Drive-by Snapshots

Logo Speedhunters

Drive-by Snapshots article published on

Flag World greyscaleAn Early Morning in Oman

2019.10   |   Drive-by Snapshots   |   Speedhunters

Read More»

An Early Morning in Oman

An Early Morning in Oman

Drive-by Snapshots   |   Published at

Read More»

The Original Speedhunter

Flag World greyscaleThe Original Speedhunter

Drive-by Snapshots   |   Published at

Have you ever set yourself a goal for the upcoming year on New Year’s Eve? Eat less and healthier, go to the gym more often, or finally clean out the garage this spring?

More than two decades ago, I set myself a goal to visit (at least) one new country every year. Living right in the middle of Europe makes this endeavor a little easier than in many other regions of the world, but it still takes some commitment.

With 365 days ahead every year, there is plenty of time to actually get out and travel, making this goal achievable for even the most hardcore procrastinators.


20+ Years, 20+ Countries

Automotive photography comes in many different flavors. Some love to shoot action at race tracks, some at the hustle and bustle of car meets and shows, some in the silence of a museum or studio with perfect lighting. All of these activities involve some sort of planning ahead, and who doesn’t love the anticipation coming with that?

Dunlop-Bridge-at-Le-Mans-24h-in-France-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

However, what I love most can’t be planned in advance. Going to places where chances are high to find interesting vehicles certainly helps, but most often it happens unexpectedly, where you least think of it, without prior notice. Walk or drive around a corner and there it is, triggering that instant grin.

These moments are the drug I’ve been addicted to for more than two decades, and I’ll never get enough of. My host family in the USA coined the term ‘drive‐by snapshots’ for these pictures, and this expression has stuck ever since 2001.

Most of the times it’s not possible to locate the owner of the parked vehicle and therefore the stories often lack details and are more focused on how, where and in which condition the car was found.

Lacking the ability to move the car and having to work with whichever background it is parked in front of, provided a steep learning curve (and lots of frustration). It taught me to always make the best of the given circumstances.

Mazda-323-FA4-in-Birzebugga-Malta-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

Car People Don’t Care About Language Barriers

If there is somebody around, I usually just go and ask whether it is okay to snap a couple of pictures. The worst thing that can happen is that somebody says no, but experience shows that most people either don’t care or are positively excited and want to show something that is hidden in the garage or around the house.

Not speaking the language should never stop you from traveling to a foreign country. A friendly smile goes a long way and if you have the basics like ‘hello’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ covered, you’re usually off to a good start.

The car language is universal and like-minded people always understand each other by pointing at things, smiling and laughing.

Daihatsu-Hijet-Tuktuk-in-Phuket-Thailand-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

Being in the right place at the right time made meeting these awesome people possible, and I’m more than thankful for the time we spent together. Some of them may remain fond memories forever because I forgot to ask for contact details and couldn’t keep in touch. Others became friends, thanks to email, forums and social media.

Subaru-Impreza-WRX-STI-in-Muscat-Oman-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

Expensive Kit Not Required

It is by no means necessary to travel to the other end of the world in order to find opportunities for interesting pictures and stories. A true gem might be hiding right around the corner from your home, just keep your eyes open.

Never think: ‘I’ll snap a picture on my way back.’ The chance that the object you desire to take a picture of might be gone by the time you return is 50/50.

Whichever device you have on hand is usually good enough to freeze a moment you’ll have fond memories of in the future. Every time you look at the picture, it will bring a smile to your face. None of the pictures in this post have been shot with a full‐frame DSLR and fancy glass.

If your budget is limited, spend it on traveling instead of expensive kit and gain experience. The pictures may not be technically perfect, but they always tell a unique story worth remembering and sharing.

Sebastian Motsch   |   Instagram drivebysnapshots

[This story was published on in September 2019.]

Logo Speedhunters

Drive-by Snapshots article published on

Flag World greyscale20+ Years, 20+ Countries: The original Speedhunter

2019.09   |   Drive-by Snapshots   |   Speedhunters

Read More»
Japan Hakone Turnpike Lotus Exige 240R GT3 by Sebastian Motsch (2019)

Lotus Exige 240R GT3

Flag JapanDBS of the Day

Japan   |   Hakone Turnpike

Japan Hakone Turnpike Lotus Exige 240R GT3 by Sebastian Motsch (2019)

