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Buying a car in Cape Town: Advice from a lemon magnet.

Today and yesterday have been the first solemnly HOT days this summer. The tarmac gets tacky and anyone without AC looks like a rotisserie chicken, getting redder and sweatier until I think they PoP, further down the road .

I have decided that I need to get some decent vehicles if we are to survive this summer. So I spent today and yesterday trying to find some cars.

Cars are disgustingly expensive in South Africa due to shortsighted and communist restrictions on imports. Incredibly cheap and fantastic cars are being shipped into Durban harbor and sold to Mozambiquans, Angolans amongst others. It is illegal for South Africans to import Second hand cars so we are forced to “feed the hand that bites us” to phrase a coin.

Second hand cars cost roughly double what they do in the US/Japan, people earn far less here to boot. Worn out cars on the road and no emissions testing, is telling in the yellow cloud that can hang over the city bowl. Luckily we have the “Cape Doctor” wind, that blows it all to sea, or else we could be in London, during the Industrial revolution.

From all the advise I have been given about cars over the years (and never listened to), It seems that Mercedes and Toyota are the way to go. I see far more Merc’s in South Africa, than anywhere else in the world, including Germany!. Toyota’s also have a great reputation for reliability and economy. I have bought 4 cars in a year. A Mazda 323 , A Mercedes 280E , A CJ6 Jeep and a Peugeot 404 . 12 months down the line and only the Merc has avoided being, sold, stranded or stolen. So I think I will be buying those from now on.

An old school friend of mine specializes in selling old Merc’s to foreign students, travelers, contractors etc and he swears blind by them. I am attempting to break free of the “roughing it” stage and go for a newer model this time. We’ll see if I don’t succumb to temptation and buy a 1963 Triumph Spitfire instead J

Here are the best online resources for second hand cars in South Africa: