RustyButTrusty Goes to Peru!

The team at RustyButTrusty (okay, it’s a team of one, plus the fiance) has just returned from Peru, and we thought it would be interesting to share some of the vehicles still in daily use, some even earning their keep as taxis. A couple of interesting things I noticed:

  • There are a fair amount of classics in daily use. Some of the cars I saw but was not able to catch on camera include various older Opels, many Peugeot 404s and a couple of 504 wagons, first-generation European Ford Escorts, late 60s Hillman Hunter sedans and wagons, and a Fiat 1500 sedan. Beetles are also dead-common, and I even spotted a couple that appeared to have 4-doors. There are also many oddball Japanese sedans sporting frameless doors and coupe-like rooflines – and Japanese cars old and new are what dominate the street there.
  • Cross-ply tires are still in use. I had no idea they were used except for collector cars, and I’m not sure why they’re on cars here – they must be more affordable.
  • This is maybe less surprising, but older cars are more common in some cities than others. While we saw few old cars in Cuzco, wealthier cities such as Arequipa and Lima seemed to have more. Trujillo disproved my theory about greater wealth being correlated to higher survival rates, since Trujillo was apparently less, but has many older cars.

Anyway, let’s move on to some of the snaps I did get:

Peru taxis

Typical street scene in Arequipa. This was worse than usual since there was a strike around the Plaza de Armas, so all the streets a block off of the plaza were closed. You can see most of the taxis here are Daewoo Ticos – if you do a Google search for those, one of the first results will explain why I refused to ride in a Tico taxi. Other cars put into taxi duty included Toyota Proboxes & Corollas, compact Nissan wagons, Nissan Micras, a Geo Metro, a Renault 5, various old American boats, and pretty much anything else with 4 seats.

1940s Chevrolet sedan

This 1940s Chevrolet was on the street in Arequipa. One of the doors was not entirely closed, and it certainly didn’t look to be in daily use. That said, it wasn’t in bad shape, and was parked near the Pontiac below.

1950s Pontiac sedan

I didn’t see many cars on the street this old, but with this 1950s Pontiac and the Chevy parked end-to-end, they must be owned by an Arequipan enthusiast. There’s definitely some level of old-car enthusiasm, since there’s even a car museum in Lima.

1980s VW Gol

This was for sale near the two above. The VW Gol is a Brazilian built version of the first-generation Golf/Rabbit, and this is the coupe. While it looks something like the first-gen Scirocco, but has more compact dimensions. Most were more beat-up than this one, except one excellent example I spotted later that day.

Mini Moke

Saw this Mini Moke near the Mirador in the Yanahuara district of Arequipa. A really nice classic Mini also drove by, but was out of range before I had my camera. What a fantastic car for the dry climate of Peru.

Triumph Herald

Spotted this Triumph Herald with a Mercedes W114 parked next to it off the Avenida Arequipa in Lima. Looked like it had been parked a while, but was not out of the question to be a driver. Of course, who knows what the powertrain was – many older US cars were fitted with manual transmissions and diesel engines, so this could have suffered a similar fate.

1960s Dodge taxi

Scary/cool looking 1960s Chrysler product, still serving as a cab. Most of these older American boats served as jitneys out to the poor port neighborhood of Callao, and seemed to run straight pipes, making them stupidly noisy.

Datsun Laurel

This Datsun Laurel is just an example of the many weird JDM cars in Peru. Not sure where these came from, or whether they were actually sold new in Peru. Taxis, at least, seemed to have Japanese language dealer stickers on them – maybe they’re brought over from Okinawa?

Fiat 850

This was the second of two Fiat 850 sedans we saw in Lima. Fortunately, the old person driving this one was going pretty slow, so I caught it. I’d guess Fiats were once more common in Peru – possibly even built somewhere on the continent?

Toyota Corona taxi

Saw plenty of these Toyotas, as well as the newer Coronas from the 70s. But this was the first one of this generation I saw serving as a cab (in Trujillo). Well, actually, not at this moment – driver was snoozing in the passenger seat. Something came out particularly well in this picture – not quite sure what it is, but the colors look pretty cool. Check out the cross-plies on this thing – I guess it would make driving it a bit more interesting.

Datsun PL620 roach coach

Pretty cool to see these old cars at work in Trujillo. This Datsun PL620 was a full-on collapsible roach coach, complete with sidewalk eating counter and kitchen in the bed. Owner was sitting in there, frying up something between his knees.

Fiat 125

Saw this Fiat 125 (or Lada?) in the street in Trujillo and thought of a certain shopmate’s Fiat. All I’m saying is, maybe this is a good avenue to take!

VW Passat

Took a stealth pic of this first-generation VW Passat near the Plaza de Armas in Trujillo. There were quite a few of these around, probably Brazilian built, and I even saw one serving as a cab.

Ford Taunus

Finally, there were quite a few Ford Taunuses from the early 60s in Trujillo. This was the only one I was able to catch – I’m not sure what Ford’s strategy was in south America, if it was even theirs to choose, but there were both US and German market Fords from this era on the road. Similarly, I saw both Euro and US-market Ford Escorts on the road.


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