Photo Report: The cars of Malta in 50 pictures

1-land-rover-nadur-gozoLand Rover Pickup in Nadur, Gozo

Up until today, Malta was a rather secretive market on BSCB with no official sales figures and one lonely update based on Youtube videos dating back to 2010. This is no more. Sometimes car sales data has to be sourced from the very source and on-location research is the best way. There will therefore be two separate Malta updates: one detailing the overall car park of the two main islands (Malta and Gozo) forming the country, and one detailing the best-sellers so far in 2016 – exclusive info you won’t find anywhere else but on Bestsellingcarsblog. We will start with the cars of Malta in 50 Pictures. This is a selection from over 700 snaps of the most striking cars I found in Malta. Enjoy!

2-toyota-hilux-zebbug-gozoToyota Hilux in Zebug, Gozo

First about the actual experience of visiting Malta. If you are planning to visit Malta in the near future, don’t bother perhaps read these lines before you commit. Granted, the colourful balconies, Valletta, Vittorioso and the entire island of Gozo are unique and splendid. However, if you need a room and a car, you must be prepared to end up paying 3 times what you agreed to pay for, for something that will almost certainly end up being the opposite of what you paid for…

3-daihatsu-hijet-marsaxlokkDaihatsu Hijet in Marsaxlokk

For example, a rental car booked online with Goldcar for 43€ ends up costing 118€ due to a ‘mandatory’ all-excess insurance to be paid in case you don’t have a credit card – no mention of this when the company accepted my debit card details online of course. It’s a seasoned business: the cancellation fee is set at 150€ so you are plain and simply hijacked. One hour wait later, I get a Peugeot 208 that was so damaged the staff rolled their eyes at having to write down all the bumps and scratches on the sheet. The hotel room and petrol stations were a similar experience, to the point that for each € spent, I ended up having to spend 3€ for things I had not agreed to pay for – or for actually nothing at all. One day, Malta will wake up with so many consumer law suits on their hands they won’t know where to turn. If all this sounds like an appealing proposition to you, then by all means go visit Malta. End of rant! Now onto the cars.

4-kia-picanto-toyota-rush-vallettaKia Picanto and Toyota Rush in Valletta

5-toyota-vitz-vallettaToyota Vitz in Valletta

A former British colony, Malta gained its independence in 1964 and therefore is a Left Hand Traffic country, requiring Right Hand Drive (RHD) cars. The two main islands that form the country are very small, therefore cars don’t get used that much and can be kept on the road for a lot longer than in a continental location. As a result, the Maltese car park is a striking collection of RHD imports, mainly from Japan, the UK and India. As soon as I hit the airport carpark a flow of used imports from Japan invaded the landscape, king of them being the Toyota Vits (aka Yaris) with original Japanese logo on the bonnet. A lot would follow.

6-birgu-street-sceneBirgu street scene

Malta being neutral during the Cold War, there is also a very distinct Eastern European influence on the streets with many 1980s and 1990s Skodas and Ladas. Korean brands have been present for longer than most European countries, with Kia trucks dating back to the early eighties still in operation.

fordson-thames-1948-1954-vallettaFordson Thames (1948-1954) in Valletta

6-ford-escort-rabatFord Escort Estate (1968-1974) in Rabat

7-kia-truck-xaghra-gozoKia Truck in Xaghra, Gozo

8-kia-picanto-peugeot-108-maruti-gypsy-mdinaKia Picanto, Peugeot 108 and Maruti Gypsy in Mdina

The best-selling new cars will be detailed in a separate post, but mini cars are the norm with the Kia Picanto, Peugeot 108, Hyundai i10 and Citroen C1 very frequent.

9-maruti-gypsy-san-lawrenz-gozoMaruti Gypsy in San Lawrenz, Gozo

The Maruti Gypsy imported as used straight from India has melted the hearts of Maltese drivers, especially on the island of Gozo where it is used as an airy taxi under the blistering summer heat that was enveloping the island when I visited.

11-maruti-omni-birzebbugaMaruti Omni in Birzebugga

10-maruti-800-vittoriosa2 x identical Maruti 800 in Vittoriosa

The Gypsy isn’t the only Maruti popular in Malta, with the 800 so frequent still despite its age that more than one example in the same street is a common occurrence as pictured above.

12-seat-ibiza-smart-fortwo-mdinaSeat Ibiza and Smart Fortwo in Mdina

13-tata-sumo-birzebbuga2 x Tata Sumo in Birzebugga

14-tata-telcoline-marsaxlokkTata Telcoline in Marsaxlokk

Tata has also had its very successful time, with some rarities popping up regularly such as various generations of Sumo and the Telcoline with its air of Mercedes pickup.

mitsubishi-l200-victoria-gozoMitsubishi L200 in Victoria, Gozo

One staple of Malta is the older Japanese pickups streaming along every single street and unsealed road, with the Mitsubishi L200, Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max of absolutely all generations extremely well represented.

land-rover-birzebbugaLand Rover Pickup in Birzebuggaland-rover-nadur-gozo-pic2Land Rover Pickup in Nadur, Gozo
land-rover-mgarr-gozoLand Rover in Mgarr, Gozo

But the main emblem of Malta will have to be the valiant Land Rovers spread all across the two islands and looking almost pristine. Malta is a fascinating voyage in time where most cars have been conserved to near their original state. Just for this, it’s well worth the trouble.

15-marsaxlokk-street-sceneStreet scene in Marsaxlokk

The Full Photo Report (50 photos) continues below.

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