(Peugeot 404) Spotted in a supermarket car park in downtown Tunis, it looked like it had drive across the Sahara just to get there. It’s a Peugeot 404 Station Wagon, a 1.9 diesel (I tested the spillage from the fuel filler). Apparently, it’s very difficult to date Peugeots in North Africa because they could be original French cars or African built cars. If this is a French built car, the bumper and grille mean it’s from the late 60s but if it’s an African car, it could be from as late as 1980 with the same bumper, though the grille would be different. The mirrors, if original, mean it’s an African car but it’s common to swap them onto older French cars because they’re better than the original items. I met a couple of Ukranian car dealers who seemed to know how to tell the difference. Nice guys, obviously crooked though.
(Peugeot 104) Spotted in the quaint chop shop district of north Tunis. A friend of mine at high school had one of these, I’m sure it was the same colour, though in much better condition than this example. The chickens were sheltering under it, though not in it, when I saw it. I was amazed that so much of the car was in such bad shape but, overall, it wasn’t bad and has a definite charm about it.
(Peugeot 504amino) Spotted in the chop-shop district of north Tunis, Tunisia. It’s a Peugeot 504 pickup, a real workhorse. The guy working on it assured me that it was running the original diesel engine and transmission, though I saw it had a five speed ‘box which wasn’t available until the late 70s in the saloons and much later in commercials. He didn’t know the year it was built as it wasn’t his pickup but he has done work on it for over ten years and he showed me some of the modifications he’s made, like enlarging the pedals to accommodate work boots and making the pickup bed stronger. I tried to buy one of these years ago and discovered that they were homologated for Group B rallying before it was abolished. They are still available, brand new, in Nigeria.
(Renault 21) Spotted in a residential area of Tunis adjacent to the motorway from the airport. I saw it from the motorway and spent about an hour trying to get back to it. The owner was present but wary of me, though he was fine with me taking photos. He told me it had been in his family since new but that he didn’t like it much. I’ve never seen a 12 in three door estate form before this, though I have seen three door vans and normal estate cars. This looks like a van with retro-fitted windows, probably at the same as the bad re-spray. The saloon and estate were common in the UK while I was growing up, I remember them usually being brown. The interior was ultra basic, not really a pleasant place to be and the exterior looks like a deliberate attempt to make an ugly car. I hate it but I somehow couldn’t drive past it without getting photos.
(Skoda) Spotted in various places around Tunis. It may look like it crashed half onto the paved area in front of the shops but I watched the owner park it carefully there before walking off. It’s an early 70s Skoda, probably a 110. It’s the epitome of rear engined, rear drive, Czechoslovakian engineering from the 60s and 70s. This predates the awful reputation Skoda had in Europe before VW took them over in 1991. These cars had good rally success and Skoda continued that success into the 80s with the Estelle and Rapid, they won their class in the RAC rally for 17 years running. This example is not rally champion material. I had to follow it at about 15 miles an hour for ages until it stopped and I got the photos. Pulling away from traffic lights, it was so slow that I thought about pushing gently from behind with my rented Renault to get it moving.