These pictures were taken in Amsterdam in June 1975. I had just arrived on an overnight flight from Canada, and I was pretty zonked out. A boat tour of Amsterdam seemed like a good way to spend the afternoon. Canals crisscross the heart of the city, and have a profound effect on how people live, the local architecture, and even parking. They’re often are lined by narrow streets, and everyone parks on their edges. There’s not much to prevent cars from rolling into the water (or even being pushed in by someone desperately looking for a parking spot), so the local fire department is tasked with fishing out dozens (if not hundreds) of very soggy vehicles from the bottom each year. I was told that if there’s someone in the car, the service is provided free, but there’s a hefty charge if the car is empty!
Note the beam sticking out from the window header on the top floor of the building on the left. Houses in Amsterdam are tall and narrow, and internal staircases are narrow and steep. So these beams are tipped with a pulley, and this contraption is used to hoist large pieces of furniture to the various intermediate floors using ropes, via the large windows. I understand that even pianos can be hoisted in this way. The arrow houses resulted from taxes, back in the 16th century, that were partly based on the width of the house. Even then, developers were quick to exploit any loopholes.
I’ve been able to identify many of the cars in the pics, but the little white coupe in the third picture has me stumped. It looks like a Fiat 850 coupe, but the scallops around the inboard auxiliary lights don’t seem to match. I’m sure someone out there will be able to help.
First picture: Simca 1301/1501, VW Beetle, a Japanese car, Simca 1000, Saab 99, an orange car, VW Typ 3.
Second picture: Simca 1100, VW T2.
Third picture: Opel Rekord, a white car, a Japanese car.
All from the right to the left and to my best knowledge.
And don’t believe the stories about dozens/hundreds of cars in the water every year. You can clearly see that blue rail in the first picture.
It may well have been an urban myth told to naive tourists like myself, but if you Google “cars in canal amsterdam images”, there appears to be some evidence of the phenomenon.
Bicycles in the canal are also a problem, and a few years back pranksters started tossing Smart cars into the canals for laughs.
Anything can end up in a canal, Louis. From Smart cars to big rigs. You better learn how to swim at a very young age. It’s a jungle out there, you know. Obviously this Daffy Duck couldn’t swim. (Photo: MHL Media)
In my 3 years there (94-96) I can only remember seeing one car in a canal. But the dredges pulling up bikes were a common sight.
You do park very carefully, though!
That Japanese car looks like a Toyota Carina, 1st generation – it was sized between the Corolla and the Corona.
In that first pic from right to left, Simca 1301/1501, VW Beetle as you’ve said, I think the Japanese car is a Corolla, then the Simca 1000, then I think a VW 411 (not a Saab 99), a Renault 6, VW Type 3, a cream thing, red BMW 2002, blue Citroen Ami 6 maybe, bit of a green thing, white BMW 5 series, a few indeterminates, maybe a burgundy Renault 4, and is that a red VW K70? Looks at the end like a white Austin Metro, but can’t be if it’s 1975…. so I’d say Daf 66
Great spotting. Corolla is an E30-60 two door sedan.
I think the Beetle was a 1302.
The orange car could be a Renault 12, maybe a Renault 6. That loud orange was a Renault color.
To the left of the Type 3 is a red car showing a very short front overhang. That is very BMW-like.
Dark green Japanese car is a RT81 Toyota Corona from 1971 I had one I recognize the wraparound blinker lense.
Leftmost on the last picture is what looks like a black Ford Taunus to me.
A friend worked as a private chauffeur for a while, a colleague of his parked a customer’s brand new Mercedes S-Class right next to a canal. No problem of course…. except he forgot to apply the parking brake.
The white car a Fiat 850 coupe, but a variant that’s not often seen. If you do a google image search for Fiat 850 coupe, there are a couple of others like that, including this yellow Series 2 at the French Wikipedia site.
That model was common in New Zealand quite popular back in the day 850 Coup’e
Yeah…Fiat 850 Sport Coupé but an Abarth edition… Abarth is (still) Fiat’s official car tuner #1.
No it’s not, from the hubcaps and stock skinny wheels it has. The last two years of 850 coupe production (1971-1972) had these revised front ends with quad headlights. Here’s another 1971 that’s definitely not an Abarth.
The Abarth versions generally didn’t modify the coupe’s front end, except for some extreme versions that removed the bumper and created an opening for the spare, for racing purposes.
Any possibility it’s a Seat? (Spanish Fiat?)
Logo in the front panel looks series 2 Fiat. Seats had a chevron and a logo in the bonnet but I’m not sure if it went across series.
