Home » What’s The Most Out-Of-Place Car You’ve Ever Seen?

What’s The Most Out-Of-Place Car You’ve Ever Seen?

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There are certain cars you expect to see in certain places. In Hong Kong, you’re going to see lots of Toyota HiAce vans; in the U.S. you’ll see lots of F-150s; in Germany you’ll see loads of little diesel hatchbacks; in China you’ll see loads of little electric cars you’ve never seen anywhere else. But sometimes, in the gray monotony of your daily Groundhog Day routine, you spot a car that makes you do a doubletake — a car that doesn’t belong. “What the hell is that doing here?” you wonder as you approach, possibly not even knowing what the car is. Such experiences are fun for car nuts, so for today’s Autopian Asks, we implore you to share a time that you saw a car that was totally out-of-place.

My brother just sent me a link to a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale in his home of Hong Kong. Look at that thing in the top photo; you can see the rear end here:

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It’s got a huge lift on it, and a bunch of off-road goodies bolted on underneath. If I had to guess, it’s probably a UK model, as Hong Kong requires all vehicles to be right-hand drive. Though the exterior photos don’t show a steering wheel, you can tell by looking underhood that this is right-hand drive, as the brake master cylinder reservoir is on the right side of the vehicle. Also, the speedometer is in KM/H and oil pressure appears to be in bar:

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Of course, that’s just a car listing, and this Autopian Asks is about a vehicle you’ve seen that’s out-of-place. In my brother’s case, a good answer is the 1965 Harley Davidson Electra-Glide that he bought recently off the side of the street:

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For me personally, the answer has to be all the American cars that I see when I visit my parents in Germany. U.S. soldiers ship them overseas, and often leave them for the locals to drive around. Germans seem to love big, gas-guzzling American cars!

Our Thomas Hundal chimed in when I asked this question to our team; his answer isn’t so much “that car is rare to see in this country” but rather “that car is rare to see in these conditions”:

So that’s today’s AA: What’s a car you’ve seen that was totally out of place?

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Dashiell Allen-Smith
Dashiell Allen-Smith
7 days ago

I remember once driving through an older, slightly sketchier part of town (southeast Texas) when I saw an older car out of the corner of my eye. I was expecting to see a late 80’s town car or something, but rather parked on a side street was a black 2nd gen Toyota Century! I recall the house it stood parked in front of was quite old and did not look like the sort of place to house a Century owner.
I also remember being at a convenience store in a small town in the middle of central/north Texas (If you haven’t been, imagine extremely flat farmland stretching past the horizon in all directions, no hills), and seeing this almost stereotypical southern dude wearing a cowboy hat strut up to an old Peterbilt 352 with a rather snazzy paint job, not unlike the picture in the included link, but blue with white and light blue stripes. You rarely ever see old semi trucks, but you especially don’t usually see them working.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/cgf0UYrz_sE/maxresdefault.jpg

GK27V6
GK27V6
11 days ago

About ten years ago I saw a black Carrera GT, driving, in February, in Canada. Then about one or two years later I visited a body shop pretty close to the area I saw it, and lo and behold there was a black CGT (I suspect it to have been the same one, but I’ll never know). What made it out of place in this situation was that it was treated as if it were some junker. It wasn’t a high-end shop, and it wasn’t clean (though I haven’t visited many, maybe most aren’t?). There was a huge layer of dust on the CGT, and various boxes and other equipment just sitting on it. I could only assume it was getting a respray anyway because its paint was definitely getting chewed up. Its engine lid was open, so I got a nice look in there which was cool. I should’ve taken a picture, it was pretty bizarre to me.

Last edited 11 days ago by GK27V6
Austin Vail
Austin Vail
13 days ago

I recently saw a C4 Corvette in Israel. It was clearly not an Israeli Domestic Market car, as the license plates were the typical American dimensions rather than the more common European-style plate dimensions the other cars in Israel had. I found it fascinating that apparently Israel offers different sizes of license plate for cars from other parts of the world…

It was a very well-kept C4 ‘Vette, all things considered. I did a double take when I saw it as there are very few classic cars in general in Israel, let alone sporty ones. I wondered if an American expat brought it over, or just someone who likes Americana. The only other classic car I saw there was a red 1970something VW Type 2 crew cab pickup, which had the appearance of still working for a living, not something treated as a collectible for sure.

A few years before that, I saw a very nice late 60s Dodge Dart sedan in Jordan. Owner claimed it was the only one in the country IIRC, and he may very well have been correct. That car was actually in quite nice condition and clearly loved. Never found out if it was a V8 or slant six… I also seem to recall seeing someone driving a pink Ferrari there, which would be out of place no matter where you see it I think.

