Sri Lankan Cars (or, don’t diss the Starlet)

…on Sri Lankan roads are a reflection of our economy. We, taken as a collective whole, are not rich enough to possess a high per-capita amount of, oh say, Ferrari’s for instance. So while more prosperous nations may have a Ferrari for every ten thousand people. We may have just one for a few million.

I have counted about five Ferraris on Sri Lankan roads. I’ve seen an Aston Martin, a few Porches and moving further down the sports car prestige ladder, but still high for SL standards, a few Celicas and RX8s here and there.

High duty costs prevent even the rich from importing. Lack of infrastructure (like appropriate roads) and a lack of potential buyers prevents companies like Lamborghini opening up plants or even showrooms in SL. So what are we, as common Sri Lankan pedestrians, left to go ‘oooh look at the curves on THAT baby!’ at when we walk the sun drenched streets of Lanka?

Civics that’s what. Ordinary meant-for-the-city-commuter Civics, brainwashed into becoming souped up speed machines in the face of a lack of competition and the presence of glorious admiration from all passers by in lower income levels, of which there are many.

They are modified; they sound like demons and are meshed out with finest body kits courtesy Duminda. They’re decked out with sound systems from Petco-Lanka. They in short, are the envy of any red-blooded petrol head on the island, which is a term that encompasses most males between the ages of six and sixty five.

The Civic is chosen by virture of its aerodynamic design and stable chassis. I presume it is also easily modifiable both performance and appearance wise.

And its not only Civics. Subaru’s are generally considered to be superior machines. And if you have a real Mitsubishi Evo (and not an ordinary Lancer body kitted to look like one) you are pretty much largely unrivalled. Other than these babies the only other contender i can think of for the category of most popular modifiable vehicle (economy class) is the Toyota Starlet.

Yes it may look like a mite. But as connoisseurs (meaning people who talk about cars a lot) know, there is nothing much that can rival the GT on most Sri Lankan roads. So pray, don’t diss it.

The Starlet GT via

The Starlet GT via

  1. What is a pity though is that most of these guys spend money on fancy bodykits, paint, and rims, but don’t do anything under the skin — engine, box, suspension, are all often stock. Which means even a stock front-wheeler like an Integra-R or an FTO will cane their pants off. It’s the same with most of the Imprezas and Lancers you see — WRX/STI and Evo bodykits and badges, but nothing else — all look and no go.

    • Whacko said:

      yeah. most modifications are only for appearence’s sake. although the draggers tend to invest a bit in plugs, intakes and other paraphernalia. The trade off in the loss of fuel efficiency must be a deterrant. as for the stickers some don’t even realize where pretension ends and absurdity begins. like the ‘civic type r’ for instance.

  2. Cadence said:

    I like the Civic. It’s very no-nonsense like.. though I think the Subaru B4 is one mean machine, esp when done up a bit…and I do mean ‘bit’ not done up to absurdity.

  3. I wonder if even the look of the cars in the local scene is deteriorating. I was told the last so called car show seemed so bad it was worth the ticket price to go and laugh at them. Though I did spot a pic of a gorgeous cobalt blue Nissan 260Z Fairlady circa 1974-78

  4. Whacko said:

    Cadence – yeah, subtlety is an art eh. nice to see a lady who knows her cars 😛

    Dili – yeah man i saw a pic of that. she was a beaut!

  5. hey buddy, thanks for your comments on my site. Hope to see u active on it 🙂

    I see your a true petrolhead.. I’m trying to get the Starlet Quad-light model for myself with the Trueno. It’s simply beautiful. It’s just made for countries like ours. Not hard to make it go faster and its quite economical and nippy..

  6. I doubt I’m anything close to the connoisseur of cars that you are 😛 but I don’t think Sri Lanka is as impecunious as you seem to believe…
    We do have a Porches showroom in Peliyagoda, that’s got to say something for where Sri Lanka stands.

    Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen more Civics on the roads than Starlets… 😐

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