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Jeep Adventures: Million Dollar Point

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published on 23rd July 2014 by Steve Whitaker
Can you imagine snorkelling over entire rusting Jeeps, picking your way carefully over the remains?

Think about it: steering wheels remain embedded in the reef; unbroken coke bottles lie on the sea bed, alongside a huge amount of twisted rusted metal.

And although you won’t find any Kahn Jeeps (thankfully) you will have a great time scavenging for souvenirs, as long as you manage to avoid getting cut as you make your way around an incredible historical junkyard.

We are talking about million dollar point in Vanuatu, officially the Republic of Vanuatu, an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean.

Like most of Vanuatu, Espirutu Santo in the northern chain of islands, was occupied by the American military during WWII to launch their attacks on the Japanese in the Pacific. On their departure from the island they left behind infrastructure like roads and runways. The biggest legacy, however, is Million Dollar Point.

The area is historically fascinating, but also what some would describe as a monument to greed and stupidity. This is because the American bases were full of Jeeps, furniture and clothing and all that had been required to sustain the troops. A decision had been taken that this was not going to be repatriated, and that the British and French military could buy it all at rock bottom prices. The British and French simply refused an offer to pay 6 cents in the dollar for everything, possibly thinking they could eventually get everything for nothing.

The Americans were none too impressed with this, and came up with another option in a moment of madness. They took all the Jeeps and other equipment to a wharf on the south side of Santo. The army drove the Jeeps into the sea, and then used bulldozers to dump the rest over the end of the wharf, before they were also driven into the sea. Millions of dollars of goods were destroyed over a period of two days, contaminating the sea with fuel, rubber, metal and Coca Cola, although some was recovered when the Americans had left.

There are now discussions, sixty years later, of the American military returning to clean up the area. This obviously is a good thing, but Million Dollar Point is one of the most amazing places a Jeep enthusiast can go to, a memorial to political madness, but a historical treasure trove.

If you can’t make it all the way to Vanuatu you could call in at our showrooms in Leeds and Bradford, or visit the boutique on the Kings Road in London and you’ll be treated to a 21st century treasure trove in the form of a number of CJ 300 Chelsea Jeeps and much, much more!
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