Saturday, August 09, 2008


Janis Joplin's old song, "Mercedes Benz" always comes to mind whenever I see one of these vintage Toyota Land Cruisers, circa 1970s.

I may seem like someone with a peculiar taste for cars but if you lived in Metro Manila in which some streets can get suddenly flooded even with just a few minutes of continuous rainfall, having one of these modified 4x4 Land Cruisers with hydraulic supension can be a wondrous joy.

A fully restored edition, if you can find one for sale, usually costs around P450,000. However, I was warned by someone who owns one that it isn't a vehicle that can be parked just about anywhere unattended. Apparently, there has been a growing demand for its parts that these Toyota Land Cruisers have become a prized target by local carnappers.

Nevertheless, I'd love to have one. So, Lord, won't you buy me one ... please.

This photograph taken yesterday shows the prices of gas in Metro Manila as of 8/8/08.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 1:48 PM


Blogger ka tony said...

Oh Lord, please buy our friend Eric a Toyota Land Cruiser?
His friends all drive SUVs, he must have offense.
Worked hard all his lifetime, no help from Uncle Sam.
So Lord, wont you buy him a Toyota Land Cruiser?

Oh Lord, wont you buy him a huge "Plasma TV?"
Waiting for his dollars is trying to find him.
He'll wait for delivery today or it'll be THREE!
So Lord, wont you buy him a huge "Plasma TV."

Oh Lord, wont you buy him a night on the town?
We're counting on you Lord, please don't let Eric down.
Prove that you love him and pay for the all his drinks around.
Oh Lord, wont you buy him The San Miguel Brewery!

Everybody Now!!!
Oh Lord, wont you buy Eric a Toyota Land Cruiser?
His friends all ride jeepneys, you must make him "out stand"
He worked hard all his lifetime no help from "Pinas"
So oh Lord, wont you buy Eric a Toyota Land Cruiser?

That's it! good luck ...he, he, he,
ka tony

August 09, 2008 4:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be a great car to beat the flooded streets of Manila - orig pa :)

Whatever happened to the stainless steel jeeps industry in Pinas. I knew all that was needed was a refurbished corolla engine and it can be fitted with a stainless steel jeep body. Talk about ingenuity heheh :)

August 09, 2008 8:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Awwwright! Love it, Ka Tony. Now I'm sure the Lord will hear my plea ... hahaha!

By the way, I didn't realize that many folks in the State are also into souping up this particular old Land Cruisers.

August 09, 2008 9:01 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, BW! Gosh, I'd be so confident driving out in the rain with this Toyota :)

Those all stainless steel jeepneys had been banned. The reflection it creates can blind other motorists, and cause serious accidents. I was once behind a partly stainless steel jeepney one sunny afternoon. I had no other choice but to pull over and let it move on way ahead of me.

August 09, 2008 9:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PHP58/liter of gas! That's almost PHP220/gallon or at the exchange rate of PHP44 to 1USD that's about $5/gal! Is there something wrong with my calculation?

Yesterday I filled up at a nearby Costco and my wallet was screaming daylight robbery when I paid $4/gal! How does an ordinary wage earner make it in Pinas?

Tama ba na PHP58/liter ang gas sa atin? Hindi kaya presyo ng Vodka yan LOL.

August 09, 2008 9:08 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Nothing wrong, bertN. It's just about right -- approximately five dollars per gallon. Now, this should explain why I rarely drive these days. I've learned to get accustomed to commuting ... hehehe!

The price of gas is just outrageous! But this Toyota Land Cruiser runs on diesel which is cheaper than regular gasoline so, I can continue dreaming for one ... hehehe.

August 09, 2008 9:27 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange but the reverse is true here in the US; Diesel more expensive the gasoline! It's all about demand.

August 10, 2008 12:17 AM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Yeah those Toyota Land Cruisers are tough, originally the SUV of choice in the Philippines along with the locally manufactured Ford Fiera. I drove the Land Cruisers when I was with the Govt. TV station in the 70's. We took them anywhere and everywhere in the archipelago and yeah, they are work mules alright! A li'l bit cramp in the back and you can feel every single bump on the road with a suspension system fitted for our local road conditions. It also survived a couple of "accidental" runs into the salt beds alongside the old Sucat Road in Paranaque!
What about an amphibious version of a diesel powered Zafiro stainless steel Jeep from Malabon?
Calling on: Sarao Motors, Francisco Motors, Zafiro and Tabing stainless steel Jeep body manufacturers! Think global warming, with little islands in the Pacific slowly disappearing from the ocean swelling up due to arctic ice melting. I like Ka Tonying's version of Janis Joplin's and the Big Brother Holding Co. famous song.

