Cars of Malta – February 2022

Although globalisation has seen an increasingly similar range of cars available in many markets of the world, certainly when grouped together such as North America, Asia or Europe, there are still countries you can visit whee for various the car enthusiast can have some fun spotting cars that are unfamiliar and which are ones that they have not seen before or in some cases not even heard of. Combine that with factors such as a temperate climate, and a small island so total mileages are not that great and you can certainly end up with quite a long list of different models to look out for compared to a market such as the UK. The mediterranean island of Malta is a case in point. It is not large, so cars are not going to do many miles in a year (I used a lot less than a tank of fuel in a week despite travelling all over the island), and there is no need to salt the roads, so cars last. It used to be the case that British cars of yesteryear could be seen in everyday use, as I found out when I first visited some twenty years ago, but on visiting in early 2022, I found that most of these had largely been retired and among the population mostly of small cars, there were a lot of Japanese and Korean cars. Some had been sold here new, but others, generally identifiable by having square rear licence plates were more recent JDM imports. That meant that familiar cars, such as the Nissan Micra and Toyota Yaris could also be seen with their Japanese markets names of March and Vitz respectively, but there were also some more unfamiliar cars. there is a thriving classic car scene here, too, and I did some real beauties whilst out and about but inevitably it was whilst I was driving, and hence unable to take photos of those I saw. The ones depicted here are cars I came across on the street when I was out and about on foot in various parts of the island which were in places where I could get a reasonable photo, though some are clearly better than others, and some of the cars were more presentable than others.


When it came to replacing the 33, Alfa decided that they needed not just a five door hatch, but a three door as well, just as had been offered with the AlfaSud. The three door model, the Alfa Romeo 145 (Tipo 930A) was first to appear, making its debut on static display at the April 1994 Turin Motor Show and then at the Paris Motor Show in July. A simultaneous European commercial launch was planned for 9 September, but it was delayed until October. It was only in April 1992 that work had begun on a second car, the 146 or Tipo 930B, derived from and to be sold alongside the 145; with its more traditionally Alfa Romeo style it was aimed at a different clientele, that of the outgoing Alfa Romeo 33. The 146 premiéred in November 1994 at the Bologna Motor Show and went on sale in May 1995. The two cars shared design plans and interior components from the B-pillar forwards, but with very different looking rear ends. Based, as they were, on the Fiat Group’s Tipo Due (Type Two) platform, the 145 and 146 had a unibody structure, front MacPherson strut and rear trailing arm suspensions. A peculiarity of these cars is that they were designed to be fitted with both longitudinal engines (the older Boxers) and with transverse engines (the diesels and the Twin Spark). The former were mounted in the same configuration as on the 33 or Alfasud, that is longitudinally overhanging the front axle with the gearbox towards the cabin; the latter in the conventional transverse position with the gearbox to the left side. All engines were coupled to 5-speed manual transmissions. Steering was rack and pinion, with standard hydraulic power assistance. At launch the engine line-up for both cars comprised a 1.9-litre inline-four turbo diesel and the boxer petrol engines from the 33, in 1.3 8-valve, 1.6 8-valve and range topping 1.7 16-valve flat four forms. Depending on the market, the engines were available in either or both base and better equipped L (for “Lusso”) trim levels; L trim standard equipment was richer on larger engined cars. Flagship sport models with the two-litre 16-valve Twin Spark inline-four engine from the Alfa Romeo 155 arrived a year after the début: the 145 Quadrifoglio and 146 ti. Each of the two-litre versions had a unique trim level; both included richer standard equipment than L trims, like ABS, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob and available Recaro sport seats. The 145 Quadrifoglio (145 Cloverleaf in the UK), launched at the September 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show and on sale from October,had deep body-colour side skirts with “green cloverleaf” badges and 5-hole alloy wheels. The 146 ti went on sale in February 1996. It came with painted side skirts, a boot spoiler and 12-hole alloy wheels. Two-litre cars were equipped with stiffer suspension, uprated all-disk braking system, ABS, wider, lower-profile tires and ‘quick-rack’ direct steering (also seen on the 155, GTV and Spider) which improved responsiveness, but also compromised the turning circle. The sporty suspension set-up was harsher than many others in its category at the time, but this was in line with the Fiat Group’s marketing of Alfa Romeo as a sporting brand and it is said to have resulted in class leading handling. From January 1997 all the boxer engines were phased out in favour of 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 versions of the Twin Spark 16-valve engine.1.8-litre cars adopted the sport chassis, steering and brakes of the Quadrifoglio/ti, and also offered some of their optional equipment such as the sport seats. At the same time the interior was updated: a new air conditioning system, a redesigned dashboard an upholstered insert were fitted. Outside changes were minor: new wheel covers and alloy wheels and a wider choice of paint colours. In late 1997 Alfa Romeo introduced the Junior, a trim level targeted at young buyers that combined the sport styling and chassis setup of the range topping models with the affordable entry-level 1.4 powertrain,later with 1.6 engine too. Based on the 1.4 L, Junior cars were distinguished by the Quadrifoglio’s side skirts with “Junior” badges, specific 15 inch alloy wheels, and by the stainless steel exhaust tip (as well as, on the 146, the boot spoiler) from the ti. A year later 1.8 and 2.0 Twin Spark engines received the updates first introduced on the Alfa Romeo 156; thanks to variable length intake manifolds the two powertrains gained 4-5 PS and reached peak torque at engine speeds some 500 rpm lower. At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1999 Alfa Romeo introduced the restyled ’99 line-up for both models. The new common rail direct injection 1.9 JTD turbo diesel replaced the 1.9 TD. The main changes outside were new, body-colour bumpers with round fog lights and narrow protection strips; the interior got new upholstery and detail trim changes such as chrome vent surrounds. Optional side airbags complemented the already available passenger and standard driver airbags. The Junior trim level was discontinued, in favour of “pack sport” option package that included side skirts, rear spoiler, alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and sport seats, all standard features on the two-litre models. A second “pack lusso” package offered leather steering wheel, velour upholstery and mahogany wood trim. In September of the next year, at the Paris Motor Show the all-new Alfa Romeo 147 was presented Eventually, in 2000, the 145/146 cars were superseded by the all-new 147, which was a far bigger commercial success, with its acclaimed styling front end and improved quality. Still, many enthusiasts feel that it lost a little of the special feel and Alfa Romeo that the 145 had. 221,037 145s and 233,295 146s were built, There are depressingly few survivors of either model in the UK, so it was nice to see this 146 represented here even if it was less than pristine.


Having a rather short production life was the GTA version of the 147. Launched in 2002. this car was intended to compete with the most sporting Golf and Focus models of the day. as well as injecting more potency into a range which always seemed like it needed more power. Fitted with a 3.2 V6 engine which produced 247 bhp, the 147GTA was the most powerful hot hatch available at the time, and the modifications to the body, including lower sills and wider wheel arches, if anything, made it look even better rather than endowing it with the sort of “after market look” that can afflict some high end performance versions of regular family cars. Performance figures were impressive, with the car able to achieve a top speed of 153 mph. It had a widened body by 15 mm at each side to accommodate the 225/45R17 tyres. Most models had a 6-speed manual transmissions; whilst a smaller number of other models used the semi automatic Selespeed system. Production ran through to 2004 and in total 5,029 147 GTAs were built, 1004 of which were Selespeeds. Only around 300 came to the UK, so this was never a common sighting on British roads. I can’t imagine there are many in Malta.