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
13 days ago

In 2019 I saw an abandoned BMW E30 Baur cabrio at the Kazungula border crossing between Zambia and Botswana. (this was when it was still a ferry). Definitely didn’t expect that one.

The WJ Grand Cherokee I saw parked in a small town in Malawi last fall was relatively unsurprising, given that it’s a 4WD and for some reason I see old Chrysler products absolutely everywhere.

Last edited 13 days ago by Theotherotter
Brooks Fancher
Brooks Fancher
13 days ago

Most out of place car I have ever come across was when my cousin and I were going down a back road in the mid 80s somewhere between Greensboro and Marion Alabama and came across a Renault Dauphine.

Like we are way back out in the woods and this nice looking Dauphine was just parked in someone’s front yard. It looked to be in good shape.

ProfessorOfUselessFacts
ProfessorOfUselessFacts
14 days ago

Has to be the Ford SuperDuty I saw in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2010. Also saw a couple Mustangs over there, but they were at least not towering over the Ladas.

Calder Smith
Calder Smith
14 days ago

Once saw a Ford F150 (perhaps a Raptor) in Rome, approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the Vatican. It didn’t fit in its parking space, and was surrounded by Smart cars, Fiat Pandas, VW Golfs, and the like.

David Iuliano
David Iuliano
14 days ago

It would have to be the Noble M400 that showed up at our Cars & Coffee here in Greensboro, North Carolina. I was agog.

Curtis Loew
Curtis Loew
14 days ago

I live in Florida. Nothing is out of place here, nothing surprises me. I see Canadian cars every day, Mexican cars on mexican plates. JDM right hand drive cars are everywhere. I’ve seen little Chinese car licensed as LSV. It’s also not uncommon to see south american market cars like VW’s from Brazil. Sometimes I even see Euro cars on Euro plates, campers from Europe are common.

Last edited 14 days ago by Curtis Loew
Adrian Vallejo
Adrian Vallejo
14 days ago

In 1999 I was in Gibraltar and saw an early 80s Chevrolet Cavalier sedan in brown with New York plates. Had to do a double take.

Cheery Swede
Cheery Swede
14 days ago

Not a car out of place per se. I’ve lived in Europe a while, and it always catches my eye when I see a US-spec, European car. I have a ‘You brought it back? Why?!’ reaction.

Maybe they were expats (work/students) etc and bought it there and took it back with them. Or maybe they desired model options not available in Europe (though, really, why?) There aren’t any US forces stationed here, so can’t blame it on them.

A neighbour had a US spec Porsche Cayenne S, until the motor imploded. It had the US sized licens plate instead of Euro norm. Side marker lights, etc.

Nearby there is a BMW X1(F48) xDrive2.8i – and engine model exclusive to the US. It has the US red turn signal lens taillights. (Torch!) But as a US model, it doesn’t have tow hitch option, and will the satnav or integrated mobile functions work here?

Occasionally, I’ll see a US only model, like a Ford Explorer or Pontiac Trans Sport. Late model Suburbans and Escalades definitely stand out! 🙂

I don’t count old-timer cars – the Pontiac Catalinas or Chevy C/Ks rolling around. US cars from ’40s-’80’s are popular here so they’re not out of place, just collectors.

Bill Garcia
Bill Garcia
4 days ago
Reply to  Cheery Swede

That will be me in a few years when I move back from NY to Barcelona – unless sth horrible happens to my Jeep JL, it’ll be coming with me.

Adam Al-Asmar
Adam Al-Asmar
14 days ago

In the summer of 2010, my family and i spent three months in Palestine. We used to do that every summer from 96-2005. My parents are from a small village that would normally be a 5 minute drive to Ramallah, but with all the occupier roadblocks, that 5 minute drive along a local highway is now a 45 minute jaunt through every neighboring village in the most bass ackwards route to get to the city center.

One day, my 20 year old self hopped into a taxi and rode the route like I would any other day, and made the trek to Ramallah. Spent the afternoon shopping and hanging out with some friends when I spotted it from a cafe window- i pointed it out to my friends to make sure i wasnt seeing things.

we paid our bill, left the cafe, and went for a walk. It was all of a thousand feed away so worth the walk to make sure it was real. this certainly wasn’t a common sight among all the Seats, Opels, VWs, Fiats, and Hyundais that littered the streets.

in the middle of Ramallah, Palestine sat a silver 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser. As my friends and I looked on in awe, one friend pointed out the license plate.

My friends, this was a silver 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser in the middle of Ramallah, Palestine, with current New Jersey license plates.

