I got dropped into Vietnam at the tender age of 21 or 22. Of course all the young guys were car guys, but mostly the talk was of hot american iron…. I was the weird guy who liked foreign stuff.


But all the foreign stuff in Vietnam was old left overs from the French occupation. But it was still neat stuff.. Citroen Traction Avants from the 50’s were everywhere but was hard to find one in good shape. Those cars are still there. In fact, you can still hire restored examples of these cars from the Hotel Sofitel to tour Hanoi.


All the trucks and buses were old French things too. All the big commercial trucks were worn out, sometimes you see them shaking violently when getting over 35 mph or so. It’s only natural I guess, when a 1st world country leaves all it’s stuff in a 3rd world country, it gets used till it quits. The buses were everywhere too.

Neat little Renault Goelettes and Saviems puttering up and down Highway One.

The Vietnamese could make a bus out of anything!

But the coolest Veitnamese drove (or were driven around in) American cars. The commander of the 1St ARVN, General Phu, had a black ’59 Chevy staff car. And it looked new. Another guy I used to hang around with had a ’57 Plymouth, and it had absolutely no glass left in it. But he didn’t care, cause he was the coolest guy in Hue city! Even a few of the white mice (civilian police) rode Harleys.


Since then I rarely owned any American cars. I got my first MG when on leave in 1972 and never looked back. Now if only the French could work on adding a little reliability…