Visually similar to the 159 models at the front, the Brera and Spider boasted unique styling from the A pillars rearwards. They were offered with the same range of engines as the 159, and thanks to that strong, but rather heavy platform on which they were built, even the 3.2 litre V6 cars were more Grand Tourer than rapid sports car. Pininfarina was responsible for both models. The Brera was first to market, in 2005, with the Spider following in 2006. Production of both ceased in late 2010, by which time 12,488 units of the Spider and 21,786 units of the Brera had been built. It will be very surprising if these do not attain classic status, and the consequent rise in values, though that has not happened yet.



During the 1980s, a number of manufacturers started to realise that the hatchback was not necessarily what everyone wanted for their family car and a number of saloon models were added to the range, such as the VW Derby ad Jetta and Ford’s Orion. In most of the major European markets these sold in relatively small numbers compared to the more versatile hatch but the further south you went, the more popular the saloon models proved to be, and so whilst few of this genre are now sold in the UK, France or Germany, there are still some surprise when you see a booted version of car that did not know had been made. I’ve seen three box Astra models in Spain, right up to the previous generation car, and the saloon version of the Citroen C4 is also a relatively common sight there, but this one was a new one on me, a saloon version of the latest Ford Focus.



The Pride was a Kia badged version of the Festiva and was manufactured in South Korea by Kia Motors from March 1987 to January 2000. Prior to its South Korean market release, exports as the Festiva had begun in December 1986 to Japan and the United States. The Pride was sold in four-door sedan form (in LX, GTX, and β trim levels), as well as three- and five-door hatchback forms (the CD-5) and five-door wagon body styles. The original Pride was only available as a three-door hatchback, while the five-door was added in June 1988. The four-door sedan model, the Pride Beta, arrived in November 1990, and the range was completed by the three-door van and five-door wagon in February 1992. In November 1993 the Pride received a minor facelift and production was also moved to Kia’s Asia Motors subsidiary’s Gwangju plant as Kia focused on the new Avella (Ford Aspire/WB Festiva). Until the Mazda 121 was replaced in late 1990, Kia-badged cars were only exported to certain tertiary markets. The Pride was replaced in 2000 by the Rio. The Pride launched in the United Kingdom in June 1991, fitted with both the 1.1- B1 and 1.3-litre B3 engines. The 1.1 was only available as a three-door in the basic L trim (whitewall tyres were a commonplace feature on them). There was also a panel van two-seater version in the UK and some other markets. Fuel injection appeared on the 1.3-litre-engined models in November 1994, referred to as the “1.3i”. At this time, the 1.1-litre version was deleted. December 1995 saw the Start 1.3i three-door replace the L, but from June 1999, the entry-level three-door was again renamed S with the higher-level three- and five-doors known as the SX. Production ended during 2000.



The VAZ-2108, known as the Lada Samara in much of Western Europe (codenamed and later officially badged as the Lada Sputnik in its native Russia), is a series of small family cars produced by Soviet/Russian vehicle manufacturer AvtoVAZ under the Lada brand between 1984 and 2013. The model name Samara originally was used only for exported models, in the Soviet Union the same model was called Sputnik (“fellow traveler”, “satellite”) until 1991, when the sedan version of the Samara entered in production, using the export name. It was the first front-wheel drive serial car built in the Soviet Union after the LuAZ-969V. The Samara had been modified and restyled during the years of production before it was finally discontinued in December 2013. The Samara was a car that combined a robust build and ease of maintenance with a modern style. It was produced in various three, four and five-door designs with 1.1, 1.3 and 1.5-litre petrol engines. VAZ had hoped that the Samara would enable it to compete for sales in the mainstream European car market, where the company’s traditional Fiat 124-based “Zhiguli” models were looked upon as increasingly outmoded and out of date. It was the second autonomous design from VAZ (the first was the Niva SUV), and the first model not based on the Fiat 124 mechanicals. VAZ had made their first front-wheel drive prototype, the VAZ-1101, in the early 1970s. The engine from the Fiat 127 was used. Further development of this project led to the 900 cc Ladoga three-door hatchback prototype in 1976. The decision to build the Samara was taken on 16 September 1978, the intention being to build a car with strong potential sales in Western European export markets. Proposals for a distinctive saloon, four-door, and both three- and five-door hatchback were considered; it was decided instead the saloon should share the three-door hatchback’s sheetmetal forward of the C-pillar. (Design work on the four-door went toward the VAZ-2110 instead. During its development, VAZ designers paid careful attention to the contemporary Renault 9, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Escort Mark III, Opel Kadett, and Volvo 340, which would be the new VAZ-2108’s main competitors. Front suspension was MacPherson struts, rear by torsion bar. It also had rack and pinion steering, another Soviet first. On 31 December 1979, the first VAZ-2108 prototype was completed. It strongly resembled the earlier Ladoga, and the VAZ-1106 saloon. While named Sputnik at home, it was more commonly known as the Vos’merka (“Eighth”) after the last digit in the model code. The export version was named after the Samara River, a tributary to the Volga. The first cars left the production line on 18 December 1984. These, the three-door hatchbacks (the only model available at first), were powered by a belt-driven SOHC 1,288 cc inline-four, and were fitted with a four-speed gearbox. The three-door was joined by a five-door, and by models with 1,099 cc (a destroked version of the 1288) or 1,499 cc (a bored-out 1288) engines. (The head was developed in co-operation with Porsche, though most Western observers assumed Porsche’s involvement went beyond just engines, and the carburetors in connection with Solex.. In 1987, the model range was joined by the 21083, with a 71 bhp 1,499 cc engine and five-speed gearbox, and the 21081, with a 53 bhp 1,099 cc. The 1099 was an export-only variant. Top speeds were 87 mph (140 km/h) (1099), 92 mph (148 km/h) (1288) and 97 mph (156 km/h) (1499); fuel economy was 7.9 L/100 km (36 mpg‑imp; (1099), 9.3 L/100 km (30 mpg‑imp) (1288), or 9.5 L/100 km (30 mpg‑imp (1499). VAZ also debuted the 2109 five-door hatchback that year, also available with the 1,099 cc, 1,288 cc and 1,499 cc. In 1989, the 21099 saloon followed, which had a new bonnet, grille, wings, and 200 mm (7.9 in)-longer rear overhang, as well as an improved dashboard. The 21099’s front-end styling was adopted on the 2109 in 1992 and the 2108 in 1994. A number of other minor alterations followed, including fuel-injected engines to meet emissions regulations in export markets. On the earlier Samaras the front clip had been a separate piece, surrounding the headlights. On the sedan version, the fenders go all the way up to the headlights and the lip of the bonnet dips between the headlights and meets the slimmer grille. Full production of the 21099 began in December 1990, with models 210993 (1288), 21099 (1499). The saloon, intended as a premium model compared to the hatchback, was given a distinctive branding in some export markets: Diva (Belgium), Sagona (France), Forma (Germany). Belgium also offered a locally built convertible. The 1.1 and 1.3 were eventually taken out of production, having already been withdrawn from export markets. A Wankel engined Samara three-door hatchback, the 2108–91, powered by a two-rotor VAZ-415 (with two 654 cc rotors) was sold in Russia only, and only in very small numbers. With a five-speed gearbox, it was priced at 56,000 rubles. Due to severe reliability problems, this remained rare, most commonly bought by police and other agencies to use as a pursuit vehicle, for which its 124 mph (200 km/h) top speed was ideal; it was capable of 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) in eight seconds. The subsequent 2109-91 five-door hatchback had the same VAZ-415 and gearbox. There was also a rear-engined Samara 4×4 rally car, also known as the NAMI 0290, built for the 1985 Soyuz Rally; it had permanent four-wheel drive and a 150 hp 1,568 cc Zhiguli-based engine, over the rear axle. It was nicknamed Appelsin (“orange”, for its paint), and used ZAZ-1102 doors (though the body was mostly fiberglass, weighing only 960 kg (2,116 lb)) and still using factory Samara wheels. The 1987 mid-engined Samara-EVA had a turbocharged 16-valve 1,860 cc engine (with electronic fuel injection) of 300 bhp; a naturally-aspirated version produced 160 bhp. The only component left untouched was the original Zhuguli 2106 block. An even more powerful Samara S-Proto appeared in 1989, putting out 350 bhp. Most notably, the Samara T3 came seventh in class in the 1990 Paris-Dakar Rally and fifth in 1991, piloted by Jacky Ickx. The T3 did not contain many Samara parts however, using the Porsche 959’s four-wheel drive system and a 3.6-litre Porsche flat-six. It was developed by French concessionaire Lada-Poch together with NAMI and the Tupolev aircraft factory. In the mid-1980s Lada developed its first ever convertible car on its own, then actually entering production and quickly exported to most European countries, called the Lada Natasha Cabriolet, a four-seater convertible that was based on the popular Samara 1300/1500 models with a manual opening and closing canvas roof. Also in some European car markets the LADA Niva 4X4 1600 cc engine was also available for both the Lada Natasha and Lada Samara cars during the 1990s. The Samara was sold all across the world, from Australia to Canada, in most European countries and throughout the COMECON sphere. The build quality of the Samara was better than that of most Eastern European models. In most nations, versions and equipments were decided on and installed by the dealers themselves. These local varieties ranged from decals and badges to the convertible conversions offered in Belgium and Germany. The Samara was often sold under other names as well, in particular the VAZ 21099 (Samara Sedan), which was sold as the Sagona (France, Canada, and Spain), Diva (Belgium and the Netherlands), Forma (Germany) and Sable (Australia and New Zealand). It was engineered in right-hand drive for the UK market, where it was sold from November 1987. It was sold there until VAZ withdrew from the UK market in July 1997, and was the most popular Lada model sold in the UK during the 23 years that the brand was sold there. In certain markets where the tax structure benefited diesels (such as France and the Benelux), the Samara was available with a 1.5-litre Peugeot diesel engine in 1995–97. With VAZ facing financial hardships in 1996–1997, exports began coming to a halt. The Lada Samara disappeared from Canada after the 1997 model year, leaving the Niva as the only Lada sold in Canada for the 1998 model year. Exports to Australia and Great Britain ended around the same time. The biggest problem was GM’s reluctance to sell the fuel-injection kits necessary for exports, as they doubted VAZ’s ability to pay. Faced with parts shortages, tax problems, and the chaos and criminality of Russia in the mid-nineties,export efforts languished and RHD production was no longer feasible. As a partial response to this situation, a higher-quality version for the European market, the Lada EuroSamara or Samara Baltic in some markets, was assembled in Finland at the Valmet Automotive plant in Uusikaupunki. Production started in mid-1996 and ended in July 1998, with 14,000 cars made from 85 per cent Russian parts.