Japan Tokyo Meguro Volvo XC70 CrossCountry Surfing Wagon by Sebastian Motsch

06 Tokyo | Gotanda and Meguro

Flag JapanDay 03 | Tokyo

03.05.2019   |   Gotanda   |   Meguro   |   Azabu

Read More»
Japan Tokyo Asakusa Temple Detail by Sebastian Motsch

03 Tokyo | Asakusa

Flag JapanDay 02 | Tokyo

02.05.2019   |   Asakusa

Read More»
Japan Tokyo Shiba British Beat Motorcycles by Sebastian Motsch

02 Tokyo | Shiba to Azabu

Flag JapanDay 02 | Tokyo

02.05.2019   |   Shiba   |   Azabu

Read More»
Nissan Bakkie 1400 Pick-up South Africa Midrand Bosch Diesel Center | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2008)

South African Nissan Bakkie 1200 & 1400

South African Nissan Bakkie 1200 & 1400

Reading the Speedhunters story about a properly built South African Nissan Bakkie 1400 reminded me of the time when I lived in South Africa. Digging through the pictures on my hard drive revealed quite a few pictures of these lovely little, but sturdy and tough, trucklets.

Read More»
Thailand Bangkok TukTuk Happy New Year 2019 Neon Nightmarket by Sebastian Motsch

Happy New Year 2019

DBS of the Day

Thailand   |   Bangkok   |   Happy New Year 2019

Thailand Bangkok TukTuk Happy New Year 2019 Neon Nightmarket by Sebastian Motsch

Bugatti EB110 Widebody Conversion | photoshop chop by Sebastian Motsch (2018)

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

2018 was a successful year for my photoshop blog VirtualModels. Many thanks to everybody for your support, encouraging words and great ideas for improvements.
I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

2018 war ein erfolgreiches Jahr für meinen Photoshop Blog VirtualModels. Herzlichen Dank an alle für Eure Unterstützung, ermunternde Worte und großartige Verbesserungsvorschläge.
Ich wünsche Euch allen Frohe Weihnachten und einen Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!

Herzliche Grüße and yours sincerely – Sebastian Motsch

Merry Christmas to everybody! Frohe Weihnachten!

Bugatti EB110 Widebody Conversion | photoshop chop by Sebastian Motsch (2018)

Renault R4 Nancy France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2018)

Renault R4 | Nancy, France

Flag FranceRenault R4 | Nancy, France

Spontan sind wir dieses Jahr an Ostern über die Grenze nach Nancy gefahren und haben das Auto in einem leicht patinierten Parkhaus abgestellt. Der Weg zum Ausgang führt uns quer über das Parkdeck. Wir unterhalten uns über einen der ersten Besuche meiner Eltern in unserem wunderschönen Nachbarland. Jahrzehnte ist dieser Ausflug her und ich stelle mir vor, wie es in dem damals neuen Parkhaus ausgesehen haben mag. Anstelle von silbernen, schwarzen und weißen Einheitsfahrzeugen parkten hier damals Autos in allen möglichen Formen und Farben ― je bunter desto besser.

Read More»
Malta Birzebugga Tata Telcoline by Sebastian Motsch 2017

Tata Telcoline Pick-up

DBS of the Day

Malta   |   Birzebugga

Malta Birzebugga Tata Telcoline by Sebastian Motsch 2017

England London Airstream Food Trailer by Sebastian Motsch 2017

Airstream Food Trailer

Flag United KingdomDBS of the Day

England   |   London

England London Airstream Food Trailer by Sebastian Motsch 2017

Nissan-Cedric-Y31-Taxi-Prada-in-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

Sleepless in Tokyo

Flag JapanSleepless in Tokyo

Drive-by Snapshots   |   Published at

When opening the mailbox, there is a postcard between the bills and the advertisements that I already fished out curiously on my way to the apartment door. Where was it posted and who sent it? The dim light of the cold winter day makes me want to see a holiday greeting with palms on a beach, a lighthouse amid towering waves or a sunlit attraction. I turn the postcard to the front page and see… black. The entire surface is printed in a deep black, which in some places is weathered by mail sorting machines. Printed in one of the trendy neon colors it says ‘Berlin bei Nacht’ next to a crescent moon and a couple of stars.

Two decades later, during a nocturnal foray through the Japanese metropolis, I am thinking of this trend of the ’90s, whose remains can still be found sometimes in the back corner of a postcard shop. Who does not remember sending or receiving such postcards? Today we post status updates and Instagram stories on Facebook instead of sending postcards to family and friends.

