Bicycle touring has not only been a great way to see a country, but also a really convenient way to see some of the most unusual and beautiful vehicles on the road. Many classic cars are seldom seen on the motorways and are usually kept safely in the garage only to be driven on quiet scenic back roads on a summer’s day. When taking the path less travelled on a bicycle through the countryside you can frequently find hidden gems, like this tiny 3-wheel Reliant Robin,
Or finding this massive vintage Streamliner-inspired motorhome on the back streets of the English beach town of Southwold. This was so huge it spanned the entire length of their house.
Southwold was a great town for car spotting. Just down the street from the camper was a Roles Royce Drophead getting ready for a summer’s day outing, complete with baby seal white leather interior (we kid, we kid) and a front grill adorned with 24 carat gold (debatable).
Having the ability to stop where we like makes it easy to take photos when we see something classic, that would have been easily missed flying by at 100 kilometers per hour, rather ironically in a car. In France we were desperately trying to find a hotel or campsite as the light was fading when we spotted this Citroen 2CV. Painted in a striking gold and blue two-tone, this iconic French car was complete with colour matched folding roof. All camping plans were put on hold as I held onto both bikes, waiting for a gap in traffic so Suyin could duck into the middle of the road for the perfect angle.
Now busy exploring the west Malaysian coastline the car culture has changed dramatically. Welcome back to the early 2000’s, for ‘Fast and Furious’ inspired cars with eye-searing paint jobs, large wings and loud exhausts. It’s great to see people expressing their personality through car modification. My seventeen year old self would be in heaven.
Even if you own a car in Malaysia you probably also own a scooter. Taking up more than 50% of registered vehicles on the road the humble scooter is king. Cheap, small, easy to fix and extremely practical for everyday use.
Despite the sheer number of modern-day modified cars and scooters you can still find the odd vintage number. A beautiful sunburnt orange VW Beetle spotted on the streets on Ipoh. With 21.5 million classic shaped Beetles produced worldwide it is no wonder that wherever you are in the world you will spot one soon enough.
Like this green one with waiting for a new owner in a classic car yard, next to the most originally named Chinese restaurant. This setting would have been perfect if the cars were set infront of an equally vintage-looking building.
Actually sort of like this…
Or even better like this; Fry’s Garage in Cornwall, England. Crop out the modern day Land Rover apologetically in the way, throw on a black and white filter and it looks like a scene from yesteryear.
Below is a collection of some of my other favorite vehicular spottings over the last few months of travel, from Europe, to England, and currently in Southeast Asia. Click to enlarge for the full size image.
For other car related posts here:
Italian Small Cars Part 1: The Piaggio Ape
Italian Small Cars Part 2: Fiat Bambina 500
Croatia: The Renault 4 and other vehicular oddities
The Hague: Louwman Museum
Cologne & Nurburgring: Beers and Cars