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This is one of a handful of supercars I saw during my time on the island. It was parked outside the casino, just a few yards from my hotel. As I pointed the camera at it, some very officious security lady came over to me and told me that I was not allowed to take a photo of it…. but when I saw other people doing just that (and she had turned her back), I did the same as them! Replacing Lamborghini’s sales leader and most produced car, the Gallardo, the Huracán made its auto show debut at the March 2014 Geneva Auto Show, and was released in the second quarter of 2014. The name of the Huracan LP 610-4 comes from the fact that this car has 610 metric horsepower and 4 wheel drive. Huracán (huracán being the Spanish word for hurricane) is inspired by a Spanish fighting bull. Continuing the tradition of using names from historical Spanish fighting bulls, Huracán was a bull known for its courage that fought in 1879. Also Huracan is the Mayan god of wind, storm and fire. Changes from the Gallardo included full LED illumination, a 12.3 inch full-colour TFT instrument panel, Fine Nappa leather and Alcantara interior upholstery, redesigned dashboard and central tunnel, Iniezione Diretta Stratificata (IDS, essentially an adapted version of parent Audi’s Fuel Stratified Injection) direct and indirect gasoline injections, engine Stop & Start technology, EU6 emissions regulation compliance, Lamborghini Doppia Frizione (LDF) 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with 3 modes (STRADA, SPORT and CORSA), 20 inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brake system, optional Lamborghini Dynamic Steering variable steering system and MagneRide electromagnetic damper control. In early 2015, the Huracán appeared on Top Gear. It got a neutral review from Richard Hammond who said that it was too tame to be a “proper Lamborghini.” However, it got around the Top Gear test track in 1:15.8 which is faster than any other Lamborghini to go around the track to date, including the Aventador.

