I didn't find a lot of flatfender Jeeps on my 1997 visit to Venezuela. Thedevelopment of the domestic oil industry was relatively recent, so thereweren't a lot of really old vehicles around. In addition, the fact thatChrysler serviced the market, rather than licencing out the Jeep name,meant there weren't recent models with old body styles, of the sortproduced in Asia or Colombia. The most unique thing about the Venezuelan Jeep population was the large number of long-wheelbase CJ-6s, CJ-8 Scramblers, and even LWB YJ Wranglers.
Click any of my photos for a larger version (90K JPEG).
Me, pretending to be the owner of a long Wrangler.
A CJ-6 equipped for fun, on the beachfront strip in Puerto La Cruz.
The popularity of the long-wheelbase Jeeps makes you wonder why Chrysler never introduced a "Scrangler" version of the YJ in North America, or went ahead with the Dakar 4-door version of the TJ. As of 2002, Daimler-Chrysler is apparently ready to build the TJL long Wrangler in Europe and perhaps in North America.
A shiny state police YJ on the narrow streets of colonial Barcelona.
The hard-working Scrangler as commercial vehicle.
Unlike the North American CJ-8 Scrambler (1981-86), or other recentJeep models here, many of the long-wheelbase Jeeps in Venezuela havesteel hardtops, sometimes in panel-truck style with no side windows. The rear doors are usually swinging doors rather than tailgates, and they often have side-bench seats in the back.
The economic recession in Venezuela (resulting from falling oilprices) resulted in a lot of big construction projects sittingunfinished. It probably also accounts for Jeep dealers with no Jeeps instock, and no sign of the TJ as of 1999. However, four-wheel-drive vehicles of every make are popular there, and there are plenty of CJ-5s, CJ-7s and YJ's on the road, and quite a few Grand Cherokees. Also very noticeable is the large number of 70's-80's vintage full-size Wagoneers (25K JPEG) and J-series trucks.
Sunday finds a YJ at the beach in Lecheria.
And a well-used Scrangler at church in Barcelona (it has the Wrangler logo on the hood).
Some of the CJ's and YJ's have lifts installed, but the most commonmodification, in the cities at least, is longer axles for the low, widelook.
So, what about in the countryside? I had read that for 70 cents U.S.,you could get a 45-minute Jeep ride from the bus terminal in Puerto LaCruz, up into the coffee-producing mountains of Los Altos. The priceturned out to be accurate, but not the capital "J" -- the vehicles wereall Land Cruisers (carrying up to 12 passengers). We did take the dizzyingtrip, and we did a lot of walking up there (including right up the burrotrails well beyond the reach of any vehicle, probably including a CJ). But we didn't have any better luck as far as finding flat-fenders. Wedid run across an old Willys wagon, the only one I saw in Venezuela. -- Derek Redmond
Alejandro Uribe of Caracas, says you have to know whereto look to find the older Jeeps, and has sent some photos of More Jeeps in Venezuela.
Alejandro also says, "Here, what you call CJ-8 or Scrambler, wascalled a CJ-7 long, and always came with a steel hard top (maybe the armyasked for some soft tops). The same applies to the Wranglers -- therewere short or long ones, and the name YJ is not very well known. In1990 they introduced "La Bestia", that was a normal Wrangler with afiberglass top and the 4.0L motor. The steel hard top became onlyavailable on the long Wrangler. In the last three years, the productionof Jeeps (YJ's) has been greatly reduced, and since '95 it came to ahalt, only selling previously assembled vehicles."
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