One of our most prolific Cohort posters, Roshake77, apparently visited Greece recently, and has uploaded some fine finds from Sarti and Sykia. There’s a surprising number of these old Datsun Sunny pickups; I didn’t know they were so popular in places like Greece so early on.
I’m talking about these little unibody (in more ways than one) Sunny trucks; which we never got in the US.
The only American car was this elderly F-Series at an airport.
Mitsubishi L200 pickup with rather different bed than I’ve seen before.
VW Westfalia Joker and Passat.
A Yugo and another Datsun Sunny truck
A later Datsun pickup, again with an unusual bed. I’m guessing these beds were made locally or regionally?
An old Mazda pickup being swallowed alive.
Mitsubishi L200 pickup.
And another one. Pickups are obviously very popular in rural Greece. Makes sense.
A Mercedes w123 wagon also being overtaken by the vegetation.
Mazda 323F, a variant we did not get in the US.
Renault Traffic van.
Fiat Panda and Citroen C2.
Opel Vectra and Nissan pickup.
Toyota iQ and Daihatsu Terios.
Fiat Panda and an inviting cove.
Mercedes MB100. This FWD van is a descendant of the DKW Schnelllaster. Full story here.
And another Sunny pickup. Homemade tsipouro is sold here.
Toyota Pickup and Peugeot 4007.
A 4×4 Toyota HiLux.
And yet another Sunny pickup. Can anyone explain? Were these sold new here, or? They’re not from japan, as they’re LHD.
And an Audi 80 (4000 in the US).
I think that was only called “Yugo” in the US. It might be a Zastava 🙂
The UK had Yugos too. You could go and buy one if you wanted to…..
When I was in Greece in the 1970’s and in the 1990’s I saw all sorts of interesting vehicles, , including LHD Holdens that were officially exported there, no doubt in competition with the Opels. I think due to the lower living standards compared to most of the rest of Europe and the dry climate served (or did serve as I would imagine EU changes might have brought incentives to rid the roads of old clunkers) to keep many older, and to me interesting, cars on the road.
The trend I noticed was for many models to be of smaller engine size compare to an equivalent model in Australia but with more equipment. For example I spied a Datsun 1400 (510 sedan) which also 200cc smaller than the equivalent 1600 we got in Australian, but with niceties such as factory tinted windows, a centre console, and far les painted metal in the interior.
As cars have been traditionally been expensive in Greece, seeing that seemingly abandoned Mercedes wagon would have have in the past being almost unthinkable.
When I was there with my family in the 1970s, we we trying to buy a VW Microbus and we found it just about impossible to buy one, and we learnt that apparently there was a law disallowing mini van with multiple seats, lest they be used as buses in completion with the established companies in rural arears and on the islands.
A the time the purchase (and disposal when leaving) of used cars by tourists was very convoluted (I didn’t understand all the details as I was only 10 at the time) and we actually went to (West) Germany to buy something. But that’s another story.
I’m currently in Greece, on the island of Crete. The vehicles in these pics are daily sights for me. The Sunnys and similar little trucks from Mazda are very popular in local agricultural operations.
No turbo Suzuki Samurai’s? When my brother was there in 87 or 88, he said the place was covered in them
The Sunny Truck was sold widely around the world and it looks as though Greece got both short and long-body variants. IMO it’s kind of a shame that ALL the extra length of the LWB went into the bed, rather than doing a sort-of King Cab without the extra windows, using the longer doors of the B110 2-door sedan rather than the 4-door front doors.
I wonder if the shortbed was more popular in Greece or just has a higher survival rate since it can’t be overloaded as easily.
All quite familiar cars it seems those 1200 Datsun utes are sought after in NZ now and they are getting scarce Mazda Familia utes even scarcer, that looks like a Holden behind the Mazda Astina or F as called here, even a rebadged Mitsubishi Outlander with 2.2 turbo diesel Peugeot engine and trans, Peugeot did their first SUV the easy way, that 4×4 ute is a Hilux, there was a similar vintage Hiace 4×4 but its a van, Good range of CCs either resting or still in use.
Loving those little pickups. And the Niva, too.
Great pics! Love these posts!
Cars in Greece used to be very expensive in the 1970s. If a Datsun B-210 cost $3300 in the US, the cost (converted from drachmae to dollars) in Greece of a Datsun Sunny would be between 2.5 and 3x as much, say $8000.
This in a country where then, and now, the average household income is about 20-30% of the US. Of course, living costs are lower too, but not proportionately, and income taxes are higher. So a car was, and still remains, a very big deal (though now one can, or could pre-pandemic, find good used cars for low prices, since the ‘car population’ now is pretty saturated, unlike the 1970s and 1980s when the car population was growing as more people acquired their first car ever, new or used.
Then with inflation in that era (12-25% a year), it was not really financially prudent to replace a car.
The plates stay with the car until ownership changes, so as Greek plates evolved, from US style to “Euro-1” in 1974 (narrower, aka wider and shorter), then tweaked “Euro” variants, you could guess how long a car had stayed with the same owner.
The dry climate, warm or hot weather (fewer cold starts) and typically low use (say 3-6k km per year) mean cars last a long time. They may fade because of the sun, but they rust very slowwwwly
in the 1990s, the Greek government cut many of the fees and Greek car prices tended to be about 1.2x US prices. The government also provided incentives for non-catalyst cars to be traded in, so many 1960s-70s cars were scrapped.
But the economic crisis of 2009, followed by Greece’s debt crisis really hit the economy and killed new vehicle sales. So again, lots of relatively old cars in Greece.
With a half-decent owner, the mechanical parts and body will last indefinitely there…
I’ve taken some interesting car pics on my visits there, maybe I should forward them to Paul…
The “4×4 Toyota HiAce” is a HiLux.
My brother-in-law is Greek,and he said that the reason there are so many pickups or utes in rural Greece is that farmers could buy a new pickup without paying exorbitant taxes.