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Lancia launched the Delta in 1979, as what we would now think of as a “premium hatch”. Offered in 1300 and 1500cc engines, this car, which collected the prestigious “Car of the year” award a few months later, brought Italian style and an expensive feeling interior to a new and lower price point in the market than Lancia had occupied since the early days of the Fulvia some 15 years earlier. The range grew first when a model was offered using the 4 speed AP automatic transmission and then in late 1982, more powerful models started to appear, with first a 1600cc engine, and then one with fuel injection, before the introduction of the HF Turbo. All these cars kept the same appearance and were quite hard to tell apart. These were the volume models of the range, but now they are very definitely the rare ones, as it is the performance versions which have survived and are now much loved classics, even though relatively were sold when they were new, thanks to a combination of the fact that they were quite costly and that they only ever came with left hand drive. The Integrale evolved over several years, starting off as the HF Turbo 4WD that was launched in April 1986, to homologate a new rally car for Lancia who needed something to fill the void left by the cancellation of Group B from the end of 1986. The Delta HF 4X4 had a four-wheel drive system with an in-built torque-splitting action. Three differentials were used. Drive to the front wheels was linked through a free-floating differential; drive to the rear wheels was transmitted via a 56/44 front/rear torque-splitting Ferguson viscous-coupling-controlled epicyclic central differential. At the rear wheels was a Torsen (torque sensing) rear differential. It divided the torque between the wheels according to the available grip, with a maximum lockup of 70%. The basic suspension layout of the Delta 4WD remained the same as in the rest of the two-wheel drive Delta range: MacPherson strut–type independent suspension with dual-rate dampers and helicoidal springs, with the struts and springs set slightly off-centre. The suspension mounting provided more isolation by incorporating flexible rubber links. Progressive rebound bumpers were adopted, while the damper rates, front and rear toe-in and the relative angle between springs and dampers were all altered. The steering was power-assisted rack and pinion. The car looked little different from the front wheel drive models. In September 1987, Lancia showed a more sophisticated version of the car, the Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8V. This version incorporated some of the features of the Delta HF 4WD into a road car. The engine was an 8-valve 2 litre fuel injected 4-cylinder, with balancing shafts. The HF version featured new valves, valve seats and water pump, larger water and oil radiators, more powerful cooling fan and bigger air cleaner. A larger capacity Garrett T3 turbocharger with improved air flow and bigger inter-cooler, revised settings for the electronic injection/ignition control unit and a knock sensor, boosting power output to 185 bhp at 5300 rpm and maximum torque of 224 lb/ft at 3500 rpm. The HF Integrale had permanent 4-wheel drive, a front transversely mounted engine and five-speed gearbox. An epicyclic centre differential normally split the torque 56 per cent to the front axle, 44 per cent to the rear. A Ferguson viscous coupling balanced the torque split between front and rear axles depending on road conditions and tyre grip. The Torsen rear differential further divided the torque delivered to each rear wheel according to grip available. A shorter final drive ratio (3.111 instead of 2.944 on the HF 4WD) matched the larger 6.5×15 wheels to give 24 mph/1000 rpm in fifth gear. Braking and suspension were uprated to 284 mm ventilated front discs, a larger brake master cylinder and servo, as well as revised front springs, dampers, and front struts. Next update was to change the engine from 8 valves to 16. The 16v Integrale was introduced at the 1989 Geneva Motorshow, and made a winning debut on the 1989 San Remo Rally. It featured a raised centre of the bonnet to accommodate the new 16 valve engine, as well as wider wheels and tyres and new identity badges front and rear. The torque split was changed to 47% front and 53% rear. The turbocharged 2-litre Lancia 16v engine now produced 200 bhp at 5500 rpm, for a maximum speed of 137 mph and 0–100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. Changes included larger injectors, a more responsive Garrett T3 turbocharger, a more efficient intercooler, and the ability to run on unleaded fuel without modification. The first Evoluzione cars were built at the end of 1991 and through 1992. These were to be the final homologation cars for the Lancia Rally Team; the Catalytic Evoluzione II was never rallied by the factory. The Evoluzione I had a wider track front and rear than earlier Deltas. The bodyside arches were extended and became more rounded. The wings were now made in a single pressing. The front strut top mounts were also raised, which necessitated a front strut brace. The new Integrale retained the four wheel drive layout. The engine was modified to produce 210 bhp at 5750 rpm. External changes included: new grilles in the front bumper to improve the air intake for engine compartment cooling; a redesigned bonnet with new lateral air slats to further assist underbonnet ventilation; an adjustable roof spoiler above the tailgate; new five-bolt wheels with the same design of the rally cars; and a new single exhaust pipe. Interior trim was now grey Alcantara on the Recaro seats, as fitted to the earlier 16V cars; leather and air conditioning were offered as options, as well as a leather-covered Momo steering wheel. Presented in June 1993, the second Evolution version of the Delta HF Integrale featured an updated version of the 2-litre 16-valve turbo engine to produce more power, as well as a three-way catalyst and Lambda probe. A Marelli integrated engine control system with an 8 MHz clock frequency which incorporates: timed sequential multipoint injection; self-adapting injection times; automatic idling control; engine protection strategies depending on the temperature of intaken air; Mapped ignition with two double outlet coils; Three-way catalyst and pre-catalyst with lambda probe (oxygen sensor) on the turbine outlet link; anti-evaporation system with air line for canister flushing optimised for the turbo engine; new Garrett turbocharger: water-cooled with boost-drive management i.e. boost controlled by feedback from the central control unit on the basis of revs/throttle angle; Knock control by engine block sensor and new signal handling software for spark park advance, fuel quantity injected, and turbocharging. The engine now developed 215 PS as against 210 PS on the earlier uncatalysed version and marginally more torque. The 1993 Integrale received a cosmetic and functional facelift that included. new 16″ light alloy rims with 205/45 ZR 16 tyres; body colour roof moulding to underline the connection between the roof and the Solar control windows; aluminium fuel cap and air-intake grilles on the front mudguards; red-painted cylinder head; new leather-covered three-spoke MOMO steering wheel; standard Recaro seats upholstered in beige Alcantara with diagonal stitching. In its latter years the Delta HF gave birth to a number of limited and numbered editions, differing mainly in colour, trim and equipment; some were put on general sale, while others were reserved to specific markets, clubs or selected customers. This one was parked up near my hotel and outside the Casino.



The Mitsubishi Pajero Mini (Japanese: 三菱・パジェロミニ, Hepburn: Mitsubishi Pajero Mini) is a kei car produced by Mitsubishi Motors from December 1994 until June 2012. Based on the platform of the Minica, the Pajero Mini was styled as a miniature version of the company’s successful Pajero sport utility vehicle, in response to the SUV craze of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Compared to the full-sized original, the kei vehicle was considerably smaller and was fitted with petrol 660 cc four-cylinder engines. The popularity of the vehicle inspired Mitsubishi to create several limited editions, including the “Iron Cross”, “Desert Cruiser”, “White Skipper” and “Duke”. The original Pajero Mini was first presented in December 1994. It was available with a choice of naturally aspirated or turbocharged 659 cc four cylinder engines with 52 or 64 PS. Front- or four-wheel drive were available, with 2WD models receiving the H51A model code and four-wheel drives being H56A. A larger-engined version with a wider track (and correspondingly larger fender flares) was presented in October 1995; this was sold as the Mitsubishi Pajero Junior. The turbocharged models were VR-I or VR-II depending on equipment levels, while the naturally aspirated versions were called XR-I and XR-II. The “-I” versions received little standard equipment and can easily be recognized by their steel wheels, black bumpers and other trim such as door handles and rear view mirrors, and minimal brightwork. The more expensive -II models were usually painted two-tone and often receive alloy wheels and various pieces of chrome trim. In May 1996 the Pajero Mini “Skipper”, a special version for urban and town use, was released. The name is a reference to Mitsubishi’s Minica Skipper kei car coupé of the early 1970s. In December 1997, the Pajero Mini Duke was released. This had a somewhat more rugged appearance, including sturdy cladding along the sides and a grille with upright bars, a reference to Jeeps and Mitsubishi’s history of license manufacturing the CJ-3B for four-and-a-half decades. A second generation and slightly larger version debuted in 1998.



This charming 104 saloon was parked up in a side street in Marsaxxlok. On its launch in 1972, the Peugeot 104 was offered as a compact four-door saloon. Although it had a short, sloping rear end that suggested a hatchback, there was originally a separate boot/trunk, as on a conventional saloon. Power was provided from a 954 cc Douvrin engine called the PSA X engine, an all-aluminium alloy, chain driven overhead cam, with gearbox in the sump, sharing engine oil, which was jointly developed with Renault. This transmission-in-sump arrangement was similar to that pioneered by the Mini. It gave good levels of economy and refinement as well as having an impressive chassis which made ride and handling excellent. The engine was mounted leaning backwards, at a 72 degree angle. A three-door coupé was launched on a shortened chassis, with the same 954 cc engine as the saloon. Headlights were larger and rectangular in shape, rather than square. Originally sold as the “104 Coupé”, shorter wheelbase models later received names beginning with a “Z” (e.g. ZL, ZA, ZS2). Equipment levels which begin with a “G” or an “S” were used for the longer four/five-door variants. A facelift in July 1976 saw the four-door saloon replaced with a five-door hatchback. Peugeot had been afraid that a five-door 104 would steal sales from the old-fashioned 204 Break, but with production of the 204 coming to an end in July 1976 this was no longer a concern. Rear light clusters were modified slightly with indicators that wrapped around to the sides of the car, and a 1.1-litre engine was also made available. The coupé was made available in two versions, the ZL and also the more powerful ZS with 66 PS. A modified camshaft on the 954 cc engines also retarded the valve timing in order to favour fuel economy at the price of a slight power reduction. The revised models only appeared in right-hand drive form at the end of the year. 1977 proved to be the most successful year for the 104, with 190,000 being built. For the 1978 facelift, the coupé gained a third (cheaper) commercial variant with only two seats, the ZA, and all coupé variants were given larger rear light clusters with integral reversing lights. Higher specification five-door models gained the larger headlights and grille introduced for the coupé. The more powerful engine from the ZS was briefly available in the five-door hatchback “Sundgau” special edition, of which 1,200 examples were built in March and April 1978. For 1979 the ZL Coupé was upgraded to a 57 PS version of the 1,124 cc engine. The 1980 facelift was minor, with model designations changing in line with other vehicles in the Peugeot line-up. However, a 1.2-litre engine was now also offered (in the SR), with the same power as the lesser 1.1 The 1982 facelift incorporated smaller headlights, a new grille and rear light clusters that included reversing lights. The amount of chrome trim was reduced and generally replaced by black plastic. At the end of summer, the ZS coupé variant was given an 80 PS (79 hp) 1,360 cc engine to improve its performance. The existing 72 PS version remained on sale at a lower price until the 1984 model year was introduced. The power gain was achieved by using two carburettors rather than one double-barrel unit. In 1983, the number of models offered was reduced to make way for the new 205 and exports to most foreign markets gradually came to an end. It remained on sale in France until the end of production in 1988. The sporting ZS remained on sale until late 1985; for the 1986 model year only the 50 PS 1,124 cc engine remained. There was a minor facelift in 1987, introducing a new grille with three body-coloured horizontal bars and anthracite bumpers – now without a chrome band. The Z, Style Z, and five-door GLS continued to be available with this engine in the home market until 1988.

