Grand Old Cars of Argentina

Portrait of a Ford F-150 in Argentina

Since I arrived in Argentina, I’ve been captivated by the gorgeous but ramshackle old cars that I’ve seen everywhere. Some of them are the great European classics – the Citroen 2CV (or Deux Chevaux and the Renault 4. You can still see a few of these in South Africa and other African countries. But others are exotic (to me) American specials, or their Argentinian versions – such as the fabulous IKA Estanciera – and these are my favourite.

According to my host Walter, cars in Argentina actually gain value (or at least go up in price) as they age. For instance, he bought his car (a tiny Chevrolet Spark type thingy) brand new 11 years ago for A$21,000 (about ZAR40,000). 11 years of rough dirt roads, three kids and performing as Walter’s bakkie as he builds his enormous house from scratch have not been kind to the Chevvy. It’s stuffed with empty Lucky Strike packets, covered in dust and the driver’s seat is tilted at an odd angle. It’s fair to say that it’s clinging on to its ability to function by the skin of its spark plugs. However, Walter is confident that, if he decided to sell it tomorrow, he wouldn’t even have to wash it before  it got snapped up for A$26,000 (about ZAR50,000).

So, here are some old cars I’ve found and photographed in Bariloche and in the neighbourhood of La Peninsula de San Pedro. Extrapolating from Walter’s example, they’re probably each worth at least ZAR200,000…

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