Oddballs You've Probably Never Heard Of


TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2007
Reaction score
Cali, Colombia
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
From behind the Iron Curtain. In the sixties, seventies eighties and early nineties many vehicles from Russia and Eastern Europe were brought into Colombia. In the seventies some were brought in in exchange for coffee. A problem that most suffered was lack of dealer service as unscrupulous importers would bring in a boat load, sell them and disappear. leaving the buyer on his own. This is a Wartburg pickup manufactured in East Germany that I photographed in Cali. It appears to have been converted to four wheel drive. Some others that were brought in to Colombia: Aleko, Russian and brought in as taxis, Aro from Romania, several versions including 240, 241, 320 and Carpati, Dacia, Romanian, cars and 4x4s, GAZ, (Gorkovska Automobilova Zadov) Russian, sold in Colombia from 1965 t0 1969, a very popular 4x4 in outlying areas for its ruggedness and simplicity, I.F.A. East German, buses and big trucks, Kamaz, Russian, big trucks , I still see them on the road, Kraz, Russian, heavy duty dump trucks, Lada, Russian, the Niva 4x4 and several cars based on FIAT. most still circulating in Colombia, Olitcit, Romanian, disconinued version of a French Citroen sold in Colombia from 1993 to 1995, seen a couple, Pelonez, Polish, popular as taxis, FIAT Polski, assembled in Colombia, taxis, Skoda, Czechoslovakian, still limited sales in Colombia, Tavira, Russian, a primitive car but seen a couple, UAZ, Russian, a popular jeep, the new version currently available in Bogotá, Volga, Russian, automobiles, Warszawa, Polish, car and pickup, Wartburg, East German 2 cycle three cylinder motors, Yugo, Yugoslavian, probably one of the cheapest cars sold in the US, sold in Colombia for one year, never seen one here, Zastava, also Yugoslavian, based on FIATs cars, I've seen a few in Cali amd Zastiva, also Yugoslavia, versions of FIAT. Unfortunately fpr collectors of Easternn Bloc cars the above are quickly dissappearing due to stricter mechanical revision laws.

A remarkable number of those East Bloc soupcans surfaced in Canada in the late '70s/early '80s, sold new through sketchy dealers in Toronto and Montreal. Broke-ass grad students loved them a few years later when they sold for a few hundred bucks. The less-than-horrid little Hyundai Pony also sneaked in then, too--late '60s Toyota /Nissan technology in a then-new Korean wrapper.
Love the rock behind the wheel
You certainly find some very interesting vehicles.....:onthego:
Aleko seems to have become Moskvich.
I've heard of about half the brands you've listed in bold, but probably only actually been in 4 or 5 of them. I have to admit I didn't pay too much attention to the brands of taxi/coach I travelled in while in Russia & Roumania, the abysmal driving was often a larger concern.

Do you have photos of any of the others?
No I'm afraid I don't. When I first came to Cali in 2002 there were still a fair number on the streets. I saw Tavira, Zastiva, Oltcit and Lada among others but they have mostly disappeared probably due to increasingly tighter vehicle inspection laws. I do still Lada Niva 4x4 fairly frequently.
The UAZ I’ve head of. There was a short article in Field and Stream about it, maybe 20 years ago.
I understand brand new 2022 UAZ are for sale in Bogotá but unfortunately no where else in the country. Same with Skoda.

Most reactions