I had a picture of the car in my albums once upon a time, but i think that phone has been lost to time.

it still baffles me to this day, and i wish i would’ve found the owner to ask the myriad of questions i had. Was this a permanent emigration? was this a short term thing? why a pt cruiser? how much did it cost? why a pt cruiser? how long were you staying in palestine? WHY A PT CRUISER? what part of new jersey were you from? do we have mutual acquaintances? why a pt cruiser?

Idiotking
Idiotking
14 days ago

In 2003 I was on the island of Bimini for a dive trip. This was back when Chalk’s Airways was still in business, and we flew from Florida to the harbor in the Grumman Mallard that later crashed due to metal fatigue in the wing. Anyway, our last day of diving was canceled because of rough seas, so we walked around the island to explore. In one small hamlet we came upon a pristine UAZ-469 with a brand new canvas top parked in front of a run-down house. Getting cars to Bimini is a bit of a hassle, so someone was definitely making a statement with this choice.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
14 days ago

First one that comes to mind is when I was in Sfat in Israel. Tiny little historic town on the side of a mountain with narrow streets and mostly the cars you would expect to see in Israel – Skodas, Subarus, etc. Except the one bright yellow C5 Corvette parked in the middle of this holy little city.

Honorable mention goes to the comedy gig I had in Moyock, NC, where I showed up in my ’93 Miata and parked in the middle of a row of nothing but gigantic pickup trucks.

Alasdair
Alasdair
14 days ago

Seeing any RAM or Silverado not towing a boat or horses anywhere in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. I’d say the same of any new Landcruisers doing same. Why do it to yourself. I have a 2012 CX-5 and even that pretty much fills most spots up more than I’d like.

James Milton
James Milton
14 days ago
Reply to  Alasdair

Welcome to Colorado (or Utah, Nevada, etc).

Thi
Thi
14 days ago

Currently in Vietnam and saw a early 90s Lincoln Town (complete with sagging rear suspension) parked in front of a hotel.

Did not expect to see that here.

Jeff Marquardt
Jeff Marquardt
14 days ago

I’ve lived overseas for most of my life, and I just think its really cool that the map on top has Shouson Hill, which is where I lived for a few years when I was in highschool.

Now I live in Beijing and have seen some pretty cool cars, but that’s because I go out looking for them. I think in the past 2 months, I’ve seen more muscle cars that I see on the road back in Michigan, but that’s because I am a member of the American Muscle Car Club of China and I’ve been going to a lot of meets… my point is that seeing American cars in China is now commonplace to me. I know where to go to see a Shelby Cobra, Trans Ams, Firebirds, Camaros and Mustangs… so many Mustangs!

However, last month I was on vacation in the Maldives. I saw a 4th gen and a 6th gen Camaro there. Considering they drive on the right hand side, that was one of the more out of place cars I saw.

If anyone is interested in seeing some American Cars in China, check out my video~

You can watch my video here, next time I’ll add bilingual subtitles.

https://www.dongchedi.com/ugc/articl…36548472193087

And the official AMCC video: 

https://www.dongchedi.com/ugc/articl…28278645411081

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
14 days ago

I was competing in my first ever mountain bike race, and the makeshift car park in the forest is full of work vans and 4x4s. And an MR2 Spyder with most of the bits of an Orange MTB ratchet-strapped to the engine cover.

I felt so self-conscious getting out of it that I unstrapped the bits of bike and carried them away from the car to build it up.

I finished that race dead last. The whole experience was a bit demoralising.

Also: a Viper in rural Norfolk, England and a Volvo 850 R Estate doing laps of the Nurburgring.

James Milton
James Milton
14 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Kudos for hanging in there! You’ve got nowhere to go but up.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
14 days ago
Reply to  James Milton

I was really hoping I’d at least beaten the guy who broke his chain and had to walk out, but it turns out he’d already lapped me.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
14 days ago

Not a car, but a snowmobile being chased down 220 in massive snowstorm we had I SW Va in I think 1993. The cop had chains on and the rider was just playing with him. I had been stuck working at the C-store/gas station for some 20 hours by then and literally almost fell down laughing. (Fatigue/slow day)

Two decades later, I talked to a guy driving a Miata towing a single-person camper at a gas station during another of our rare epic snows. Ended up leading him (semi clearing a path for him) to a clean, decent & cheap local motel in my old 300D. Guy had been stuck on 81 for hours, and clearly wasn’t going to make it to WV that day no matter how willing.

More recently, a new Model3 out in the middle of nowhere central VA while working cell sites. That night I figured out they might have been from Farmville or possibly Charlottesville if a long range

Andy the Swede
Andy the Swede
14 days ago

About ten years ago, I was overtaken on the Autobahn outside Hamburg by a JC Indigo 3000, the now long forgotten Swedish roadster based on both Volvo and Saab parts.

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