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Launched in September 1991, the 106 was Peugeot’s entry level offering throughout its production life, and was initially sold only as a three door hatchback, with a five door hatchback joining the range in the beginning of 1992. The “10” line of Peugeot superminis had commenced in 1972 with the launch of the 104, one of the first modern European superminis. The 104 was effectively replaced by the Peugeot 205 in 1983, but remained in production for some markets until 1988. There was no “105”. The 106 was introduced as a three door hatchback in continental Europe in September 1991, and two months later in the United Kingdom. The initial engine range had 1.0, 1.1 and 1.4 petrol engines, as well as a 1.5 diesel. The early 1.0 and 1.1s were carburetted, but were replaced with fuel injection after a year due to EC emissions requirements. The 106 was updated in July 1996, with changes including the introduction of side impact bars and availability of driver and passenger airbags for the first time, with the new 1.6 GTI joining the range as the spiritual successor to the hugely popular and highly regarded 205 GTI, which had been discontinued in 1994. In January 1996, the Peugeot 106 also formed the basis for the near identical looks and size Citroën Saxo. Marketed as having “fewer frills, more thrills”, the Rallye version had trademark steel wheels painted white. Power steering, central locking, and electric windows were omitted to keep the weight down to 825 kilograms. There were pre and post facelift versions of the 106 Rallye known to enthusiasts as S1 and S2 models, with the latter having a 103bhp 1.6 litre (TU5J2) engine in place of the original high revving Rallye specific 1.3 100bhp (TU2J2) engine fitted to pre facelift cars. Contrary to some sources, the S1 models did not share the same engine with the 205 Rallye and AX Sport, which used a carburettor TU24 engine. The dimensions of the aluminium S1 block resemble those of the 1.4 iron block with slightly lowered capacity to comply with the rules of the lower French rally classes at the time.(Under 1.300cc) The S1 (TU2J2)and S2 (TU5J2) were fuel injected, employing Magneti Marelli multi point fuel injection systems. The S1 Rallye were designed as a homologation special to compete in the 1300cc rally class. It featured a four cylinder, 8 valve, high compression engine with an aggressive cam profile designed to come ‘on song’ between 5400 and the 7200rpm redline. This engine coupled to a short ratio five speed gearbox made the 1.3 more of a sprinter than a cruiser. 70mph on the motorway was a noisy 4,000rpm in fifth gear, but given enough tarmac, the little 1.3 would redline in top gear at 115mph. The 106 was competitive in racing, but also made a practical small family car. All cars had steel wheels, and Rallye decals and seat coverings featuring a one or three colour flash, which again varied between early and late cars. With facelift came new top model named Peugeot 106 GTI with 1.6 litre 16 valves engine that produce 120hp. It came with new exterior body kit and new wheels. On some markets in Europe, it was badged S16 or Rallye. Production ceased in 2003. The 106’s successor, the Peugeot 107, along with rebadged versions, Citroën C1 and Toyota Aygo, was launched two years later in June 2005, as a joint venture with Toyota.



It’s always interesting to see what the local police forces choose to use in any given country With only a few miles of motorway there is no need for much in the wy of high speed prusit cars here, so smaller machines that can cope with sometimes narrow streets are more important attributes. These cars were parked up outside the police station on the waterfront in St Julian.

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Another high end car that I saw parked up near my hotel was this 911 Targa.

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I saw this R12 drive past me whilst I was looking for a parking slot in Valetta, the island’s capital then later I came across it parked up. This 2.5 million unit selling car was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1969. Work had begun on it was early as January 1964, when the Styling Centre began to design a model intended to bridge the gap between the Renault 8 and the Renault 16. At the time of its launch, the R12 was only available as a 4-door saloon, in L and TL specifications. The more expensive TL featured two separate reclining front seats instead of one front bench seat, armrests on the doors, lights in the boot and glovebox, a heated rear window, and extra warning lights. It would have been a simple matter to install the light weight engine from the Renault 16 in the Renault 12, and this was later done for some high-end versions. However Renault had successfully built market share since 1945 by competing aggressively on price. In the closely contested 1300cc category it was left to the new Peugeot 304 to attract customers willing to pay a premium price, while for the Renault 12, at launch, the aluminium block of the Renault 16 was rejected on cost grounds. Instead, Renault specified an enlarged version of the iron Cléon unit, used since 1962 in the Renault 8/10. The engine’s size was increased to 1289 cc for use in the 12. Listed power output was 60 hp which provided for a respectable top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph). The new version of the five-bearing engine initially fitted on the Renault 12 retained the removable cylinder liners that Renault had long favoured. The longitudinal placement of the engine, most of its mass positioned ahead of the front wheels, allowed the R12 to have a very simple design of the gear-selector that was placed on the floor of the car, and not on the dashboard as with the R4 or on the steering column as with the R16. On the early cars the handle to operate the handbrake was placed under the dashboard. The handbrake was later relocated to a position between the two front seats. The R12’s suspension also differed from that of the R4 and R16, using a rigid (but light) rear axle as opposed to four-wheel independent suspension. The use of a rigid rear axle from a manufacturer that had championed all-round independent suspension for twenty-five years was seen by many commentators as a retrograde step. In 1970, two new variants were introduced. The estate was launched with the same trim levels and engines as in the saloon and a high performance Renault 12 Gordini model was introduced equipped with the all-aluminium 1565 cc block from the R16 TS fitted with two double-barrel Weber carburettors producing 125 PS (123 hp), a reinforced crankshaft, a five speed gearbox, ventilated disc brakes on the front wheels and normal disc brakes on the rear wheels, as well as a tuned suspension. The Gordini was able to reach 185 km/h (115 mph) and was sold with paint schemes comprising a solid pastel colour (there were several to choose from) with double white stripes added on, the most famous combination being French Blue with stripes. 2225 Renault 12 Gordinis were sold in 1971 but after that sales began a free fall. Renault stopped production of the Gordini in 1974 after 5188 had been sold (compared to 11,607 Renault 8 Gordinis). In October 1972, the more upmarket R12 TS was introduced. It used the same 1289 cc engine as in other R12s, but was equipped with a single, double barrel Weber carburettor, which increased power to 64 PS ( 63 hp) and raised the top speed to 150 km/h (93 mph). Aesthetically, the car was distinguishable from other R12s by its special Gordini-style wheels, a chrome strip along the side of the car, and in some countries, two extra headlights. The TS also featured integrated headrests, a tachometer and a cooling-fluid temperature gauge. October 1972 was also when the hand brake lever was relocated from a position ahead of the driver to a floor-mounted location between the front seats. This became possible because now, even on the base “L” version of the car, the front bench seat was replaced by two individual seats. In October 1973, the R12 TR appeared. This model slotted between the TL and TS, and had automatic transmission as standard. The whole range was facelifted in 1975 with a simplified grille, new rear lamps and dashboard. The Renault 12’s successor, the Renault 18, was launched in 1978, but French production of the Renault 12 continued for two more years in spite of its successor’s instant popularity.



