Ever wondered how cars became the dominant form of transport in North Cyprus? Other than the obvious of course – North Cyprus has no working railway system, and various other methods of transport are needed to ensure the proper delivery of any cargo, be it human or freight. Since the last railway was dismantled in 1952, the only remaining modes of transport are by road, by sea, and by air.
Since sea and air is not an everyday commute around the Island (or anywhere else for that matter!) the car is the one thing Cypriots have become so attached to and so the love affair begins.
Nearly all of the early cars came to Cyprus from England. British made cars such as jaguars were a main import, but later many imports from England of other manufactures from around the world such as VW, Mercedes and later after 1960 many imports came directly from the manufacturers from all around the world. This continued until 1974, after the two administrations split after the war, many cars have still been imported from England and a few from Turkey, but nowadays, not many from Turkey because of the restrictions of left hand drive cars.
North Cyprus has paved to unpaved roads with about 1,370 km out of 2,350 km paved and 980 km unpaved. As a legacy of British rule, North Cyprus is one of only four nations around the EU area which vehicles drive on the left.
Direct imports via Turkey from many car manufactures such as Hyundai, Range rover, ford ,Honda, Toyota and many more now offers economical and reliable cars with relatively low maintenance. A large influx of second-hand Japanese cars has also appeared on the domestic motoring scene in North Cyprus. Since the law in japan prevents the owner from keeping a car for more than three years, Japanese car owners are forced to scrap mostly very good condition cars with low mileage (or kilometres) which commonly sent to the TRNC in containers. These nearly new Japanese brands are then bought and registered with new TRNC plates at a reasonable price.
Having said that, the love affair and culture for classic cars in North Cyprus, from the young to the old, has created somewhat a community of hundreds-if not thousands- who appreciate the old timers as they were when they first popped up in Cyprus. The rally’s and racing events all year round, producing many new talented racing drivers that the world has started to notice, not only ensures the appreciation of these motors, but paves the way for house hold names of the future around the globe.
By Senol Tibet