Pedestrian-Crossing-in-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch-01 1280px

Unable to close even one eye, I lay awake in the tiny Airbnb room and quarrel with the jet lag. The inner clock has not yet adapted to the local time zone, although I have slept well during the long flight and the body is refreshed. But wait, jet lag is a good thing, isn’t it? It makes it possible to explore foreign cities when the locals sleep. Who knows what waits to be discovered at this time of the night?

Before finishing this thought, I’m already dressed and stand outside the tiny house in the narrow street. Left or right? It doesn’t matter. Those who have no destination will not get lost. When the lights switch to green, I start walking.

BMW-X3-F25-in-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

Tokyo is a huge metropolis, but contrary to many other major cities around the world, most of the inhabitants sleep at night. Moving quietly through the residential streets, I admire how close the homes are spaced. The distance often corresponds to the width of a German license plate. It is a prosperous area, judged by the amount of European cars parked in open garages and integrated carports.

Nissan-Skyline-GT-R33-in-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

Again and again, there are little details, like the anime figures glued to the dashboard of a Volvo 850 wagon, which bring a smile to my face. While approaching the end of the alley, I can hear a sound from the crossroad. Rapidly rotating tires mingle with the silence as if an invisible DJ gently fades in a new tune. A Toyota Hiace ambulance flashes past, without sirens out of consideration for sleeping residents and the flickering red light is reflected off a parked R33 Nissan Skyline.

Mercedes-Benz-W140-in-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

As I move on, I notice the transition from residential to a more commercial area with shops between the houses, with neon signs illuminating the parked cars. A shoe salesman has set up his goods on the covered corner of a house, which will disappear again in the trunk of his W140 before dawn. Since I’m the only passerby far and wide, I wonder who the nice elderly gentleman sells his shoes to. Unfortunately, we do not find a common language to clarify this question. When I tell him that I’m German, he smiles and directs the conversation, which consists of just a few words but many gestures, to his vehicle and we quickly agree that it is of outstanding quality and perseverance. He is really happy that I want to take a picture but doesn’t want to be part of it himself.

The kind gentleman directs me to turn left while imitating the sound of a V8 engine and simulating steering movements. A hearty laugh and a polite bow to say farewell encourages one man to wait for customers and the other to continue walking. I follow the direction indicated and, crossing a fenced bridge, notice that the expensive public parking lots are mostly empty at night.

The homes give way to luxurious shops. In front of a building with spectacular architecture, I take a picture of a Nissan Cedric taxi waiting at the traffic light and muse over the beautiful picture. Otherwise, the streets in the area are empty. I have time to let my thoughts wander.

Lamborghini-Huracan-in-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

In Japan, other people’s possessions are respected rather than stolen. Therefore even expensive aftermarket wheels are stored in open garages and high-value supercars are parked outside.

Suzuki-Jimny-Dodge-Van-in-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

Most private underground garages are not equipped with access barriers, providing me the opportunity to take a look at the parking deck of a large apartment complex. Many new hybrid models, rows of minivans and kei cars.

But what is that? In the far corner hides what will become one of my favorite pictures of this journey. Peacefully, a lowered full‐size Dodge van and a lifted Suzuki Jimny share a niche. The contrast couldn’t be bigger. Only in Japan.

Chevrolet-Camaro-in-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch1 1280px

A few blocks down the road the sounds advertised by the shoe salesman are audible, immediately evoking memories of another continent. I smile from ear to ear, because the scene is so surreal. In between the typical Tokyo taxis, dozens of shiny American cars cruise with burbling exhausts.

Toyota-LandCruiser-HJ61-Shibuya-Crossing-Tokyo-Japan-by-Sebastian-Motsch 1280px

A weird but wonderful contrast that accompanies me all the way to the world-famous Shibuya intersection. Upon arrival, I indulge in the unique atmosphere and enjoy watching the nocturnal hustle and bustle with a glass of matcha and rest the tired legs.

The subway suspends service at night and because my budget doesn’t allow for a cab ride, I walk back to the tiny house and fall asleep fully dressed.

Sebastian Motsch   |   Instagram drivebysnapshots

[This story was published on in September 2019.]

renault-alpine-a110-sebastian-motsch-4 1280px

A Chance Encounter in Rural France

Flag FranceA Chance Encounter in Rural France

Drive-by Snapshots   |   Published at

Read More»
Volkswagen-Beetles-in-Bangkok-Thailand-by-Sebastian-Motsch-03 1280px

Volkswagen Beetles in Bangkok

Volkswagen Beetles in Bangkok

Drive-by Snapshots   |   Published on

Read More»

Lost Places | Station Service Fermée

Flag FranceStation Service Fermée

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace

There are many reasons why I love France. One of them is the fact, that the French do not immediately dismount the pumps after a petrol station goes out of business. Instead they just display the lowest possible price on the signpost, call it a day and wander off to play a game of Pétanque with their friends, enjoying a glass of red wine.