The Škoda 105, Škoda 120 and Škoda 125 were three variations of a rear-engined, rear-wheel drive small family car that was produced by Czechoslovakian car manufacturer AZNP in Mladá Boleslav, Czechoslovakia between 1976 and 1990. Engine sizes were 1.05 and 1.2 litres respectively. The range was face lifted in 1984 with a revised design and engine improvements, together with the introduction of a new 1.3 liter version known as the Škoda 130. The related models followed in 1987 with the Škoda 130/135/136. All 105/120/125 and 130 models known by their Škoda internal reference as Type 742, and the later 135 and 136 models as Type 746. In the UK, the 105/120 models were known as the Super Estelle until 1984, when the face-lifted models were called Estelle Two. In the early 1970s, Škoda had originally intended to produce their successor to the S100/110 as a front-engined front-wheel drive model. However, because of the lack of funding (Škoda had even applied for license in Moscow to produce their new car with a front-engine and front-wheel drive), Škoda was refused a licence and was forced to update the earlier S100/110 saloon models. The main reason Škoda was not granted a licence to produce their new car was because it would have turned out to be a thoroughly more modern car than any other car from the Soviet Union, something which the Russians wouldn’t have been too happy about. At that time, most cars from the Soviet Union had either a front engine driving the rear wheels or a rear engine driving the rear wheels. There was even a front-engined front-wheel drive Škoda 105/120 prototype, which looked almost identical to the rear-engined one. Because imports were banned, Škoda would not have had the proper resources or technology to produce a front-engined car with front-wheel drive. The Škoda 105/120 went into production in August 1976. Despite being basically the same as the previous S100/110 under the skin, the new cars featured a lot of improvements, such as a front-mounted radiator with a thermostatic fan. The heating unit was now inside the dashboard, and the fuel tank was now underneath the rear seat. All models had much the same mechanical specification as the previous models, with a 4-speed gearbox, independent suspension at the front, worm-and-drive steering, and swing-axle rear suspension. An interesting feature found on the 105/120 was the side-hinged bonnet, which opened up like the top of a concert piano. The Škoda 105/120 was initially available in three model forms with a choice of two engines: the 105 S and 105 L were powered by the 1046cc 44 bhp engine, while the 120 L was powered by the 1174cc 49 bhp engine. The 120 LS and 120 GLS models, which had the more powerful 1174cc 54 bhp engine and higher levels of equipment, joined the line-up in 1977 and 1978 respectively. The cars were initially criticised for unpredictable handling “at the limit” but it is unlikely that most motorists would notice anything untoward under normal conditions. The cars continued to win their class with monotonous regularity on international rallies, and were increasingly popular with budget-conscious motorists across Europe. The location of the radiator at the front of the car had the advantage of cooling the engine much more efficiently on the motorway. However, because it was much more complex than in the earlier models, the cooling system was very prone to airlocks, which often led to overheating and even head gasket failure. Rugged and robust vehicles, they were designed for the often poor quality roads of Soviet-dominated Central and Eastern Europe, where the best traction layout of a two-wheel drive car is a significant benefit. They were once a common sight in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Even enthusiasts for the marque would agree that quality control could sometimes have been improved in this era. It was these cars that inspired the famous Škoda jokes, but re-evaluation of the models with the benefit of many years hindsight means that the cars are much more highly regarded today. The existing 105/120 lineup was joined with the 120 LS in 1977. It had a more powerful 54bhp version of the 1174cc engine from the 120 L as well as a higher equipment level. April 1978 saw the arrival of the top-spec 120 GLS as well as the 120 standard model. In March 1981, the 105 GL was added to the lineup. It was mechanically identical to the existing 105 S and 105 L models only it featured the equipment specification of the 120 GLS model. Both the 105 GL and the 120 GLS were given black bumpers and horizontal taillights. In November 1981, the range was supplemented by an attractive Škoda Garde coupé, which was equipped with the 1174 cc, 54 bhp (40 kW; 55 PS) engine from the 120 LS and 120 GLS Saloon models. This had much improved semi-trailing arm rear suspension, and paved the way for the 130-136 models of the late 1980s. The later coupé Škoda Rapid was a facelifted version of Škoda Garde. In November 1982, the 105 SP and 120 LE were added to the range. The 105 SP essentially a commercial version of the 105 S, having no rear seats and no glass just solid metal in the rear doors; it was only available in Czechoslovakia, sometimes used for postal delivery. The 120 LE was identical to the 120 L but with a modified top gear ratio to improve fuel economy (hence ‘E’ for Economic). The Škoda 130 models followed in 1984 and introduced many improvements into the existing 105/120 range. The very first Škoda 130 models were introduced in August 1984, shortly after the earlier Škoda 105/120 models were given a mild revamp. Developed from the earlier Škoda 105/120 models (some of which continued [alongside the Škoda 130 models] in production, like the 105S, 105L, 120L, 120GL, 120LS, 120LX and 120GLS), the 130 series used a new 1289 cc engine (which produced 58 bhp, and which was just an enlarged version of the 1174 cc engine used in the 120 series); this 1289 cc engine also saw use in the car’s successor, the Škoda Favorit. In addition, the rear suspension was now redesigned to a semi-trailing arm layout, and the track of the car was widened to 55 inches (1395 mm). 5 speed gearboxes and “four pot” front brake disc calipers were other updates. The new models countered the earlier criticism that had been made in some quarters of tail-happy handling, with the prominent UK motoring magazine “Autocar and Motor” remarking in 1988 that the new 136 Rapid model “handles like a Porsche 911”. In 1987, with the introduction of the new Škoda Favorit, the Škoda 105/120 series was trimmed to just the 105 L, 105 SP, 120 L and 120 GL. The 125 L (which was identical to the 120 L but with a 5-speed gearbox) was added in October 1988 and was the final model to evolve from the 105/120 series. From 1989 onward, production of the 105/120 series was gradually wound down as production of the Škoda Favorit progressed. Production of the 105 SP had ended in July 1988, followed by the 105 L and 120 GL in January and November 1989. The 120 L and 125 L (the last remaining models of the 120/125 series) were finally discontinued in January 1990. After a production run of fourteen years, which included a total of 1,961,295 cars (counting just the Škoda 105/120/125 series cars alone), production of the 120 L and 125 L (the last remaining models of the Škoda 120/125 series) ended in January 1990.

