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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Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago

Another oddity was a Mercedes Actros cabover truck on I-5 near Wilsonville Oregon. This was almost certainly a test vehicle from Freightliner in Portland but was both an unusual vehicle and an unusual route since I normally saw Freightliner validation trucks on Highway 26 West of Portland

V8 Fairmont Longroof
V8 Fairmont Longroof
2 months ago

Travelling in South America in thre early Noughties, and saw a beat-up Subie longroof with Alaskan plates – in Tierra del Fuego. That’s a road trip!

Last edited 2 months ago by V8 Fairmont Longroof
Aardvark775
Aardvark775
2 months ago

How did they get past the Darien Gap?

V8 Fairmont Longroof
V8 Fairmont Longroof
2 months ago
Reply to  Aardvark775

Probably cheated – like me… That might be the most fun plane trip I ever took – old United 727 full of Texan Medics on way to do relief work. I joined in Panama City, and it was full party-mode!

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
2 months ago
Reply to  Aardvark775

Only a few hardcore lunatics have “driven” it and even that seems to have been more “hack jungle in front – winch forward – rinse, repeat”. Everyone else takes a ferry around it.

V8 Fairmont Longroof
V8 Fairmont Longroof
2 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

The 1972 expedition has been written about a few times: https://www.roverparts.com/roverlog-news-blog/1972-range-rover-darien-gap-expedition/

James Davidson
James Davidson
2 months ago
Reply to  Aardvark775

Your vehicle has to be shipped. A friend of ours just drove from New York to Belize and the Darien Gap is one bit you won’t be driving through. https://ivssuk.com/shipping-across-the-darien-gap-panama-to-colombia/

Aardvark775
Aardvark775
2 months ago

Jeep XJ 2-door in pretty good shape a couple of years ago parked in a small village in the Basque Country. I spend every summer in that area and have never seen another vintage Jeep before or since. It did have older plates from the same province so I’m guessing they sold them there and just not many survived the salty coastal fog. It had a turbo diesel badge on the back which I don’t think was ever available in the US.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago

Never been out of the continental US so my Jensen Healey in a car show inLaughlin Nevada. Over 100 American Steel built cars and my Jensen Healey. I won best foreign vehicle because a Toyota pickup with nothing to it was the only other non American car. Movers lost my plaque.

Spence
Spence
2 months ago

When I lived on the tiny Caribbean island of St. Martin in 1990, most of the cars were little Japanese and European compacts. It made sense since there was basically only one road around the island, and it was almost always congested with extreme traffic — it could take you an hour to go the six miles between the main towns on the Dutch side (Phillipsburg) and the French side (Marigot). One time though, I met a guy who had imported a new fox-body 5.0 Mustang GT from Florida. I asked him where on earth he drove it. He told me he took it out at 2AM and drove all the way around the island. He said each circumnavigation took him a half hour, and sometimes he’d do four or five a night.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
2 months ago

I saw an old 60’s Chevy sedan wandering the back alleys of Istanbul. Not sure how it got there or why someone is still using it.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
2 months ago

Old Turkish movies are full of American cars. From the ’40s through the ’60s, the Turks loved Detroit iron.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago

The one I always wondered about was the new Volvo station wagon with New Jersey plates sitting in an alley in Lisbon’s Barrio Alta in 1982. That may have been the only Volvo I saw since Lisbon traffic was dominated by old Mercedes taxis and Brazilian VWs and the US plates were doubly odd.

Doug Kingham
Doug Kingham
2 months ago

If I had to guess, it’s probably a UK model, as Hong Kong requires all vehicles to be right-hand drive. . . . Also, the speedometer is in KM/H and oil pressure appears to be in bar:

If it is RHD and the speedometer is in KM/H, it is more likely an Australian model (or maybe Irish or South African), but not it would not be from the UK, unless the owner swapped speedometers. All UK speedometers are in MPH.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
2 months ago

I saw Torch’s Pao once at Carolina Motorsports Park, does that count? (This was pre-changli, though that would have been better). Not exactly out of place, but something I never expected to see in person was a Pagani Zonda in roughly 2006 while doing a lap of the Nurburgring. (It was going slowly for a photo shoot)

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
2 months ago

I saw a McLaren Senna nonchalantly parked on the street here in small town Wisconsin. It really stood out amongst all the Outbacks and Odysseys.

