Another reader let us know of some video of the Jeep Freedom, the potential new mini-SUV by DaimlerChrysler. If you have the VDOLive Player, you can check out the video here.
...``It's the best car ever made,'' gushes Jair Osorio, who stacked mattresses, bed frames and sacks of pots and pans atop a mint-green '59 Willys with fog lights and a thick, black grill guard.
``I've gotten it up to 3,000 pounds of coffee. I've transported 23 people in this car,'' Osorio adds.
Mosquera, the jeep taxi driver, reverently calls the Willys ``the tool of the people.'' Taking a break from unloading a lifetime's belongings at a relative's house that survived the quake, he says, ``It's what puts food on the table.''
It doesn't matter a bit that his Willys goes only 30 miles an hour when floored, Mosquera says.
Many Colombians have a cult-like devotion to the sturdy vehicles. Willys fever reaches raucous heights during annual festivals that draw enthusiasts from around the country. The events' main attraction is the ``jeepado'' at which crowds scream in delight as drivers compete to pilot the most overloaded jeep the farthest -- while doing a wheelie.
Coffee, bananas -- and people -- are among the preferred cargo.
``I've won lots of times,'' brags Luis Alberto Sierra, standing by his firetruck-red '54 model that he uses as a taxi.
He says he once won by distributing 30 people over his jeep's hood, roof, fenders, seats and tail runner. Sierra says his latest conquest -- a half-block wheelie while loaded down with 18 sacks of oranges -- netted him a $500 prize.