Event Recap: Uganda Vintage and Classic Auto Show 2014
The true rarities of the day included some Volkswagen Beetles. Popularly known as design icons of the automobile industry, VW Beetle is still the most-produced car in automotive history, with 40 million rolling off production lines between 1945 and 2003. The most noteworthy Beetle on display was a gem named Percy, owned Leslie Carvell. Percy the Beetle is still a brute on the road and is currently on a mission to tour the entire country in efforts to raise awareness and funds for the Uganda Conservation Foundation. Percy has so far covered 1,000 km in the West without a single flat tyre. That’s quite some maintenance.
The Volkswagen Brand was further represented by the ancient Kombis, with one more eye-catching than the others having the words “Bakuntumye” (I’ve been sent to pick you) emblazoned on the top of its windscreen. Kombis still lie firmly in the hearts of many Ugandan veterans as they were often the first if not only choice of purchase for ambulances and school vans in the 60’s and 70’s. Other classics on show were an old model Range Rover, a Land Rover and a handful of Mercedes Benzes.
The pick of the Mercs that had jaws dropping was a mint-condition 250 SL Automatic, Silver Sky Blue in Color. On the British automotive TV show Top Gear (Season 3, Episode 8) the 250 SL is thought of highly, notably being described by host Jeremy Clarkson as one of the cars from the 1960s that has stood the test of time, being “from a time when Mercedes was still building its cars properly“. Other sleek crowd pulling coupes were the 1959 Triumph TR3A and the 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera SS whose interesting Number Plate was the name of our popular local dish, Posho.
Special mention is however reserved for the founding classics: First up was the 1926 Ford Model T which was in great state and perhaps best defined the term Vintage. This specific model that was made by Ford from October 1, 1908, to May 27, 1927 is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile and if you are an avid movie fan and have watched a few classic World War movies, you have seen this car. The 2014 vintage & Classic Auto show provided a rare chance to see the car.
The 1937 Citroen Light 15 was similarly quite the peach. This antique had a story to it as the owner Tarne Padhaal explained that it had come to Uganda along with the Prisoners of War during World War II. This well-preserved car was in fabulous shape and Tarne even joked that he was looking for a ‘chic’ to take with him to the beach in it. He cautioned though that it had over heating problems with its radiator.
A special section at the event belonged to Hi-Speed motorbikes and the Uganda Bikers Association came out in full force with a display of several fancy models of hi-speed motorbikes not necessarily vintage bikes. As that class was well taken by Peter Knight who exhibited a CJ 750 CC side car that looked like it had been plucked from a World War II movie.
The 2014 edition of the Uganda Vintage & Classic Auto Show presented a more than decent way to spend a Kampala Saturday, and the ball is now firmly in the event organizers’ court to reach out to more antique auto-owners and come up with even more creative ways to engage the crowd next year.
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