I love the Caribbean.
Palm trees, no snow, plenty of cheap beer, DAT BEACH AND WATER. I honestly could go on for some time what it is about the islands and why I like spending as much time there as possible. Why don’t I move there? Well suppose I do, I’d have to piece things together. First would be choosing where I’d like to live, then landing a job, and finding a house. I would probably need something to get around. What should I buy?
Well, first off, let me tell you that if you’re in the market for a used Japanese car from the 90s, boy are you in luck. Depending on the island you’ll notice that there are is a difference in what choices you have but Toyota and Suzuki had the market cornered for a long period of time. The US Virgin Islands? You’ll have plenty of American vehicles to choose from. Looking to live in Martinique or another French Windward Island? You will have countless French cars. Nothing is more common between all of them though than oddball Japanese cars that are mostly from the 90s. Do you want a Mitsubishi Lancer in Grand Cayman? You’re in luck! How about a Toyota Noah (yes there is such a thing) in St. Lucia? You’ve got it! Did you love the B13 Nissan Sentra from the early nineties, Cozumel is the place for you. They’re still produced in Mexico for that specific market.
Do you have a family but don’t want a large car? You can still buy newer compact Toyota and Nissan vans. The Noah, the Ace, etc… When not using it for family, you can haul obese tourists around in them and collect fares. These are by far, THE vehicle of the Caribbean.
What about enthusiast cars? PLENTY. In Barbados, I saw numerous Toyota Starlet Glanzas. As mentioned before, I came across not one, but two Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions in Grand Cayman (a IV and VI). Not only where there lancers there, but Skylines too. GTS and GTR models. Coupes and Sedans. Toyota Chasers and Soarers aplenty. Nowhere have I seen more modified cars though than St. Lucia. A GC body style Impreza WRX, lowered, with exhaust, and large wheels. I was passed by a S14 Silvia that was lowered. Getting parts to the different islands can be difficult and take time. People seem to do it though as I’ve seen. I can’t say that most are necessarily tasteful, but to each their own I suppose. Most do the best with what they’ve got. In Curacao, I spotted a Subaru Legacy B4 parked on a beach. Hows that for the enthusiast market? Toyota Hilux are abound
Need repairs? Every corner you turn is a place to repair your vehicle. Buying a car in the first place can be more of a hardship for some there than back here, do people intend to keep theirs for as long as possible. Shops range from a random Barbadian’s back yard to a higher end dealership in Curacao. On the sides of the road in Dominica you could probably find a door for your Daihatsu (yes, they’re still for sale there).
If you’re stuck in the land of Grand Turismo 2 and wish you could have a garage full of what you have on you PS1 memory card, I suggest moving to the islands. If you choose to have something that you can haul your golden retriever in with seat heaters and Yankee Candle stickers… the Caribbean is not the place for you.
One of the strangest things I’ve ever seen was on a road in Nassau – a USDM Chevy Cavalier, and a presumably UKDM right hand drive Toyota Cavalier, parked almost next to each other.