The "jeepney" is the Filipino version of the "jitney," the taxi/minibus that travels along a fixed route, found in many countries. Legend has it that these stretched jeep/buses were originally built from WWII surplus jeeps. Many of them now have a high hood, although the front grille may not be much like a CJ-3B.
This photo of a well-loaded jeepney was taken by Eddie Foronda.
Jon Paulsen, who lived for five years in the Philippines (and bought his first Jeep there) offers these observations about the jeepneys:
"The original jeepneys were stretched MB's (see an early jeepney photo, 20K JPEG). I suspect many, if
not most, of them are still on the road. When I was there, a
friend was buying one for his father-in-law, so he could be
self-supportive. He said it would cost $20,000 for a used one in decent
shape. The extremely high vehicle prices there, coupled with very low
labor costs and poverty, make any heap worth rebuilding. No such word as
"This Jeepney shot was taken in the 1980's right outside the main gate of the old Subic Naval Station, on Magsiasia Drive, the street that was said to have more bars and clubs than any other in the world! See a larger copy of the photo (50K JPEG).
"See also a shot on Rizal Avenue (60K JPEG), the street said to have the 2nd most bars. These two shots would bring tears to any Real West Coast Sailor's eyes.
"By the way, I often see the nomenclature misused. A 'jeepney' refers only to stretched versions. A normal length one would be called a jeepy, jeep or 'owner.'"
Ver Soriano mentions the unusual terms used in the Philippines to identify military Jeep models: "The MB jeep from WWII was often called 'MacArthur' in honor of General Douglas MacArthur, the M-38A1 was known as 'Eisenhower' in honor of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the M151 was popularly called the 'Kennedy Jeep' by Filipino soldiers, in honor of President John F. Kennedy.
Jon says, "The high hooded design, which most of the jeepneys use now, was probably adapted from the M-606 (military CJ-3B), to provide more room for locally available engines. The jeepneys being manufactured there now are 100% Filipino-made bodies and frames, with Toyota drive train (typically), and to the best of my knowledge they are only available in 2 WD.
"Parts are still readily available in the Philippines for MB's and probably CJ-3B's. A friend of mine who had an MB, fitted it with stainless fenders after a rollover. They cost less than American aftermarket steel. By the way -- all the shiny stuff you see on the jeepneys is stainless... no chrome!"
The photo below by Randy F. Hall shows a classic stainless-bodied jeepney.
Jon comments, "I am told the stainless jeep copy is now a cottage industry in the town of Navotas where a made-to-order product, complete with Toyota engine, starts at 65,000 Pesos. Often these are made in a small one car garage as a family business. Build one, sell one. Build one, sell one. They might make $2000 or 3000 a year and have no vehicle of their own (except maybe for the one that's for sale). Most are owned by the wealthy as a family car, by a business as a pick up truck, or most commonly by an individual who rents it to a driver who uses it as a taxi. The largest manufacturer is a company called Sarao, located near Paranaque."
Some jeepneys travel a long way from home: Paul Seabury took this photo while touring "Autoworld", a classic vehicle museum in Brussels, Belgium. See a larger copy of the photo (90K JPEG).
Also on The CJ3B Page, see Ben Wallace's story of Building a Jeepney -- and bringing it from the Philippines to Texas.
Dual batteries anybody? Here's an example of the extremes in ornamentation and accesssorization on some jeepneys. This photo has popped up on various web pages -- apparently it was taken by Jens Peters and was used in an earlier edition of the Lonely Planet travel guide.
Thanks to Jon Paulsen for the overview of the jeepney. He was back in the Philippines in 2004 and says, "The jeepneys seem quite advanced since I was last there in the late 80's. Most are stainless or a hybrid of stainless/bare galvanized metal." And they're big -- see a 2004 photo taken by Jon (80K JPEG).
Thanks also to Rommel T. Juan, Ver Soriano and Paul Seabury. -- Derek Redmond
Also on The CJ3B Page, see Building a Jeepney, and some Toy Jeepneys.
Elsewhere on the web, see Jeepney Mania.
MDJuan Enterprises is a Filipino manufacturer of replacement steel Jeep bodies.
See more Jeeps Around the World.
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