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A vintage US Army Jeep – the ancestor of the jeepney

May 2023
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We were visiting the studio of a friend last weekend and learned that he was a history buff. He did historical reenactments as well as researched on militaria including the uniforms worn by combatants in World War II. The latter was part of his work towards more accurate uniforms being used for period films. A surprise for us was that he also collected vintage cars that included two US Army Jeeps and a truck that were parked in their garage.

A US Army Jeep greeted us as we entered their studio premises

The 4-cylinder engine of the Jeep

Another view of the engine. Notice, too, the front grill of the vehicle.

A second jeepney is parked behind the first. This second one had a canvass top on and a radio antenna that’s supposed to be original.

There’s the steering wheel and the machine gun mount.¬†

The wipers whose design was retained by the jeepneys

I had always wanted to see an intact specimen of this jeep. The surplus units eventually were modified or customized to become the first jeepneys that seated 4 to 6 passengers at the back (they were shorter back then. The designs were based on the auto calesa, which were cars that were modified to become public transport vehicles with bench seats at the back. The rest, as they say, is history and we now still have what are termed as conventional jeepneys that now seat 16 to 24 passengers at the back of the driver.


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