10 Unbelievable Facts about the Cars of Thailand

I’ve just been in Thailand for 2 weeks. I thought I’d share my experiences with some of the cars around, in dot-point form.

1. Seatbelts are optional (as are turn signals, lanes, survival). I rode in a few taxis - some had them, some had them but were broken, some had no seatbelts in the rear at all. I couldn’t believe some modern Toyotas were built without seatbelts.

2. There’s some sort of mini-truck craze. Many of the Hiluxes and pickups and whatnot are 2-door, lowered, with dope wheels. See below

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The offset is dope, the wheels are dope, the stance is just right

3. Modification is common, but it looks to be mostly smoke and mirrors - whatever looks good (where good is very subjective). Example: The pickup in the pic above has many stickers, many badges, much fake chrome. I don’t think that’s a real RS below, though it’s the right color and with all the body bits. The Mirage below shows this taken even further. Exhausts are common, even on vans, taxis and tuk-tuks. Some of the vans sounded dope. Also saw many Evo IIIs which may or may not be fake.

I point and laugh, but it’s cool to know that even in a poorer country, there are enthusiasts and they make do with what they can find.

Note the Hilux in the background sporting that same minitruck look. Very common.
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What. Why.
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Some of these badges must be aftermarket surely. I don’t know what a Honda CityZX is. Maybe related to my old 300ZX. Not sure what that SUV is either.
I don’t know what a Toyota Soluna VIOS is, but perhaps these badges were actually factory. The huge array of stickers are so common they may as well be factory.
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4. Most cars are Toyotas, but there are a small group of Frenchies going around. Mostly spotted in or outside mechanic shops.

Notice the whale-tail spoiler on the 323 Astina in the background. The huge storage box on that Hilux behind is a fairly common site too - ugly but very practical!
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5. All the GM products are similar to Australia, but with different names. They have the Holden Cruze, Zafira and Captiva, but they’re Chevrolets! They have the Holden Rodeo, but it’s an Isuzu! Americans are probably familiar with this. No pics to back myself up since GM products aren’t very interesting

6. There are lots of cars I’ve never heard of. See the Soluna VIOS above, and the whatever below.

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I think Thairung is a Thai manufacturer - high quality cars I’m sure
ADVENTURE MASTER
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No grill! No idea how it cools down. Originally I thought it *must* be rear engined, but apparently it’s just some FF oddball Nissan.
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Quite a few Nissan Sunnys around. I think this is similar to the Pulsar or Tiida or whathaveyou, but some were of a shape I’ve never seen before.

7. To my dismay, sports cars and coupes are uncommon. Most Thais ride motorbikes, so I guess if you get a car you’re doing it for the space more than anything. But we saw an 86, a 180SX and an MR2. Bangkok CBD had many supercars - we saw 3 Lamborghinis, all Aventadors, as well as a GT-R, 488 and a C7 ‘Vette (a real treat to me as an Australian!).

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People hate this model of MR2, but they are short and light and I can only imagine the wider track would put my poor SW20 to shame in the corners
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There’s a spoiler on the spoiler: deal with it

8. Motorbikes are used everywhere, for everything. Safety gear is not used anywhere ever. Not uncommon to see families packed onto a bike. This is a man riding a jetski being towed by a bike. Sometimes you’d see bikes towing 3 or 4 jetskis at once.

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All those life jackets and he’s not even wearing one. Safety first mate.
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9. The tuk-tuks in Phuket all have phat sound systems, and often neons too. They all play the same 2 Eminem songs on repeat. Some of the vans had these too. Not a thing in Bangkok at all, just Phuket.

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At least one of those tuk-tuks is lit up like a Christmas tree

10. There are some absolute gems if you look hard enough. I found a random car yard in Bangkok that blew me away: a MITSUOKA!

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This is no Jaguar - too small. This is a freaking Mitsuoka! Makers of the Orochi, the ugliest car in the world! I think it’s called a Viewt, based on a Nissan March/Micra.
Some sort of Austin at the front, but there’s plenty more weirdness behind.
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I initially was shocked and thought this was a JC Cosmo, I now believe it’s a Cefiro.
This is next door to the pics above. Two Rolls-Royces! That’s unheard of for Thailand
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Very cool Cefiro. Not sure if he actually drifts, but it’s in that style.

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