By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

At first sight, this stainless steel Jeep body might strike you as nothing more than a novel idea to curb your flat-fender’s rust habit. But there’s actually a lot more to the story, which begins in the Second World War. Complete with terribly executed vertical cellphone photos, this stainless steel flattie body on eBay helps tell the story.

Roughly 640,000 Jeeps were built by Willys-Overland and Ford for the WWII effort, and these vehicles served a myriad of purposes from transport, to reconnaissance, supplying, cable-laying, etc. It didn’t make sense at the time for the government to ship all these Jeeps back home after the war ended, and many were left overseas. One such nation was the Philippines, where hundreds of surplus Jeeps were sold or given to the Filipinos, who rapidly embraced and modified Jeeps to serve all sorts of purposes. In addition to general transportation and farming, some Jeeps were also chopped up and extended for use in public transportation. The newly found “Jeepney” became a template for public transportation ever since, and the industry is recognized and regulated by the government today.

With utility on its side, and a lead role in the liberation of the Philippines, the Jeep became and endeared symbol in Philippine culture. But by this time, original WWII Jeeps were beginning to show their age and deteriorate in the damp Philippine climate — hence the birth of the stainless steel flat-fender body.

These stainless flatties are not quite as rare as they’re made out to be. On the forum titled eWillys, there’s a thread with five pages of stainless Jeeps, with 22 listed for sale on the first page alone. As it turns out, these stainless Jeep bodies became quite popular, supporting a cottage industry of 65 stainless workers in San Pablo City alone, as reported in an article on Hemmings. (For an interesting read, check out this article on AutoWeek detailing Peter Greenberg’s stainless Jeep body that was impounded by U.S. Customs for three years.)

So what’s it worth? Because at the end of the day, a stainless steel flat-fender Jeep in the garage would be pretty badass. The seller is asking $5,500 for the body, which is a little on the high side compared to the others bodies on the eWillys forum. For $4,000 or so, this Jeep would be a better buy, but still a tough pill to swallow, as vintage Jeeps can be bought complete for that kind of money.

Check out the stainless flat-fender Jeep here on eBay.