It has long been a matter of faith among 4×4 fanciers that the CJ3A and CJ3B Stainless Steel repro bodies were no longer available from the Philippines. This is almost, but not quite, true. The last major CJ3A and CJ3B Stainless Steel body builder shut down in September of 2010. What happened? It can very easily be tracked back to about 12 years ago when the Filipino auto dealers increased importing used Japanese cars with air conditioning. Who’s to blame anyone that wants to switch from an open air CJ3A or CJ3B “owner jeep” to an air conditioned sedan when it is 95 degrees and 85% humidity out?
In the mid ’90s, only the wealthy rode around in an air conditioned sedan. Anyone else who could afford wheels drove a CJ3A or CJ3B “owner jeep.” These were hand-crafted replica bodies mounted on 2WD used Japanese chassis. The famous “All Stainless Steel” models developed due to the rust problem with the high humidity and the rust problem in the Philippines. I began an immediate love affair with the hand-crafted Stainless Steel “owner jeep” upon my first visit to the Philippines. After 14 visits to the P.I. over the past 18 years, my affection has not dimmed. My hat is off to the Filipino craftsmen!
Upon my first visit to San Pablo City, there seemed to be a body builder on every corner. In fact, there were 65 shops hand-crafting mostly CJ3A “owner jeep” or some variation of the 3A and 3B. Some could build one per month; some could do four per month and the largest 35 per month! In the late ’90s I observed the beginning of the avalanche of cheap air conditioned cars. It was the beginning of the end for the “Hand-Crafted Stainless Steel” 3A and 3B as we have known them. Almost! My first effort at importing the SST CJ3A was 12 years ago. When they were all sold, I just went on to other things and let the importing drop.
Over the years I have received many, many calls for the Stainless Steel bodies and parts. In January 2009 I decided to give it another shot. Guess what? All the SST body builders but one (now closed) had gone out of business leaving a dying, but not quite dead industry. Using my past experience and contacts of my 14 visits to P.I., as well as being married for 20 years to a lovely Filipina, I went back to work. I was fortunate to have someone in the P.I. that located a 3rd generation SST “jeep” craftsman with whom I could work to grow this new venture.
We have now brought in not only the CJ3A and the CJ3B Stainless Steel body kits, but a good assortment of parts as well. To learn more, call Del@OMC 1-800-822-6313 in Myrtle Creek, Oregon.