Weakest Link

Some recent posts here at DTW have been inspired by foreign travel.

Is there a less suitable car for this treatment?

I too love spotting the little differences when traveling and I thought surely a week on the Sorrentine peninsula might provide me with a little automotive food for thought. However apart from a sprinkling of modern Lancias there was very little of interest to report from the mainland. A daytrip to the island of Capri though provided me with a really interesting talking point.

The island is a very small (approximately 4km East/West and 2 km North/South). It is also very beautiful, very hilly and very, very expensive. Any exclusive fashion or watch brand you can think of has a retail presence here and don’t look for too much change from a grand if you want to spend the night. There are three ways to travel about the island. The first is a pretty good bus service in the stubbiest (15 person) buses I’ve ever seen. The second is a funicular railway the guts of a 800metres long. The third is to take a taxi.

No joking, this is the most common taxi in Capri.

You might expect that a millionaire’s playground like this would have some pretty fancy taxis. Blacked out S classes or Maserati Quattroportes perhaps (of which I saw quite a few in Sorrento). You’d be wrong. All the cars for hire on the island are drop tops with two seats pushed right to the back of the vehicle. There are then two fold down seats which allow for four people to sit in the back all facing each other. The taxi of choice is the Nissan Serena. And not any normal Serena but a convertiblised Nissan Serena. I have never seen such a car before, even on the internet. Fancy a saloon car instead? No problem. How about a badly stretched convertible Fiat Marea?

There were also plenty of these.

There were loads and loads of them. At a push I get the Marea. It’s Italian and it has a boot. But the Serena? It didn’t even have anywhere for luggage. I was plunged further into despair when I saw a convertible Opel Zafira. I was in so much shock I couldn’t get to my camera in time.

Its  least bad angle.

About half an hour before we were due to return to Sorrento for the evening I saw something truly wonderful. The driver was obviously and justifiably proud of his beautiful machine. It was a perfectly kept 50 year old burgundy Fiat 1500. This was the type of taxi that should ply its trade in this idyllic setting. Time was against us but I would have happily paid double fare for a trip around the island in this little slice of motoring heaven.

The only photo I managed to snap of the 1500 just didn’t cut it. You’ll have to imagine this car with twin headlamps – stretched.

(Apologies for poor quality of photos. Partly due to exasperated wife who couldn’t understand why I was photographing Nissan Serenas but mostly due to my lack of skill).

14 thoughts on “Weakest Link”

    1. No legroom for passengers is the obvious reason.

    2. Lack of rear doors is the correct answer then.

    3. Even if they couldn’t stretch an existing cabriolet and add a couple of doors surely a 156 would be a more suitable car for this treatment?

  1. I hate to think what even a moderate speed crash or rollover would look like in one of these heaps!

    1. It’s Italy, so there is no such thing as moderate speed 🙂
      Any rollover will dump you into the sea immediately, no problem.

  2. Do they have any sort of technical inspection in Naples? I was under the impression that, according to 96/96/EC periodic technical inspections where mandatory for all EU members.

    1. Not sure about Italy Roberto but in Ireland cars that are exclusively used on small islands are exempt from car testing.

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