John O'Brien
John O'Brien
2 months ago

I was an exchange student in Prague in 1994, and one day when I was wandering in the narrow streets near the Old Town Square, a Buick Park Avenue with South Carolina plates drove by and broke my sense of reality.

NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
2 months ago

Walking around Kyoto in ’18 , we heard the ’60s GT350 before we saw it just cruising through town on a random Thursday afternoon. Just so so so out of place with all of the Kei cars around it in traffic.

https://imgur.com/a/Ni5J04z

SaabaruDude
SaabaruDude
2 months ago

Third generation Toyota Hiace van with Alberta, Canada plates. In Torres Del Paine park, at the southernmost tip of Chile. Hell of a road trip!

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=504169523762&set=a.502829479222

World24
World24
2 months ago

Besides the random late 2010’s McLaren and SLS AMG I saw back in October; I think the most out of place car I’ve seen is an Aventador that me and my buddy saw one day in the back roads of the county just north of mine. There was no point of the thing being in there. It was just an orange Aventador in the middle of nowhere, and both of us lost our shit. Like, hysterically lost it. To this point, it’s probably the most expensive car I’ve ever seen driving on the road.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
2 months ago

1990’s JDM Mitsubishi Delica camper van in Downtown Los Angeles. It was in Little Tokyo so it wasn’t too much out of place but I had never seen one in the wild before.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago
Reply to  MAX FRESH OFF

LA may be an odd place for a Delica but Oregon has dozens.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
2 months ago

In 2005 I was on spring break in Prague and saw a ’72(?) Impala painted rattle can flat black parked in Wenceslas Square, with Colorado plates.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
2 months ago

While travelling in Spain in the 1980s, I happened upon a 1970’s American Ford Granada. Parked on the street in… Granada. Managed to snap a picture, too.

DysLexus
DysLexus
2 months ago

Probably isn’t a really a rare thing but seemed very odd to me at the time back in 2011.
Brand new 7-series BMW squeezing in tight traffic in downtown Seoul Korea.

Ian McClure
Ian McClure
2 months ago

The remains of a Pontiac Grand Prix semi-famously abandoned on a random cliff edge in northern Maui. I’ve been there and can verify it is physically impossible that it got there under its own power, and it frankly seems implausible that it could even be towed there. Some pictures I found online:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/7767960@N02/32941738814

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
2 months ago

I once saw a Ferrari 512 BB in a super trashy trailer park in Alabama, at night.

JDE
JDE
2 months ago

23 years ago in Parsons Kansas, I saw early 90’s model Alpha Romeo parked on the street. These days Alpha’s are more plentiful, but back then they were certainly not, and definitely not in podunk Kansas towns.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
2 months ago

An un-plated Renault Avantime in the Bronx.

There was also a black Peugeot hot hatch driving around in manufacturer plates in South Brooklyn that I saw from time to time.

Eric Siedlecki
Eric Siedlecki
2 months ago

SsangYong Actyon Sports in a small town in Southern Oregon.

Last edited 2 months ago by Eric Siedlecki
LTDScott
LTDScott
2 months ago
Reply to  Eric Siedlecki

Probably one of the bare shells that got imported here for an EV conversion that never materialized.

Eric Siedlecki
Eric Siedlecki
2 months ago
Reply to  LTDScott

That was my assumption as well.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
2 months ago

This required some thought.
Easy answer. 1965 or so. My Granny takes me onto the original Queen Mary in NY. She had booked passage and wanted me to see the ship before it was retired from service.

I saw a brand new Rolls Royce just sitting somewhere that seemed to be mid deck level. Off to the side was a small cubby hole with a desk and a file cabinet or two. Apparently it was the RR onboard sales office. Spent years trying to figure out how they got that thing several floors below the main deck.

Tbird
Tbird
2 months ago

A red GMT400 Chevy Suburban I spotted in Rome near Piazza Navarro. I wish I had snapped a photo because no one would believe me.

RKranc
RKranc
2 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Must be the same guy who owns the early 2000’s Mustang I saw parked in that neighborhood in 2019.

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