August 10, 2008 12:35 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Thanks Eric,

Glad you like it, kidding aside we all hope you'll have one. It'll be an ideal transportation for what you are doing against; rain, shine, terrain, flood, smog, buses, jeepneys, kalesas, tricycle, motorsiklo, bisekleta, kariton, etc...

As far as I remember, during my advertising years doing commercials for General Motors, we have to study the competition, one of them was Toyota. Just like what this Japanese gentleman name Honda did, dismantled a Harley Davidson Bike, studied the specs, replaced most of its part with more affordable ones...came up with his HONDA motorcycle!

The Japanese occupation of the Philippines in WW II, where they obtained a Bantam Mk II, and brought it to their country. Japanese military asked Toyota to make a similar vehicle. During the Korean War there was a demand for a military light utility vehicle. The U.S. government ordered military vehicles with WW II Willy's format and asked Toyota to produce them. While we are already using our converted "WW II veteran Willy's Jeep" to passenger "jeepneys."

Latter, not only Toyota mastered that art of making utility vehicles, they studied the British Land Cruiser add on some of its specs & features in theirs. Right now, I don't know the percentage of Toyota's share in the Land Cruiser's market, specially with their new 200 "Roraima."

Eric, can you imagine the opportunity Philippines lost to be able to produce vehicles after WW II? Dito sa Tate, like you said there are people souping their SUVs. But because of high gas prices & not to mention the high cost of living related to the situation, medyo wala na silang gana.

Would you believe my Jewish friend who's a pawn shop owner, his business is doing very, very well! He told me that people are pawning what they have & use the money for GAS! This is worst than the "great depression of the 1920s" For these reason, I would like to thank & congratulate our beloved & intelligent president Mr. george bush!

I'll continue singing Janis Joplin's song for you Eric. Have a great weekend,
ka tony

August 10, 2008 2:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't know J Joplin sang that commercial song for MBenz.

Philex and Baguio Gold Mines in Benguet owned few of those and seen them running around in Baguio in the mid-60's. They disappeared for some reason just like VW's "the thing". Nice to see one again and that photo shows it's impeccable shape.

Never understood why diesel is cheap in the Philippines yet it's hovering to almost five dollars a gallon in the US.

Cheers and goodhealth to you.

August 10, 2008 2:24 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Besides the jeepney and commercial trucking and bus operators, I think many local folks go for diesel engines because they are in fact cheaper in price, Anonymous. Whereas in the States, even though diesel is cheapers, many prefer gas engines. I'm not well-versed in the mechanics of automotive engines but I heard that a published study in the scientific journal Particle & Fibre Toxicology which claim that constant exposure to diesel fumes can adversely affect the brain.

According to a study by Dutch researcher Paul Borm of Zuyd University, a stress response in the brain (which may cause adverse longterm effects on the brain function) is triggered by constant inhalation of diesel fumes.

Supposedly, minute particles of soot, or nano particles, travel from the nasal passages and then lodge in the brain. Continued research, however, is needed to further determine the clinical effect of this stress and its impact on verbal and non-verbal intelligence or memory abilities.

I once blogged about this:

August 10, 2008 7:25 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I am planning on memorizing Ka Tony's version of "Mercedes Benz," Pete. I bet the Lord will be so impressed at my singing it on a regular basis that my wish will eventually be granted ... hehehe!

Sadly, Sarao Motors closed its door for good a couple of years ago. Not sure about the other jeep body and engine builders, though. One or two may still be around.

Wow! So you had your share of thrills driving around in one of these Land Cruisers, eh? They do look like tough work horses! Yes, I was told it can get bumpy riding one of these :)

I don't have the heart to drive a big bike, Pete, so this is the closest I could get to one ... hehehe.

August 10, 2008 7:32 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

What? Is the price of gas situation in the States that bad? Perhaps, some folks especially those in the suburbs have no other means but to drive their own vehicles. Darn :(

The brand new Toyota Land Cruisers and Prado are considered luxury SUVs around here, Ka Tony. I haven't seen one being driven off-road for that matter ... hehehe.

