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Classic cars in Vietnam

Is it possible to own and drive a classic car, over 25 years old, in Vietnam.
I live in HCMC and have free time and looking for a restoration project but I remember reading somewhere that there is an age limit on cars, can someone tell me if this is the case as am not sure where to find out. Thanks

interested in this subject. I am surprised about the age limit. I saw recently Citroen Traction avant in streets , and a Dalat Citroen too. I can't find "Classic car club" till now in Vietnam. But sure soon will exist. I will be not surprised by the necessary government approval ... Some classic French car in Ho Chi Minh Museum ( the new one dedicated to the man ,not the city ...). Best regards . Jean-Marie

The closest I've seen to a classic is my mates pug 504

Absolutely knackered, but rightly famed for it's durability and handling/ ride

There are age limits in VN on commercial vehicles, including taxis. This was imposed to get a country-full of clapped out vehicles off the road. In 1993 there were still 1950s Fargo trucks on the road in VN, and buses that had not changed since the war.
As of last year, I was still seeing war era US army trucks being cut up for scrap outside Nha Trang.

Back in the 1960s in VN there were lots of PUG 203s still around.  Around 2001 Peugeot decided to completely withdraw from VN, because of government policies.  But in 2013 signed a trading and assembly deal with a VN motor company and has returned to VN. see announcement at
http://www.peugeot.com/en/news/peugeot- … in-vietnam

"PUG 504 ... rightly famed for it's durability and handling/ ride"
Yes, indeed !  Once you've driven a PUG, nothing else will do.

I don't know how old something must be to be classic, but one type of vehicle that you will see in VN that you will rarely see in the US is an M151 "Jeep."  This is because the US Dept of Defense unfortunately adopted a policy of requiring bidders at auction to cut them in half through the frame when they were sold off starting in the 80's.   This was ostensibly for safety reasons as the independent front suspension supposedly made them more likely to roll over in high speed cornering.   Of course they are a great off road vehicle and completely safe as long as kept to reasonable road speeds.  I met one owner of a beautifully restored 151 in my wife's hometown.  He lived in D-1 and was a frequent business traveler to the US so he was aware of their relative scarcity there.   Another owner closer to our apartment was a mechanic working for the US Army during the war.   There are clubs especially for 151 owners. that go on off road group outings in the countryside.  If one had one of these great vehicles, it would surely be a lot of fun and a great way to make local friends with a common interest.

My gf said the jeeps are dirt cheap......It seems here they still have original drivetrains whereas in scambodia they r all toyotas, even autos.

Then theres the UAZ/GAZ/ Lada nivel but my dad had one back home for 150 quid

9 years ago, I was studying in haikou and there was an immaculate Hongqi ( Chinese zil, Chevy 56 rip- off) . I could of brought it, but just didntnhave the loot, mechanical knowledge etc to have helped it. Went back a few years ago and it had just been left to rot. I nearly cried.

The market and China is so disfuctional that I could have brought it for a few thousand/ a thousand dollars?? Then some people up n9rth are selling the same cars in worse condition for millions.......it was an absolute gem, but parts were Chinese copies of a Russian copy of a Chevy 56........bespoke car parts wouldn't have been prohibitively expensive in China.

Pretty sure they scrapped it

I'm a life long car enthusiast, but hopeless at physics. Y does the independent front suspension make it dangerous ( to do with the leaf spring rear?)

I misstated.  The problem is independent rears, not the front.   I don't know the physics either but one problem with independent rears is that they can get into an extreme camber if they go weightless and then return to ground. The M151A2 supposedly corrected the problem by using an anti-sway bar, as you will see in civilian vehicles.  The modification came out in 1969 and probably 100% of the new vehicles went to Vietnam so they should be as common as the 151.  Just don't drive like an 18 year old GI and you will be fine.

The 1963 Jeep CJ-5 behind me in the picture just passed safety inspection again today. It took me about one hour. The big thing about driving any car in Viet Nam is that your car must pass a safety inspection every six months. Traffic is also a pain. Also be sure to keep your VN/DL and vehicle paperwork with you.

Old Jeeps are cheap here. But, repair parts and qualified Jeep Mechanics are rather rare. Old Jeeps are also difficult for many people to drive. The people who inspected Annie Bell Lee the Jeep told me how hard it was to steer.

On the MUTT or M-151, it has independent suspension front and rear.  Jeeps have front and rear axles. MUTTs also seem more expensive to buy over here than Jeeps.

Note, the VN records say that my Jeep was made in 1970. The 1970 is actually the import date. For my jeep both the chassis and engine serial numbers show 1963.

Your CJ-5 must have an interesting ownership history.  If it was imported in 1970 it might have been for an outfit like UPI or the AP or one of the US TV networks. However since it was 7 years old back then maybe it was some kind of charitable outfit with a budget.  If I remember right the CJ-5 is parallel to the Korean War Jeep.  I would think finding parts for a 151 would be a lot easier.  I had a friend who did a fairly accurate restoration of an GPW which was the Ford version of  the WWII Jeep.  Hawaii used to be loaded with WWII salvage vehicles but not any more. 

Getting back to Paulanderton's original question, I wonder if you are thinking of the program that lets Viet Kieu import a car duty-free once in a lifetime.  I don't remember the time but there is a limit on age for those vehicles.  It might be around 3-5 years.  I would guess that you could import a true classic car if you were willing to pay the duties, but I guess nobody reading here has done that as we have no firsthand responses.  Too bad.

THIGV :

Getting back to Paulanderton's original question, I wonder if you are thinking of the program that lets Viet Kieu import a car duty-free once in a lifetime.  I don't remember the time but there is a limit on age for those vehicles.  It might be around 3-5 years.  I would guess that you could import a true classic car if you were willing to pay the duties, but I guess nobody reading here has done that as we have no firsthand responses.  Too bad.

My wife and I were discussing this ten or more years ago, because before her health went bad, she liked automatic transmissions and hated stick shift. While, I much prefer a stick shift. Anyway, I believe that you are correct that the car had to be less than 4 or 5 years old. To me the big issue would have been maintenance. 

Last time I was in Phan Thiet, they had a really nice Ford Model "T" in a department store window.

70 years old :

Anyway, I believe that you are correct that the car had to be less than 4 or 5 years old. To me the big issue would have been maintenance.

Good point on maintenance.  If you do import a late model car, best to pick both a brand and model that you see on the streets.  That way you can be reasonably assured, as the car gets older, of parts availability and even mechanics' knowledge at dealerships.  So Ford Escape OK, Mustang maybe not, Chevrolet maybe not.  No Saab, Audi, or other of the smaller European brands.  Mercedes OK if comparable to local models, Toyota Camry OK, Sienna van no.

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