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Friday, January 14, 2011

A Visit to the Used Car Lot

The easy of getting around is one of the advantages of our "inner city" location. We mostly walk or take one of the many cheap taxis to our destinations. I have been thinking about buying a cheap car to keep here, though. It would be handy for trips to the supermarket or just to drive over to the pyramids area when we visit friends. Looking over the many old, beat-up cars on the streets, I set myself a goal of finding a $500 car.

Our local friends just laugh when I tell them how much I want to spend. I tell them, "an old Lada, maybe!" They just laugh harder.

One friend volunteered to take us to the used car market on some Friday, so we took him up on it today. The used car market is located in Nasr City, in the Northeast part of the metro area. It's about twenty miles or so, from our apartment. Just follow the ring road and exit left at the marked exit for Nasr City. I would desrcibe the actual location as being "near the water tower, under the power lines in downtown Nasr City," if you would like to go there some time.

And go, you certainly should. Guidebooks describe visiting the Cairo Camel Market as an interesting possibility. The Cairo Auto Market has obviously replaced it as the place to be on Friday morning. As we approached the auto market, I began to see cars parked along the road with their hoods open. Some even had signs with their model years posted in the windows.

We hunted for a parking spot for a while and then walked back to the heart of the market. Now I looked across the street and saw the real auto market. This must be the largest auto swap meet on earth. New Toyotas, old Mercedes. You name it, there was a car, a model year and a color of your choice to be found. Here's a photo showing part of the operation.

Everywhere, there was someone eager to help us.

A little bit of asking questions even directed us to a few Ladas. There were fewer than I expected. The Fiat 128 is the poor man's car of choice now, but I figured the "Rooski" knock-off would be even cheaper. And, we've ridden in a number of them configured as taxis so they should still be repairable.

This 1980 white Lada was offered at 13,500 Egyptian pounds, or about $2,300. That seemed to be the rock bottom price for anything that runs. I also found a 1967 Fiat for a similar price. By the way, if I were advertising this one back in Minnesota, I would say, "no rust, runs good, easy starter!"

And yes, it does say GMC on both the front and back. I don't think many people display a Lada logo proudly. Check this site for one without the doctored grill.

I'd about as soon go up to about twice that price for one of the 1985-88 Mercedes that I saw. So, pure "junkers" are out. My friends were right to dismiss my dreams.

1 comment:

@#!~@ said...

Hi my name is Amina and I am supposed to write an article about used car markets in Egypt, but I'm in Dubai so getting pictures is a tad difficult. I was hoping I could use on of the pictures on your blog for it...You'll be fully credited of course. Please let me know asap. Here's my e-mail: