Maltese vintage cars are heavily associated with our fathers and grandfathers, and although cars today look completely different, they’re most definitely still part of the Maltese motoring landscape. Let’s journey a few decades back.
The Ford Anglia was the predecessor to the Ford Escort, and was produced between 1939 and 1967. The shape we’re familiar with seeing on Maltese roads is the 100E, which was produced between 1953 and 1959. While it is the butt of many a Maltese motoring joke, almost 350,000 100Es were produced in its six years in production. A few local examples got “hot-rodded” over the years, much like the Mark 1 Escorts that followed it, with bigger engines, wheels, tyres and flashy paint jobs.
Ford Escort Mk1
To this day, the Mark 1 Ford Escort is synonymous with Maltese motoring. The model was unveiled at the 1967 Brussels Motor Show before being put into production in 1968. The Escort, the production of which ran for six generations until 2004, was created as a replacement for Ford’s long-running Anglia model. The two-door versions of the model are highly sought after even in the present day, with British enthusiasts paying thousands of euros to return Maltese-registered examples to the UK.
The Hillman Avenger is a fastback-inspired small family saloon produced by the British Rootes Group between 1970 and 1976. It is noteworthy for being both the first and last model produced by Rootes following its takeover by Chrysler in 1967. The Avenger was also sold in different international markets under a variety of names, such as the Plymouth Cricket in North America and the Dodge Polara in Brazil. While there aren’t many left on Maltese roads today due to the passage of time, they were popular cars in their heyday.
More than 1 million Morris Minors were produced throughout the model’s production lifetime, however it’s the Morris Minor 1000’s bubble-like shape which sticks in the Maltese motoring enthusiast’s mind. Its claim to fame is that it was designed by Alec Issigonis, the genius designer who gave the world the Austin Mini, although the Minor wasn’t nearly as good a car. There are still a few of them knocking about on Maltese roads today, and can usually be seen in the more rural areas of the island. The Minor is also the subject matter for a song performed by one Malta’s most notorious comedians.
This is a car that changed the world due to how its front engine was laid out in order to maximise passenger space. Not only was it economical, fun to drive and reliable, it also made a great rally and touring car, as evidenced by its exploits in such racing disciplines throughout the 1960s and 70s. It also had incredible longevity, being produced between 1959 and 2000. It was replaced by the BMW-developed new Mini thereafter. There are still plenty of classic Minis to be seen on Maltese roads. In fact, they are beloved to many a Maltese motoring enthusiast.