Thursday, June 13, 2013

Racefriv Goes South Pt. 1: The Cars of Ecuador

Hey guys, Parker here.  Recently I had a chance to go on vacation to Ecuador, and having never been to South America before I jumped at the chance.  While I was there I took the chance to check out the driving machines that you might see every day in Ecuador.

Not everybody rides Llamas.  You can't see the Lambo this LLama is
checking out just to the right in this picture.

When I first arrived, it was about midnight and the roads were completely empty except for stray dogs, so there wasn't much to see.  On our drive up into the mountains I was also a little bit confused as there were no cars on the side of the road or parked in front of the (garage-less) houses; literally every car had a hiding spot somewhere for the night.  Morning, however, revealed a land of strange and wonderful cars that you can't really find in the U.S.

This was the local tuning shop.  Most of these guys were working on
 the cars in the streets, installing car stereos and stickers.  A Jimny, 2 Ladas,
a Beetle, and a Datsun pickup aren't a bad list to have out front.

On the street, the most common car was the B13 Nissan Sentra.  They are used as Taxis too, so most of them are yellow.  It's also really amazing how good of condition all of the cars are in, considering the image most people get in their heads when you think of South American roads.  There is also a huge amount of tiny Asian and European cars parked all over the streets.  Everything from Renaults, Opel Corsas, Corollas, and little Daihatsus, to Geo Metros and Trabants.

Editors note: I want that Daihatsu so bad. 

And some OLD Toyotas 

The best of eastern Europe.

Another trend you might have noticed in the pictures is the number of small pickup trucks.  The people in Ecuador are crazy for off-road vehicles, even if they don't need them.  The streets are pretty small, so full-size trucks like this F-150 are rare and look truly massive.

More common are older, more compact trucks and 4x4's like the Suzuki Jimny (Samurai here)

Old Mazda and Datsun pickups, 

And the venerable Russian Lada Niva 4x4.

Strong like ox 

Of course, as far as new trucks go, they luckily have the Hilux

But the really cool option that they have for new trucks is the South American version of the Chevy Colorado, called the Chevy or Isuzu D-Max.  I know what you're thinking, but stop right there.  The things that the South American trucks and the North American have in common are basically the body shape and interior pieces, but the S.A. version looks way cooler.  They also come with a 3.0L 4-cylinder turbodiesel that we can't option here in the U.S, and I didn't see one that had an automatic transmission... 

Chevy/Isuzu D-max

Rows and Rows of brand new Mazda pickups

There is also an influx of Chinese "designed" pickup trucks.  The one manufacturer you see everywhere is Great Wall Motors with their pickup named the Wingle.  It's basically a copy of two trucks: The rear is a copy of the Chevy Colorado and the front end is stolen from a VW Magellan concept truck, which basically looks like a tall, fat Golf. 

You can also find a few Utes down there, like this Dacia Pickup

Great news!

And this VW Saveiro, which I haven't seen before

Of course, not everybody drives a car, but it's mostly the indigenous tribes that still use horses and mules as their work machines...

And the many people who ride the extremely cheap buses.  Traveling from one city to another on this awesome looking bus costs only $0.25!

They turn into glowing transformers at night!  Too fast to focus!

The work vans in Ecuador are a bit...smaller... than the ones up here.  This little Chevrolet had the wheelbase of Project Tinymobile!

These little Asian vans are barely bigger 

Most of the trucks end up being WELL used...

Too much NOS!

 like this old Chevy truck, that would be a serious classic in North America!

 Stickers are a way of life here.  You name it, cars, trucks, carts, buses, vans, and it's sponsored by all the big name tuning companies.

Every now and then you'll spot a trusty old diesel Benz

And a 4x4 Chevy Chevette!

Of course, there are tuners too.  Stance Nation is alive and well in Ecuador, but you can't slam the cars too low without really causing damage here.  Some of the speed bumps are an easy 6-7" tall.

All this Chevy Spark needs is a set of bolt-on flares, and the ladies will come running!

It's a big deal in Ecuador too. 

Be sure to check back for part 2 where I show some of what makes the roads and highways of this beautiful country!  Till then, stay Friv


  1. Hey Young Man, that "Old Chevy truck" is in reality, and "Old International Truck".......In case you wuz wonderin'............From someone old enough to know!

    "Where did I fail..........".

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