Old cars that they still make abroad


By: IOL Motoring Staff

South Africans are no strangers to the idea of a car company building a specific model for somewhat longer than the usual four to seven year life cycle.

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Yup, the Volkswagen T2 Kombi still soldiers on in Brazil, but is likely to be killed soon by new safety legislation.The Hindustan Ambassador is basically a 1957 Morris Oxfort Series III sedan that is still produced in India. Choose between a 53kW 1.8 petrol or 26kW 1.5 diesel. There is also a luxury model that offers a digital clock among other niceties.VWSA exported the Jetta 2 to to China in the early nineties. They loved it so much that they started building it themselves and it still exists today, after a comprehensive facelift with new front and rear ends and a more curved dashboard.The ghost of the 1984 Suzuki Alto still haunts India as the Maruti 800. Perhaps not the safest place to put your family but it sure beats a scooter, or an elephant for that matter.The Renault Clio II lives on in Brazil, where it has just been tarted up to resemble the very latest European Clio, at least at the front end.This Russian go-anywhere compact 4x4 has changed little since it was first launched back in 1977.The Fiat Mille started life as the Uno in Europe back in 1983 and it is still made in Brazil today. They gave it a facelift a few years ago and even tried to flog them in South Africa for a brief while in 2007. Thankfully that fling was brief.The Nissan Tsuru is a 1991 North American market Sentra (SA had the European Sunny model) that still serves as a popular runabout and taxicab in Mexico.This English classic has been lovingly handcrafted since 1950. They actually stopped building them a few times, only to revive it again and again. The modern version is powered by a 106kW 2-litre Ford engine, which has just 877kg of car to tug along.Who could forget the continent-conquering Land Rover Defender? Barring the many mechanical upgrades, the basic shape that we see today has been around since 1983.Like the Defender, the Mercedes G-Class is a legendary off-roader from the old days that has been upgraded in dribs and drabs over the years. The Merc is even older than its English counterpart, hailing from 1979.The Royal Enfield 500 Bullet has been continuously in production since 1948, first in Redditch in the British West Midlands and, since 1955, in Chennai, India. It has a 499cc, single cylinder, dry-sump, air-cooled, pushrod engine producing 20.3kW at 5250rpm.

At the end of the last decade we lost the Citi Golf, a Golf 1 that had been produced locally and tarted up too many times to mention since first rolling off the Uitenhage production line back in 1978.

Let's not forget the Nissan 1400 (originally a Datsun 1200) that had an even longer life - 1971 to 2008. And do you care to remember the 1985 Mazda 323, 1988 Toyota Conquest/Tazz and 1990 Fiat Uno that all made it well past the millennial barrier?

South Africa is by no means the only place in the world where cars are given a lease on life that's well beyond their international sell-by dates and it was quite amusing to search for other examples from around the world, which you'll see in our gallery above.

Bad news for hippies, though, is that Volkswagen's T2 Kombi - which is still made in Brazil - is likely to be killed off soon, due to safety regulations that make dual front airbags and ABS brakes mandatory in that country. VW says it would have to virtually design a new car to make that possible.

It was also interesting to note that the second-generation Jetta is still alive and well in China, even sporting a facelift.

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