Oops, the “Japanese car” in one of the pix is a Toyota Carina…they were sold in the U.S. from 1972 or 73 until 1975. They were a bigger body on a Corolla platform. Carinas were sold in Europe for several generations, “morphing” into a car Toyota dubbed the Avensis. We get a version of the Avensis….sort of, as the Scion tc. The tc looks a bit odd because it’s a 2 door based on a platform originally meant for a 4 door. The Avensis is considered to be another major Toyota snoozemobile.
The FIAT 850 Coupë is the last of the series, they gave it some upgrades before it faded -or rusted- into the woodwork
In my MGB time, I knew a guy who lived in Amsterdam and lived at the canals.
He had a ’73 or ’74 B-GT
One day the car was gone.
He claimed it at the Insurance and got paid.
Years later they dredged that stretch of canal and out came his MGB.
In those days Amsterdam was quite laid back, today it is full of parking attendants who’ll have your car towed; parking costs a fortune and the cyclists and pedestrians are the terror of the city.
When you wish to visit Holland, or for that matter the rest of Europe, concentrate on the smaller cities, last week I was in Spain but did not go to Barcelona, went to Girona or Gerona, a very, very nice old city with an ancient Jewish quarters, much nice atmosphere then any European ” metropole “
I agree, smaller cities and villages are definitely my favorites in Europe. In many large cities, there’s a distinct sense of déjà vu, which I felt most acutely in Paris. Everywhere I turned, it triggered memories of photographs and films I had seen over the years.
I travelled to the Netherlands frequently in the 1980s, and found that rural Holland is a fascinating place to explore, full of surprises.
With significant parts of the country below sea level, the infrastructure required to keep everything dry is quite impressive, especially when you consider that some of it dates back to the 16th century (maybe earlier?). It’s a lot of fun to drive on top of the old dikes, although their narrowness makes it a bit tricky when there’s oncoming traffic. I also drove across one of the recently completed polders (large areas reclaimed from the sea), and it was really a strange landscape, with perfectly straight and flat roads stretching for tens of km, with identical trees planted every few metres along the road, and… nothing else. In another polder, I drove through a small (ex-) fishing village, sitting high and dry in the middle of a vast plain now covered with grasses.
Excellent quality of farmland in those polders, by the way.
Driving on a dike can be tricky, indeed, certainly when the water level of the river is high…
(Photo: Heemkundevereniging Leeuwen)
A lot of dikes have been closed down permanently for motor vehicles (Not for the people who live there or the farmers, obviously). Which makes them a great place to take a good walk or ride a bicycle.
Regarding the dikes that are still open: beware of the large groups of motorcyclists who use the dike-roads as race tracks on sunny sundays. I mean the young guys with the fast Italian and Japanese bikes. The “belly sliders/gliders” as we call those bikes.
See what I mean ?
Parking system inside of the Dutch cities are quite strange… You park your car, then have to go and find a newspaper/tobacco shop (if you’re a tourist) which might be somewhere in a nearest mall, ask several people to where you are able to find it, if lucky it could be found within ~10-15 minutes, then you buy a plastic chipcard for at least 20,- EUR with a same amount of credit, goin’ back to your car…and if you are lucky, you can put it inside a nearest digital parking clock and buy your parking time which costs you only few Euros. If you ain’t lucky a parking attendant will probably fine you while you are crawling around the neighbourhood to find the place where you can buy the chipcard with credit… Those parking machines ain’t accept coins for example. I’m not sure if you can buy parking time via sms… If yes, than you can get easily a dutch sim card…in a nearest internet-café or telecommunications related shop… That’s how it worked few years ago in R’dam…
I had a friend in Amsterdam with a B-GT. I wonder if it was the same car. As I recall, it had an automatic transmission, making it even rarer. This was in the mid-80’s, and the car was classic MG; i.e., unreliable as a daily driver…
Occassionally when I have spent some longer time in Ireland I’ve discovered that if maybe not cars BUT shopping trolleys and some other unidentified household machineries could ended their carreer in the River Shannon. Some cars were rotting away forgotten and probably parked long long time ago on the riverside lane… What was quite controversial because it is still inside the city as a kind of pedestrian area with café’s and restaurants around and nobody towed those abandoned cars. But a street or two away parking attendants done their job quite vehemently…
Strasbourg, France is another town with canals and rivers. during one visit I notice a bike leaning against the railing at the river l’Ill. It had algae and water plants hanging all over it….then there was another one, no about 10! Eventually I saw the crew fishing out the bikes.