Read More»
Citroen HY 1964 Carrosserie Le Bastard | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2014)

Citroën HY S.E.V. Marchal | Carrosserie Le Bastard 1964

Flag FranceCitroën HY S.E.V. Marchal | Carrosserie Le Bastard 1964

In the 1960’s the internet wasn’t invented yet and only a few people had a black and white TV. Apart from advertising in newspapers and cinemas, companies had to come up with different ideas to get the attention of potential customers. In France, many companies ordered special re-bodied vehicles from coach builders to gain attention at events like the Tour de France and the 24 Heures du Mans. These vehicles drove along the circuit before the races began. Concerning the Tour de France, the tradition lives on even today, but unfortunately most vehicles are not purpose-built solely for advertising duty any more.

Read More»

24 Heures du Mans 2014 | Starting grid and first lap

Flag France24 Heures du Mans 2014 | Starting grid and first lap

Everybody know about the starting procedure of the 24 Heures du Mans race. The cars are lined up in an angle in front of the pit lane wall. But… theoretically knowing about it and seeing it live are two different things entirely. All the buzz on the starting grid is quite interesting…

Read More»
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 Le Mans 2014 | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2014)

Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 @ Le Mans 2014

Flag FrancePorsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 @ Le Mans 2014

One of quite a few Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 models in 1:1 scale that graced the Michelin booth at the 24 Heures du Mans 2014. A stunning car and engineering masterpiece… but not particularly pretty. It might have looked a lot better had it sported a Martini or Gulf livery. Maybe next year?

Read More»
BMW E30 324d Strasbourg | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2014)

BMW E30 | An important birthday to be celebrated soon

Flag FranceBMW E30 | An important birthday to be celebrated soon

Taking pictures of the diamond black 318is beauties on Sunday reminded me of something. A couple of weeks ago, while looking for Drive-by Snapshots in Strasbourg, I found an almost immaculate BMW E30 324d in an industrial area. The sign on the roof pointed to a used car dealership I would have otherwise missed. The silver car was for sale, but an old diesel isn’t really desirable to own in Germany due to high taxes… unless it is 30+ years old. Well this particular birthday will be celebrated in the not too distant future.

Read More»
Peugeot 504 Break USDM-spec France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Peugeot 504 Break USDM-spec | Early morning surprise

Flag FrancePeugeot 504 Break USDM-spec | Early morning surprise

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you might remember seeing a glimpse or two of this Peugeot 504 Break in the post about the Winnebago LeSharo. Even the EU-spec vehicles are kind of hard to find in good condition these days, because many of them have been exported to northern African countries years ago, to be used (and abused) as taxi cabs. Finding this US-spec model on an early morning was a nice and unexpected surprise. No visible rust on this extremely rare car, but very lovely patina. If cars could talk, this one would definitely be able to tell some interesting stories about the adventures of a long life on at least two different continents…

Read More»
Winnebago LeSharo | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Winnebago LeSharo | A grey morning in September

Flag FranceWinnebago LeSharo | A grey morning in September

RD 6089 near Terrasson-Lavilledieu, on a grey morning. Cruising along with the local traffic… I spotted something based on the Renault Trafic on the side of the road: the Winnebago LeSharo. I have always liked how the French design of the base vehicle integrates well with the American style camper body. If you look at other Winnebago motorhomes of the same period, you can even see a familiar resemblance. Being flanked by a US-spec Peugeot 504 Break was a nice coincidence. The dealer had many other interesting vehicles for sale, some of which you will sooner or later find here at Drive-by Snapshots.

Read More»
Station Service Ouverte France | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2013)

Lost Places | Beheaded bodies, robbed carcasses and zombies

Flag FranceBeheaded bodies, robbed carcasses and zombies

Lost Places   |   Rust in Peace

Discovering a defunct service station displaying a sign saying Station Ouverte was already weird in its’ own right. The place looked like it had been left in a hurry and the proprietors haven’t returned since. Being the kind of person who is always keen to figure out what might have happened, I walked around the building and found… the carcass of a little vehicle the French call La Deuche.

Read More»