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The saga of the stainless-steel Jeep

by Bill Cawthon on

AutoWeek is carrying the story of Peter Greenberg and his stainless steel Jeep. Greenberg, travel editor for CBS News and the founder of, spent more than four years importing a custom-made-in-the-Philippines Jeep to the United States.

The story begins in 1984, when Greenberg went to Manila to interview Ferdinand Marcos, then president of the Philippines. During a break in the interview, Greenberg noticed Marcos’ custom-made, stainless steel Jeep gleaming in the palace driveway. After President Marcos returned, Greenberg inquired about the vehicle and Marcos arranged for the purchase of a copy for Greenberg.

Acquiring the vehicle was the easy part: the problems began when Greenberg tried to bring the custom Jeep into the United States. It took four years, a $30,000 bond (later returned), and the personal intercession of the head of U.S. Customs for Greenberg to take possession of his Jeep and, even then, he got only the body: Customs required that the frame be crushed because it was unsafe (and government property). The original U.S. Army frame had been spot-welded numerous times before the body was put on top of it

Greenberg still has the Jeep, which now rides on a 1953 Willys CJ frame and has an engine (the article calls it a 1955 Willys V8), but he has never driven it. Greenberg regards it as a piece of art.

For the complete story, read the article at

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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