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Although the creation of the JEEPNEY itself was not the work of a well known manufacturer, it deserves recognition for the ingenuity behind its conception.

The JEEPNEY came about as a result of the Allied campaign to free the Phillippines from the Japanese in WWII.

When hostilities ended in 1945, General MacArthur departed with his forces, leaving behind a quantity of 'war surplus' items that included a number of Willys Jeeps.

Their simple construction, ease of repair and ruggedness was soon exploited in a country where it is too hot to ride a bicycle for any length of time and where public transport was virtually non-existant.

The Jeep certainly had the performance, although its miniscule size presented a problem. But not for long!

The Jeeps were taken apart, their chassis lengthened and they were fitted with boxy station car type bodies to make them into people carriers.

The original drab olive paintwork gave way to flambouyant rainbow hues and bodies became adorned with slogans of unlimited variation.

Like motorists all over the world, they usually have the pet name given to them by their driver painted in a prominent position, plus the macho name that driver's give themselves. But there are also comments that give advice to other drivers, sometimes hilarious, sometimes just plain rude and comments with religious messages. There is no limit!

Bonnets are covered in chromium plated ornaments that can feature anything from a cavalry charge with horses to a dragon or a fighting cock and body panels have elaborate chrome flashes over them.

The results are rolling works of art.

Running on set routes, they pick-up and drop off passengers at any point along those routes for a small fee and for fifty million filipino's they are more a way of life than any boring bus could ever be.

In 1984, there were 200,000 Jeepney's in the metropolitan area of Manila and all attempts to ban it in favour of more efficient forms of transport have been thwarted as soon as they are announced.

Although largely hand-built and decorated to traditional designs, they are built along conventional assembly line methods like their much larger counterparts in Detroit.

A work force of 1500 at Francisco Motors in Manila turn out 4,000 Jeepney's each year in Basic, Deluxe and Super Deluxe styles with regular updates and the number of chrome ornaments on the bonnet indicates which of the three types it is.

Source: Reg J. Prosser

Models produced by Jeepney

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