The Di Tella Magnette

Other English cars in Argentina


Imported English sport cars were once very popular in Argentina. MG TCs, MG Bs, Triumph TR3s and much more expensive Jaguars are still relatively usual presences on our roads. An uncle of mine used to have an Austin Seven some thirty years ago, but I have never seen another since then. During the early 80ís, a good number of Austin Allegros were imported, but Iím afraid to say that it was one of the most hated cars ever seen in our streets.


In 1971, the local affilate of Chrysler launched the Hillman or Sunbeam 1500, locally named Dodge 1500. It was a follow up of the old Di Tella concept; a solid, reliable, unpretentious and unexpensive city car. Sales were huge, and Chrysler managed the success much better than Di Tella had done in the past. When Volkswagen bought (locally) Chrysler in 1983, sales were still hot enough for them to rename it as VW 1500 and went on with its production. However, VW gradually replaced it with its own design called Gacel in Argentina (known in the US as Fox) and finally discontinued it around 1989, almost 20 years after its release, when its design was hopelessly aged.


From then on, no other British car was ever built in Argentina. Rovers and Jaguars can be bought now, and they keep a respectable share of the luxury car market.

This model of car was originally developed and sold as a Hillman Avenger in the UK, but when imported to the USA by the Rootes Groupís new owners Chrysler it was called the Plymouth Cricket.The Argentinean built version was named the Dodge 1500.Most amazingly, it was sold from 1983 until 1989 as a Volkswagen!

American Cricket Ad

Image of factoryÖLikely the British one.

The VW version of the Cricket!