The CJ3B Page Visits Spain
Part 3: Camprodon
On our trip to Spain so far, we had seen beautiful areas of the Basque country and Burgos province with Iñaki in his CJ-3B (see Part 1: Condado.) Then for a few days we had enjoyed the breathtaking scenery of the Spanish and French mountains, but hadn't spent much time around Jeeps (see Part 2: The Pyrenees.) So Roseanna, Amelia and I were looking forward to the small town of Camprodon, where we had heard we would see old Willys and Viasa Jeeps on the roads every day. The town is the gateway to a lovely agricultural and recreation area known as the Valley of Camprodon in the Catalunya region, less than 100km (60 miles) from the Mediterranean coast (see the map of our route.)
El Pont Nou ("The New Bridge," built in the 12th century) crosses the Ter River (170K JPEG) in the center of Camprodon, and we saw this beautiful landmark before we saw any old Jeeps.
The central shopping district is busy in the summer, but the streets are very narrow so there isn't a lot of room for vehicles. We were looking for Josep Bordas and his wife Gemma, who had told us about Camprodon's Jeeps and offered to show us around.
We soon found Josep and his Jeep -- a Mahindra bought new in the early 1990's. It was originally one of the models imported into Spain with rectangular headlights, but Josep had the dealer replace the grille with the traditional style (100K JPEG).
Josep knew where to look for flatfenders, and outside the tennis club on the east side of town we suddenly saw both a Viasa CJ-3B and a Willys CJ-3A. Further up the street was another Willys -- the diesel-powered ex-military CJ-3A (140K JPEG) of Pepe Macià.
And right next door to the tennis club was a beautifully restored Willys MB. There are several MB's in the area, typically having been used by the Spanish Army following World War II. Here Gemma chats with owner Gabriel Ibañez.
Summer weather means the Jeeps are out, and we even found some in the center of town, being enjoyed by people and dogs (100K JPEG). Many of them now belong to summer residents, so in the winter they're tucked away in their garages.
It was a treat to drive along the tree-lined avenues on the west side of town, hanging out of the Mahindra to snap a photo when we saw a parked high hood like this Bravo, or even an M38A1 (200K JPEG).
The next day we went for a drive through the hills outside of Camprodon, including this spot known as La Roca. Gemma's father Andreu knew where to find Jeeps, and took us up the little winding roads. See also a photo of La Roca during Winter in Camprodon.
This long-wheelbase Avia at a farm in Espinalba is one of many Viasas, Bravos, Willys and Mahindras hiding in the villages, farms and summer houses of the Valley of Camprodon. See Josep's photo of me taking a closer look at the Avia (120K JPEG).
This 1980 Ebro Bravo belongs to Miquel Marcer at Coll del Puig farm. Originally bought by Miquel's father, it's in very original condition and still carries its "Agricola y Ganadera" sticker (50K JPEG) indicating it's a farm vehicle. See also the right side and the rear view showing the stone farmhouse (150K JPEGs).
Señor Jorge Linati from Barcelona has a hillside residence in La Rossa, above the village of Llanars. Part of what brings his family here every summer is their little yellow CJ-3B.
Llanars is home to the beautiful little church of Sant Esteve (150K JPEG), and to the garage of Andreu Carrera, who is one of several mechanics who keep Camprodon's old Jeeps on the road, including this Hurricane-powered LWB Viasa.
Alejandro Cuadrado is another of the local Jeep mechanics, and in his shop in Camprodon (130K JPEG) he keeps his own Willys Viasa CJ-3B, with an enclosure in the rear (180K JPEG) for his hunting dogs. The Jeep is also unusual for its larger Perkins 3150 cc diesel engine (160K JPEG) normally found only in military Jeeps.
Also attached to Alejandro's garage is his unique Museum of La Retirada, dedicated to the escape of Republican fighters into France at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939. Most of the walking routes through the mountains passed through Camprodon.
Talk about service; Josep is watching as mechanic Joan Busquets delivers a Viasa CJ-3B with metal half-doors to the owner after its annual tuneup (100K JPEG). Joan's uncle had a lot to do with starting this Jeep thing in Camprodon when he sold perhaps a hundred surplus Spanish Army Jeeps in the area many years ago.
The Mahindra had its top on now, as rain was threatening. But in fact the rain didn't arrive (and in the end we had only one day of rain in our three weeks in Spain.) We said goodbye to Gemma, and to Camprodon which we now call "Jeep Capital of Spain.".
Thanks to Josep Bordas and his wife Gemma, and her parents Andreu and Carme who were so helpful. We could have spent days more, enjoying the Valley of Camprodon and photographing Jeeps, but we had to return to Bilbao and the Atlantic coast. Continue to Part 4: Bilbao, or return to Part 1: Condado and Part 2: The Pyrenees. -- Derek Redmond
Josep has been continuing to document all the flatfenders in the area -- see The Jeeps of Camprodon. See also our gallery of Josep's photos of Camprodon: Jeep Capital of Spain on CJ3B.info.
See also the history of Jeeps in Spain.
Return to Jeeps Around the World on CJ3B.info.
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Last updated 29 December 2013 by Derek Redmond firstname.lastname@example.org
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