I snapped the accompanying photo on one of the back streets of Cairo recently and seeing a fine old American sedan rather piteously sitting in the street like that made me a little sad. American cars aren't all that prevalent here in Egypt, primarily because they've traditionally been far too large for the generally tight and crowded streets and roads here. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the bulk of the cars here -- until recently -- were something like captive imports: older European and Russian models
produced locally along with some higher-end imports for the well-heeled, which tend to be Mercedes-Benz's. After a government initiative to remove the old clunkers from the roads, the older models have been replaced by newer imports, most from Asian countries: China, Japan, and South Korea. Egypt has also begun manufacturing some of their own versions of at least Chinese models as well.
But you occasionally see some American iron around. Back in the '90s I was shocked to see an early '70s Chevelle muscle car cruising around, though I wasn't able to ascertain whether it was driven by a local or an expat American. I've also been treated to the odd classic Mustang or two. Jeep Cherokees have also been rather popular with the off-road crowd. I even saw a mid-70s GM sedan prowling the streets of Cairo shortly after arriving this year. But that rather just underscores the point that there really aren't that many. GM, I think, has been making more of a push lately, and I drove past one of their showrooms with a threesome of full-size Silverado pickups sitting out front. Will Egyptians take to the US pickup craze? Too soon to tell, although their smaller Chevrolet cousins are fairly common. Only time will tell I guess.
Our particular car here -- one of the 1977-1990 "New" Chevrolets -- seems to have been there quite a while. Both streetside tires are flatter than a pancake, and it even appears that the road may have actually been paved around it. Truly a forlorn piece of Americana. For myself, I had a wild urge to buy the dumb thing for a song (heck, I could probably just haul it away), get it running, and bomb around the highways and biways of Egypt with Stone Temple Pilots or something similar blasting out the windows. Call me crazy.
So, readers, weight in: What are the odd contexts you've seen American vehicles in? Or any other model that seems a bit rare and out of place. And, as always, this is the place to discuss anything and everything car-related.
Credits: Photo by me.