There are also a handful of imported Seqouia and the even more luxurious Lexus that I see around town, but haven't seen a 200 Roraima (only on YouTube - ). It's crawl control system technology is awesome!

Many thanks for the short history on utility vehicles. You're right, we could've made a killing building them for the foreign market.

I had an uncle in Subic who made a fortune on those surplus G.I. jeeps after the war.

August 10, 2008 7:47 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

There are even nicer looking old Toyotas than in the photo above, TruBlue. Their owners truly put in a lot of time, effort and money to modify them. I had seen an old rusty one, but a couple of months later, a body shop in Banawe had turned it into one fine looking car. Beautiful, in fact.

Yes, a cousin told me that they were quite plentiful during the '70s, too. But I guess those used imported Mitsubishi Pajeros from Japan took over to capture the Pinoys' fancy.

Thanks and good heath to you, too, TruBlue!

August 10, 2008 7:54 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

The economic situation here in the U.S. is really bad Eric. Not only the price of gas & commodities that are related to it, but millions of home owners who refinanced their property (some refinanced twice, or even three times), their amortization went up, they can't afford the monthly payment anymore. Unfortunately the value of houses went down in the US, specially California. Home owners find it hard to sell their property for the value that they want or even the price they paid for.

Eric, homeowners who can't pay their high monthly amortization at the same time can't even sell their property to pay the loan & bank's interest, a lot of them left abandoned their home!

Apartment rentals went up, for there are a lot of ex-home owners, are now apartment dwellers.

So sad, the reason why I want to congratulate our beloved & intelligent president mr. george bush for exceeding the hardship of the "depression era of 1920s."

I like to say hello & thank you Eric & to my good friend Ka Peter who I respect so much...Ka Peter kamusta na lang,
ka tony

August 10, 2008 3:16 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The current economic situation in the States is truly frightful especially for the middle class caught without any substantial savings, Ka Tony.

I don't know, I am one of those who had always questioned the virtue of and the hype behind home ownership. I've seen more people living on hand-to-mouth basis because of the expenditures involved in owning a house. Add to this dilemma the monthly credit card payments that must be paid for promptly, otherwise the staggering interest can only worsen things as they are.

America, as it is now, reminds me of America during the older Bush's final years at the White House when the economic landscape was so bleak that only a handful of Manhattan folks paid attention to his motorcade that passed on 34th Street. Sure enough, Bill Clinton took over soon afterwards.

I'm no political pundit but I'd like to think that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq is a significant factor in the alarming decline of the American economy.

Come to think of it, during the '30s depression era, the Philippines on the other hand, was doing very well.

Ka Peter has just returned from his "easy rider" adventure to Canada. You may want to see some of the photos he took:

Hope the economy has not adversely affected you and your family, Ka Tony.

August 10, 2008 5:05 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello fellow Land Cruiser lover. I'm having our 1983 FJ40 Land Cruiser restored. We had a 1978 Land Cruiser but it fell into a ravine in Palawan so wala na sya. Di na namin binuhay pa. I'm having a bit of difficulty finding parts kasi ayoko naman ng surplus. Madaling masira. I'll take a picture for you. Btw, its fire-engine red!! Tamang tama nga sya sa baha. Tagline ng Land Cruiser dati..When there is no road, the Land Cruiser makes its own...o di ba ang taray.

August 10, 2008 5:27 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ay, kainggit naman, Cookie! But hey, in case the Lord smiles down on me and grants my wish, I will have you as my buddy in souping up our Land Cruisers! Will go around town searching for genuime Toyota parts :)

Fire engine red with a white top? Awesome! Just the other day I saw a silver with a white top. Pretty!

Can't wait to see a picture of your Land Cruiser, Cookie!

August 11, 2008 7:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again!! I wrote about it na. Check this out

August 13, 2008 10:13 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I saw Red, Cookie! I can just imagine how even more gorgeous this 4x4 will look after you've done modifying it.

Please, please keep us posted of your progress with Red. Keep a journal to share with your readers or something ... hehehe. Para pag nagroon din ako, alam ko na kung anong gagawin at saan mamimili ng mga piyesa :)

Thanks, Cookie!

August 13, 2008 12:18 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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