I recently poked around on Google Earth while I was bored. I happened to land in Marseilles, a port city on the southern Mediterranean coast of France. The makeup of cars on its streets was distinctly French, but I spotted a few surprises mixed among the city’s many, many parking bollards.

I poked around long enough to make a part two! Here is the first part, which raises an unresolved question about parking as well as documents some vexing Chrysler minivans, which I should have saved for today.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Lets go carspotting in Marseilles France using Google Streetview! Vexing Vans Edition

Here are two very similar old vans. The bright red van with the streamlined roof box was called the Volkswagen Eurovan here, but I’m not sure if the name is different elsewhere. UPDATE: It’s called the Transporter. The silver high roof van to the left appears to be an old Nissan Van (unnamed in the US), which I believe were all recalled for being fire hazards. UPDATE: It’s a Kia Besta. How do you know this, Fintail? A silver Toyota Celica borders that van on the left.

Illustration for article titled Lets go carspotting in Marseilles France using Google Streetview! Vexing Vans Edition

This green (?) Volkswagen Kombi (what were they called in France?) stands out with its rattlecan orange wheels. UPDATE: It’s called the Transporter. I don’t think that crest on the front is original VW. A cute little gen 1 Renault Twingo peeks out from behind it.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Lets go carspotting in Marseilles France using Google Streetview! Vexing Vans Edition

This mysterious cabover Mercedes Van is so utterly unlike anything we would see in America that I had to document it. I don’t thing many people buying posh soft-roaders from the esteemed German brand would like to know the same company produces utilitarian commercial beaters like this one. UPDATE: Thanks to Darkbrador, we now know it is an MB100 van.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Lets go carspotting in Marseilles France using Google Streetview! Vexing Vans Edition

I like the design of these hatchback-based vans (Renault Extra in this case, thank you Chinny Raccoon). They are so small and space efficient in a way that we rarely see in the USA. The geometric .high roof design is just an appealing mix of utility and French whimsy. Also, that stealthy E34 5 series BMW is quite cool (thank you, fintail).

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Lets go carspotting in Marseilles France using Google Streetview! Vexing Vans Edition

The very 90s graphics mark this strange commerical brute as a Renault B90. I really like the way the indicators have a protective covering that fades into the headlights. The unique covering fits with the theme of the minimalist grille and hood scoop. Why do I like this thing so much? And is the bed slid forward or there just a large space between it and the cab? A quick image search reveals a startling dearth in documentation for this model.

Advertisement

So, which of these vexing vans is your favorite?

Share This Story

Get our newsletter