We may look at the likes of the Dodge Challenger and Nissan GT-R and marvel at how long they’ve managed to stay in production, but these are mere whippersnappers compared to some of the oldies out there. In markets with less stringent regulations, cars we long since waved goodbye to are still going strong, often living under new names and built under license.
Inspired by a Tweet we saw from Car Brochure Addict, we thought we’d take a closer look at the vehicles that refuse to die.
Yes, you really can buy a brand new Peugeot 405, and it’ll only cost you £7800. You have to live in Azerbaijan, though, where this 33-year-old car is made under license by Khazar and christened as the ‘406’. Following the expiration of Peugeot’s deal with Iran Khodro, whose version of the 405 was known as the ‘Peugeot Pars’, Khazar started production in 2019 with a view to making 10,000 a year.
Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series
Unlike a lot of the cars on this list, the 70-series Land Cruiser isn’t built for a developing market by a third party. Nope – Toyota started making the vehicle in 1984, and just never thought to stop, despite the J70 being replaced by newer models several times over. It’s simple, tough and dependable, which is more important in remote parts of the world than the extra refinement brought about by its successors.
Emissions rules have long since barred the old girl from Europe, of course, but it was reintroduced to the Japanese domestic market in 2014 for one glorious year.
The Ford Festiva has used many identities since its launch in 1986. Designed by Mazda – whose version of its was dubbed the 121 – it’s best known to us in the UK as the Kia Pride. It’s also been called ‘Ford Aspire’ and ‘Kia Avella’, and today, it lives on in Iran as the Saipa 111.
Beloved of the Russian Army, the UAZ-469 has been going since 1971. Granted, the original military version has long since gone out of production, but the UAZ Hunter – a civilian spin-off – is pretty much the same thing, and is still sold today. Plus, you can get a ‘UAZ Hunter Jungle Edition’, which we want rather badly.
Although the image above might look to be the result of an ill-advised Photoshop face-swap, it’s not. What you see here is the ‘Citroen C2’, a Peugeot 206 given facial reconstructive surgery and a new name before being put on sale in China. The 206 is also produced under license by Iran Khodro in hatchback and ‘SD’ saloon forms, with no nose job or rebrand involved.
Another product of Iranian firm Saipa, the Zamyad Z24 is actually the 40-year-old Nissan Junior pick-up. Production of the Z24 started in Iran the same year Nissan’s production of the Junior began in Yokosuka, but while Japanese manufacture ended in 1984, it never stopped in the Middle East. You can buy the Z24 with a 2.4-litre petrol or 2.8-litre diesel engine, both of which develop just over 90bhp.
The 43-year-old Niva is still sold today under the name ‘4×4’. You can have one with three or five doors, and if you fancy splashing out a little more, there are the ‘Urban’ and ‘Bronto’ trim grades on the menu. Under the bonnet, there’s a 1.7-litre inline-four producing a rip-roaring 82bhp. With a reputation for being brilliantly competent off-road (and pretty terrible on it – but let’s gloss over that), there’s no car on this list we want more.
Lada Niva (second-generation)
Confusingly, Lada also sells something called the Niva, but this is the second-generation version of the original, which is much newer, but still ancient. It was first produced in 1988, and from 1988 until very recently, it was badged as a Chevrolet.
What other cars can you think of that have – against all odds – stuck around?
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