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The Subaru Rex, also known as Ace, Viki, Sherpa, 500/600/700, Mini Jumbo, Mini Subaru or M60/M70/M80 in various export markets, is a kei class automobile produced from 1972 to 1992 mainly for sale in Japan by Subaru, although it was also sold in Europe, South America, Australia and the Caribbean. The Rex superseded the R-2 as Subaru’s kei car, and has been available in commercial use versions as well as in a passenger car version. It underwent major changes in 1976, in fall 1981, and again in late 1986. The second generation Rex (1981–1986) also formed the basis for the larger Subaru Justy. The name “Rex” comes from the Latin word for “king”. In some export markets, the Sambar microvan has been marketed as the “Rex Combi”. The third generation (KG/KN) was presented in November 1986 with the commercial spec Rex Combi with either three or five doors (KG1, KG2 with four-wheel drive). The sedan version, intended for private use, was added a month later. The passenger version was called simply “Rex” and was originally only available with five doors; its chassis codes are KN1 (FF) or KN2 (4WD). In addition to an SOHC two-valve engine with 30 PS, a version with three valves per cylinder (two intake and one exhaust) and 36 PS was also available. There was no turbo version of the new Rex. A two-speed automatic transmission was also available, as was a part-time 4WD system. “Twin Viscous” full-time 4WD with a limited slip differential for the rear axle was made available in February 1987. From this point on, all four-wheel drives received the more powerful three-valve engine. A CVT transmission was added June 1987, called ECVT. A supercharged version with an intercooler and electronic fuel injection was added to the options list March 1988 as a response to the success of the Alto Works and Mira TR-XX. The output of the engine increased to 55 PS. A supercharger meant less lag than for a turbo, although specific output tended to be somewhat lower than the competition. This was available for both the 3- and 5-door versions. May 1988 saw an available electrically deployed canvas top added to the three-door. June 1989 saw a gentle facelift and the replacement of the EK series engine to the four-cylinder EN05 “Clover 4” with 38 PS (28 kW; 37 bhp) available to the standard engine and 61 PS from the supercharged engine. This was the first Kei four-cylinder since the Mazda Carol, and was unique to the class. Naturally aspirated models received “cat’s eye”-shaped headlamps and a reshaped bonnet while the supercharged models retained the earlier rectangular units, albeit with a new four-hole grille. This, the KH1/2 series Rex (KP1/2 for the commercial Rex Combis), remained available in combination with the ECVT transmission and four-wheel-drive versions, but the two-speed automatic was dropped. In July, export versions (M70 in Europe, Sherpa in Australia) received the same changes and switched from the 665 cc 37 PS two-cylinder to become the M80 in Europe, the Ace in New Zealand and the Fiori in Australia. The 550 cc four-cylinder iteration was uncommonly short-lived, as in March 1990 another facelift followed, with a 660 cc version of the EN engine (EN07) and an extended, more rounded nose because of new Kei regulations taking effect. These external differences did not appear in the Australian market until August, and in Europe (Mini Jumbo, M80) by early 1991. This, which was to be the last Rex, received chassis codes KH3 (FF sedan), KH4 (4WD sedan), KP3 (FF commercial), and KP4 (4WD commercial). Rex is also a common nickname for the high-performance Subaru Impreza WRX, especially in Australia where the actual Rex was originally marketed as the Sherpa and then as the Fiori. The Fiori derivative (sold as such from summer 1989) was also equipped with pink and blue pinstriping from the factory, and a two-year, 50,000 km warranty was offered when new. Equipped with a different engine, the Fiori had Subaru’s 758 cc carburetted four-cylinder EN08 powerplant. This engine, producing 42 PS at 6,000 rpm, was also used in those European markets that received the Rex and in New Zealand’s Ace. In Europe it was rebadged M80 to reflect the engine displacement. The M80 was available as a three or a five-door, in DX and SDX versions, with the SDX receiving a standard five-speed manual. Top speed was 125 km/h for four-speeds, 130 km/h for five-speeds. This generation Rex was marketed as the Viki in certain Southeast Asian markets, a name which was also used for a special edition (Rex ViKi) in the Japanese domestic market. The end for the Rex came in March 1992, when it was replaced by the Vivio. A total of 1,902,811 Subaru Rexes were built in its lifetime. Recently the Rex has become somewhat of a cult car in Japan, being popular in front-wheel-drive drift events.

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In Western Europe we have only ever seen a relatively small fraction of the vast Toyota range and understanding all the different models will entail quite a lot of research. This car, for instance is known as a Corolla II. It was sold alongside the cars we know as the Corolla, but in reality this was a slightly smaller model, based on the Tercel, a nameplate that was used for small front wheel drive hatches in Europe in the early 80s but which endured in the US until into the 2000s. This car is based on the fourth generation Tercel. Designed between 1991 and 1992, by Shinichi Hiranaka and Yasuhisa Hamano, in September 1994, for the 1995 model year, Toyota introduced an all-new Tercel. The new design offered a stiffer body with better handling and was one of only a handful of cars in the US to have OBDII in 1995. Retaining its compact packaging and high quality, the new Tercel featured a redesigned exterior and new engine. The Tercel now offered standard driver’s and passenger’s side airbags in the United States, but only a driver’s side bag for Canada. Three-point seatbelts for front and outboard rear passengers and adjustable shoulder-belt anchor points for front seat passengers were installed on four-door models. All models met federal standards for 1997 side-impact protection, and offered anti-lock brakes. Standard models came with only a four-speed manual or automatic transmission and grey bumpers, while DX models were offered with the addition of body-coloured bumpers and either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Its all-new appearance appears to be influenced by the Japanese-market Toyota Camry V40 series, also introduced that year. Both vehicles were available together at Toyota Corolla Store Japanese dealerships. Design patents were filed at the Japan Patent Office on 12 October 1992, under patent number 1009387. In Japan, the Tercel was again also offered with the Corsa and Corolla II nameplates, for sale through parallel marketing channels. There was also a three-door hatchback body version offered in addition to the four-door sedan. The two-door sedan was only ever marketed in North America. There was also a four-wheel-drive option available in Japan. The interior design pushed the dash further away, but brought the switches closer. This same dashboard (left sided version) was shared with the Toyota Starlet and Toyota Paseo of the time. The all-new DOHC 1.5 L inline-four engine provides 93 bhp and 100 lb/ft (140 Nm) of torque, offering a 13 percent power increase over the previous generation as well as a 15 percent increase in fuel economy. The new 5E-FE engine gets 45 mpg‑US (5.2 L/100 km; 54 mpg‑imp) on the highway with a five-speed manual transmission, making it the most fuel-efficient four-cylinder car of its time in the United States As Toyota’s entry-level car, the Tercel was also available with the smaller, 1.3-litre, 4E-FE and 2E petrol four-cylinder, and the Toyota 1N-T engine; a 1,453 cc inline-four turbocharged diesel engine which provided 66 bhp at 4,200 rpm and 101 lb/ft (137 Nm) of torque at 2,600 rpm. For 1997, all North American market Tercels were available only in the CE trim level and incorporated many of the standard and optional items from previous base and DX models. All Tercels came standard with a new 13-inch wheel and tyire combination. Inside, the Tercel’s dashboard was revised with rotary ventilation controls. All Toyota models had revised seat fabric and door panels. The RedHawk and WhiteHawk editions were introduced in addition to the BlackHawk trim already offered, which came standard with air conditioning, 185/60R14 tyres on custom wheels, a rear spoiler with integrated brake light, and hawk symbols to identify the special model. For 1998, the Tercel’s styling was updated, highlighted by multi-reflector headlights, a revised grille and front fascia design and clear lens turn signal lights for the front and rear. The facelift occurred in December 1997 for the Japanese market, and covered all three lines (Tercel, Corsa, Corolla II). The Tercel’s rear styling was also enhanced with redesigned composite tail lights and updated bumper molding. The new moulding extended across the entire length of the rear bumper. Production of the Tercel for the American market ended in 1998 as the model was superseded by the Echo. Production for Japan, Canada and some other countries continued through 1999. Taiwanese production continued until 2003.

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Also much in evidence on the roads were examples of the Tercel itself, such as this one.


The Toyota Belta (Japanese: トヨタ・ベルタ, Hepburn: Toyota Beruta), referred to in North American and Australian markets as the Yaris and in Asian markets as the Vios, is a subcompact sedan manufactured by Toyota. The successor to the Platz sedan, the Belta has increased in size over the previous generation such that its interior volume is comparable to the E120 series Corolla. The Belta went on sale in Japan on 28 November 2005 equipped with 1.0 to 1.3 L engines and was available at Toyopet Store dealerships. Export sales began in 2006, with most markets receiving a 1.5 L 1NZ-FE engine as standard fitment. The Belta was sold as the second generation Vios in China, Taiwan and selected Southeast Asian countries. In the United States, Canada, Middle East and Australia, it was marketed as the Yaris Sedan, replacing the Echo sedan. In June 2012, the Japanese-market Belta was discontinued and replaced by the E160 series Corolla, and it was dropped in the US and Canada to be replaced by the Mazda2-based Yaris sedan/Scion iA in 2016; the XP130 series Vitz-based Yaris Liftback would be offered in those countries for several years. However, the Belta was still produced in Japan for export to Mexico and Australia until it was discontinued in both countries in 2016. For the Asian market, the XP150 series Vios replaced the XP90 model in 2013 as the sedan counterpart to the XP150 Yaris hatchback. The “Belta” nameplate was revived in November 2021 for the rebadged Suzuki Ciaz sold in the Middle East. The name “Belta” is a contraction of the Italian words “bella gente”, or “beautiful people”. The XP90 Vitz and Belta share underpinnings with each other including the drivetrain and platform. However, while the Vitz was designed at Toyota’s French design studios, the Belta was designed at Toyota’s Japanese design studios—design projects for similar cars marketed toward different demographics. While the outgoing Vitz and Platz models look and feel very much alike, the newer Vitz hatchback and Belta sedans are more subtly related. No sheetmetal is shared between the two, and although both have a similar centralized dashboard design (Toyota’s efforts to standardize the design for all markets, left or right hand drive) there are some cosmetic differences. The Belta is the only subcompact sedan which was designed, built and sold in Japan, and has no direct competitors in the Japanese domestic market, as the Vitz’s competitors did not offer sedan versions at the time. For most Asian markets (except Japan, Hong Kong and Macau), the Belta was sold as the second generation Vios which was built and assembled in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. It was launched in April 2007. For the Japanese, American and Middle Eastern markets (except Israel, Morocco, Korea, Russia and Europe), the Belta was built in Japan. The Japanese market Belta had three engine variants available, namely the 71 bhp 1.0 L 1KR-FE straight-three engine and two variants of the 1.3 L 2NZ-FE/2SZ-FE engine rated at 84 bhp. The 2SZ-FE engine comes with Super CVT-i transmission while the 2NZ-FE engine has a Super ECT transmission. An optional S Package was also available across the three variants.


This car may well be familiar to those who have been to the US, where is was sold as the Scion xA. That was US-specific branding, and in Japan it was called the Ist. t first appeared at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show, and was placed into production in 2002. This was the sixth brand to use the Vitz (Yaris) as the base model, was conceived as a high-end multi-use compact car with SUV-like styling and wagon-like roominess but with the advantage of better fuel economy from a smaller vehicle. I. The Ist is meant to cater to younger drivers, . The car was fitted with either a 1.3-litre (FWD) or a 1.5-litre engine (FWD or 4WD), with a Super ECT transmission. A wide front grille consisting of two thick horizontal bars, large 15-inch tyres, and extended wheel arches gave the vehicle its unique and dynamic exterior styling. The body dimensions were a notch above those of the Vitz, giving more space to the cabin and the trunk. The 60:40 split rear seats could be fully folded to widen the deck as necessary. The sturdy body structure was realized through the advanced GOA (Global Outstanding Assessment) process, which enhanced safety in collisions with heavier vehicles. The Ist interior features a unique interior with an easy to read central instrumental cluster position similar to the Vitz, Platz and Vios. The car’s name is derived from the suffix “-ist,” the name points to a person who is passionate about something (stylist, artist, specialist, and so on). Its primary competitors were the Honda Fit and the Nissan March. The first-generation car was used by the Shizuoka Prefectural Police as a police car. At its introduction, 42,000 orders were received in Japan. The car was produced for 4 years before replaced by a second generation car, which was sold in the US as the Scion xD and which was briefly offered in Europe as the Toyota UrbanCruiser.

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The Toyota Ractis (Japanese: トヨタ・ラクティス, Toyota Rakutisu) is a mini MPV, based on the Vitz (Yaris), and was introduced in October 2005 as the successor of the Yaris Verso/FunCargo. The name “Ractis” is derived from “Run”, “Activity” and “Space”. The first generation Ractis was initially only sold in Japan, and was available at Toyopet Store dealerships. A minor change was released on December 20, 2007 with new headlights and tail lights. Sales in Hong Kong started from October 2009. The second generation car was launched in 2010 and was sold in Europe as the Verso S. There were quite a lot of these first generation Ractis cars in evidence.

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I came across this Mark 2 2000 Saloon parked up on the quayside in Marsaxxlok, a quaint fishing village in the south east of the island. Launched at the same time as the Rover 2000 was Triumph’s large saloon car, also called 2000. A replacement for the long running Standard Vanguard, this was the more sporting of the duo, with a subtly different appeal from the Rover. Between them, the cars defined a new market sector in the UK, promising levels of comfort and luxury hitherto associated with larger Rover and Jaguar models, but with usefully lower running costs and purchase prices, all in a modern package. Both added more powerful models to their range, with Rover going down the twin carburettor route, whilst in 1967, Triumph installed a larger 2.5 litre engine and the then relatively new fuel injection system, creating the 2.5PI, which is what was to be seen here. This Lucas system was not renowned for its reliability in the early days, but it did make the car rapid and refined. A facelift in 1969 brought new styling front and rear, which turned out to be a taster for a new grand tourer model which would emerge a few months later, and in this Mark 2 guise, the car was sold until 1977, in both saloon and estate guises. A mid range model, with twin carburettors but the larger engine, the 2500TC was introduced in 1974 and the 2500S arrived in 1975 with more power but also carb fed, to replace the troublesome and thirsty PI. These are the most sought after models now.

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Needing no introduction is the legendary VW Beetle. Although sold in vast numbers around the world, and a popular classic, this was the only example I saw during this visit to Malta. It was on a side street on the outskirts of Valetta.



Malta was long famous for the buses, with models from the 1940s and 1950s still in everyday service. That stopped in July 2011 when Arriva took over the service and these days the regular buses look very much like those you will see elsewhere in Europe. But some of the lovely old ones have been retained, for tourist tours. I saw my first example when out walking from the hotel and the driver obligingly paused when he saw my camera to allow me to get a photo.

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A longer trip would have resulted in rather more cars than I have been able to present here, as there were plenty of other cars I saw whilst out and about but if you are driving photographing them, even if you are quick enough, to point the camera at the car is a definite no-no. I really enjoyed my visit to this island though and certainly do not plan to leave it anything like as long between visits as I had, so hopefully there will be more cars to show before too many of them end up where most everyday cars do eventually find themselves, in the scrapyard.

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