I have long hankered after a classic Mercedes. A dark blue, late Sixties 280 SL convertible would fit the bill nicely, thank you. Low and lean, it sits purposefully on the road, its broad tyres filling the arches, offering a sense of romance and freedom. When I next have £40-50,000 to spare, I’ll consider my options.
Meanwhile, I can enjoy the Mercs and many other examples of fine vehicles at the rallies and displays by North Cyprus’s classic car owners’ clubs. At a recent show, the harbour of Girne was packed with a remarkable collection of four-wheeled wonders. I spotted a jet-black Lincoln Continental, a bright blue “James Dean” Porsche and a near combat-ready British Army Land Rover.
In North Cyprus, a “classic” car for import purposes, is counted as anything over 25 years old, which covers everything from an enormous American Graffiti-style gas guzzler to a Mini Cooper.
For now, I drive a modest Japanese hatchback. I know next to nothing about the workings of the internal combustion engine and avoid opening the bonnet of the Suzuki unless I have to fill the water of the windscreen washer bottle, but conversely, I love driving. I follow the latest motoring news and browse examples of lovely old cars that I will probably never own.
If you are in the happy position of owning a well-loved vehicle you would like to bring to North Cyprus, you will need to join one of the classic car clubs here to arrange a licence. The duty payable will be calculated on the original sale price of your vehicle and your annual vehicle tax will be discounted.
Sparkling chrome and radiator grills
If you just want to indulge yourself looking at sparkling chrome and radiator grills, pay a visit to the Classic Car Museum, part of the Near East University on the north side of Lefkoşa.
More than 60 vehicles are lined up here, ranging from early 20th-century horseless carriages to vehicles of the 60s and 70s. The big names include Bentleys, Lagondas, and a Jaguar XK120 from 1948. You will also see more common transport examples, a Ford Anglia from the 1940s, a Popular from the 50s, and an Escort of the 60s, alongside Minis, Beetles, and Morris Minors, as well as a handful of modern supercars.