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You Know You’re in South Africa When...

  Calvin Fisher


 20 Aug, 2019

15 Iconic Cars You'll See in South Africa

Calvin puts together his list of 15 somewhat iconic South African cars.

Travel to another land and if you’re car a person, you’ll immediately notice that the metal tapestry weaved upon their roads is not like ours. I certainly did the moment I crossed the border into Lesotho where immediately I was greeted with box-shaped Nissans and Toyotas I’d never seen before, save for on the internet.

Which led me to wonder, what is it about our blend of cars that makes a South African road so unique? These are not the fifteen best cars sold in South Africa. They’re not necessarily South African specials nor are they the halo model of their litter, rather simply they are synonymous with our fine country and the folk who live in it.

1 Opel Kadett

And by this I mostly mean the T-Car, our Cub shape which spawned all manners of vehicles, but most notably the GSI and especially the Superboss. Elsewhere it’s a Vauxhall.

2 Ford Cortina

There were hotter Cortinas than the infamous 30S such as the XR6 and Interceptor, but it is the Everyman 30S that you’ll find in every suburb. A car that still inspires lust today.

3 Ford Escort

Pick a style - the peanut shaped Mk 1 or smoothed-over Mk 2 were both rear wheel driven icons. The Mk 3, especially in XR3 guise may have gone FWD but the lot of them British icons were made popular in Mzansi.

4 Toyota Conquest

The AE82 series of Corollas were all given a hot version RSI – a 4AGE Twincam heart in a wedge-shaped body. And we loved them all.

5 Every VW Golf

No really, from the Citi to the VR6, we snapped them all up and continue to do so. For maximum kudos, we’ll take a GTI badge on its bum.

6 Toyota Cressida

You wanted the 3.0 GLI-6 of course, but the car that preceded the Camry was a real sign of achievement – the working man’s 5 Series BMW. Rear wheel drive made it prime for a teenager takeover.

7 Nissan Skyline

Again, you needed the 2.8 GTX coupe for maximum street cred, but this is a Skyline damnit, a member of Godzilla’s royal family.

8 Chevrolet 4100