Cars are my passion. Most everyone who
knows me is well aware that I attend as many car events as my schedule
My wife Diana is also an avid car
enthusiast with her own Street Rod, a 1939 Chevy Master 85 powered by a 355
small block, 4L-60 trans and Camaro rear.
Diana and I also enjoy the RV
lifestyle, and we drive our 40 foot Diesel Pusher to several shows, swap
meets, and car events. While attending a show in Daytona Beach, Florida, we
came across something very interesting.
It was a typical car show morning in
the RV Park, with people stirring as the sun came up over the beaches and
began to burn off Daytona’s famous morning haze. As I enjoyed a cup of
Starbucks coffee, I was gazing out the kitchen window of our coach.
Across from our site was an older
Bluebird Wanderlodge, with a trailer in tow. Anyone familiar with motor
coaches knows this upscale brand. But this coach was different. It was a
very early version of today’s masterpieces. So early in fact, it was front
engined. Most all Bluebirds are Diesel Pusher rear engined coaches. This old
coach was in great shape, and sported a license plate from Alaska.
While I watched, several people
gathered around the far side of the coach, and then walked off. A few
minutes later, another small crowd gathered, and then went about their
business. This process kept repeating itself. That could only mean one
thing. This guy had something to look at. Not uncommon at these events. Lots
of great cars and trucks come out of these trailers.
I slipped on my boots, refilled my
Starbucks, and off I went to meet my neighbors and scope out their pride and
joy. As I approached the Bluebird, the only thing I saw was a Jeep Y-J
sitting on the other side of the coach. There had to be more than this to
attract a crowd, especially in the early morning hours. I thought to myself
“What’s so special about a Jeep?”
Then it hit me. This was no ordinary
Y-J. This little beauty was shiny. It was all Stainless Steel. When I say
“All Stainless Steel”, I mean everything that was metal was fabricated from
stainless. The entire body tub, the fenders, the seat frames, the windshield
frame, the grill and bumpers, the tailgate, everything!
I made friends with the owner
immediately. He was a great guy named Arley. He was short, stalky, and
looked as tough as nails. It seems that he and his wife lived in Alaska and
also had a small place in Florida that they visited from time to time. Arley
shared with me that his wife was from the Philippines, and over the years
they would go to visit her family and friends.
It seems that the Jeep became the mode
of transportation in the Philippines after American GI’s left a bunch behind
at the end of WWII. With the high cost of importing parts, these crafty
Philippine guys started hammering out their own brand of sheet metal
replacement parts. These were all hand made!
Arley told me that it took about ten
years to gather all the parts, and then several more years working part time
on this project to complete the Jeep. It was something to see, as the
pictures don’t do it justice.
Arley loved to say that he entered it
in shows hoping to get “Best Paint in Show” awards. He and his Stainless
Jeep will always be remembered by Diana and I, as we reminisce about the
great people and vehicles in this incredible hobby called cars. We just had
to share this little jewel with you.