerfield Valley Rescue and Dover Fire Department.  A skier since the age of 2, and later a snowboarder, while he was at the University of Vermont he started the university’s first intercollegiate snowboarding series.  At that time, snowboarding was a new sport, and many ski areas didn’t allow snowboarders on ski trails. Anstatt helped push resorts to open their slopes to snowboarders.   
In January 1994, at age 25, Bruce was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  In May, while he was undergoing treatment, he bought his dream car - a loaded 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  “He saved and saved and saved up for the Jeep,” Angela Anstatt says.  “He wanted everything on it.  I remember we went to Keene to buy it, but he hadn’t figured in the cost of taxes - we were putting all our quarters and pennies on the table.” 
Bruce enjoyed his new Jeep through the summer and fall of 1994.  But in early December, he died from the disease, and his treasured Jeep went into storage.  “I just couldn’t turn around and sell it or give it away,” Angela Anstatt says.  “So it has been in a heated garage for the last 27 years.  But finally, I just needed the space and it seemed a shame to just let it go.”
Recently, Anstatt had a mechanic give the vehicle a clean bill of health, put a new battery in it, and started looking for a way that the car could benefit someone in the valley.  She mentioned to Janet Boyd that she really wanted the Jeep to benefit someone in the valley.  
“She said she knew just what to do!” Anstatt says.
Boyd says the two discussed several possibilities, and eventually decided to raffle the car and split the proceeds between the Guy Hawkins Cancer Relief Fund and the Old School Community Center.  The Guy Hawkins Fund helps families in the valley with cancer treatment-related expenses.   The Old School Community Center, located in the former Wilmington High School building, has several critical needs, including an upcoming boiler replacement. 
Anstatt says she’s thrilled that her son’s car will be able to help so many, and she hopes the winner will be someone in the valley who really needs a good vehicle and will love it as much as her son did.  She says Bruce would also be pleased his Jeep will help people in the Deerfield Valley.  
“This would really make Bruce happy,” she said.  “He’d be thrilled if it went to someone in the valley.  He really loved the valley and wouldn’t have lived anywhere else.”
The lucky winner will drive home a 1994 Jeep that’s essentially new, with dealer options that include a towing package and an offroad package.   
 “It’ a great car,” Anstatt says. “It doesn’t have a scratch on it.  Even the tires are new.”
Tickets for the July 6 drawing are $20 each, or six for $100.  Tickets are available at https://www.osccvt.com/jeep-raffle-ticket.

The Deerfield Valley News

797 VT Route 100 North
Wilmington, VT 05363

Phone: 802-464-3388
Fax: 802-464-7255

Comment Here