the vintage and classic bits of uganda’s heritage

The Vintage & Classic Auto Show wasn’t just about seeing nice, old, elegant, well-kept cars.

This guy, Hajji Kironde of Butambala, was one of my clear favourites with his 1972 Datsun 1600SS (also called the Datsun 510 in the United States).

IMG_8350The energetic Hajji told me in no uncertain terms how fantastic his car has been these 42 years past – and he has driven it practically every day of those years.

“I bought it in Amin’s regime after making some good money and I have driven it ever since. My children have gone to school, I have owned and lost businesses, and I am still alive and thriving!” he told me in Luganda.

“See this?” he pointed into the engine of the car, “Original! All metallic. All working perfectly fine. Don’t tell me about these Japanese cars of these days!”

IMG_8352And, he continued, taking me round his car, in Amin’s regime you could not drive around without a fire extinguisher in your car – so he still has his!


And, he took me on a tour of his rear window louvres:

IMG_8354As well as his fuel tank in the boot of the car, which horrified me a little bit but was balanced out by the enthusiasm with which he got me to stick my head into his car boot; if only a few more Ugandans showed as much pride in their cars as this Hajji…



Obviously, his car was not the cleanest of the lot, but the fact that this ‘ordinary gentleman’ could not only keep his car running well for over forty years but also feel proud enough of it to enter into the Vintage & Classic Auto show was heartening.

He went on to challenge anyone to a race from Kampala to Nairobi; which he claimed he would win hands down judging from his trip to Kabale and Mbarara last year.

My other favourite was this Citroen because as a child I went to school in this very car:

20140705_135620 20140705_135625 20140705_135638 20140705_135640 20140705_135741Amos Kasule Mwesigwa, a cousin of mine with long memories, was livid over a couple of missing details on the Citroen, and the change of number plate; and I let him jump around in anger for a while before placating him with the reasoning that at least the car was still here for everyone to see – and in pretty good condition too!

This truck also caught my eye, and one day the Sterns will write their story into a book for all of us to enjoy – detailing how they decided to move to Uganda in the late 80s, how they acquired this truck, and the journey they undertook with their nine (9) children to settle in Uganda.

IMG_8340 IMG_8342Then there were the really expensive vintage offerings that set the skin tingling:

IMG_8305 IMG_8307 IMG_8311 IMG_8328 IMG_8366

IMG_8308 IMG_8316 IMG_8318 IMG_8321 IMG_8324 IMG_8327 IMG_8330IMG_8367 IMG_8368 IMG_8369


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And the really, really, really old cars:

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This car up here is a Hudson owned by Sam Patel:


20140705_135444 20140705_135526The Combis and Beetles also caused great amounts of excitement – and I even found one on offer for just Ushs6million!

20140705_140914 20140705_140901 20140705_140918 20140705_140948 20140705_140956 20140705_170940 20140705_140831 IMG_8277 IMG_8278 IMG_8280 IMG_8279 IMG_8281 IMG_8282 20140705_140842 IMG_8283

Some cars are old enough to fit properly within my lifespan (year of manufacture), starting with Sam Muwanguzi’s Toyota Crown:




And there was a whole lot more – words are not enough:

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IMG_8372And unlike many other car shows in other parts of the world, there is a way we dress up here that is different yet colourful:

IMG_8331The pictures won’t end in a hurry – there are hundreds more!

Last off, though, thanks to this guy for his hard work in getting us there – together with many others, but a great round of applause goes straight to Peter Kagwa, Events Warehouse for being the only outfit that could ever pull this off with such aplomb:

IMG_8231On to next year’s edition – WE now have 12 months during which we should go round to all the garages and compounds nearest to us to rescue as many vintage and classic cars as possible, then get them back on the road.

We now have enough mechanical workshops to make this a reality, and where we need parts from anywhere else, we can use the internet.

And we all know that there are hundreds of other classics that simply didn’t turn up this year or last year. We need to get them to all make a showing.

No excuses!







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