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“Vintage is elegance” – classic cars & fashion at the Kampala Sheraton

Aug 18 • 915 views • No Comments on “Vintage is elegance” – classic cars & fashion at the Kampala Sheraton Uganda

In case you missed it! Highlights from the 2017 CBA Uganda Classic and Vintage Auto Show

Do you love the cars of a bygone era? East Africa has a surprisingly diverse auto collection to show you!

The gardens of the Kampala Sheraton were the perfect location for the recent CBA Uganda Classic and Vintage Auto Show, now in its sixth year. This fixture is growing year on year, with 76 entries in 2017, thanks to the support of the Sheraton, CBA Bank Africa and a team who travel from Nairobi every year to help with the judging. To qualify to enter, competing cars must be dated 1992, or before. I’m no car expert, but I loved this event!

This year I had a chance to meet Bob Dewar, the Director of the CBA Africa Concours d’Elegance, which is held in Nairobi and is now in its 47th year. (I confess I felt a twinge of homesickness when I heard his English accent fill the Sheraton Gardens and couldn’t wait to go over and say hello to him!) Bob has been key to the success of this event, also known as a Concours d’Elegance (concours means competition). He is in Kampala every year to support the Ugandan team and build the crowd’s interest in the cars on display.

Bob Dewar Kampala Sheraton grounds

Pictured left is Bob Dewar. He accompanied the judges as they inspected each vehicle and gave the crowd insights into the history of each car and motorbike

Later in the afternoon, there was a “Vintage is Elegance” themed retro fashion show in the Sheraton Gardens, followed by a live performance by legendary reggae artist Maddox Ssematimba.

mud on white trousers

We were not deterred by the weather, were we? After a few splashes of rain, the grey clouds gave way for sunshine… (Perhaps I should have looked at the weather before I put on white trousers and jumped on a boda boda! Standing behind a motorbike skidding on wet grass was only going to end up one way – in a splattering of mud!)

Who were the winners of this year’s CBA Uganda Vintage and Classic Auto Show?

Ronald Walusimbi’s 1967 Toyota Corona beat Patrick Mweheire’s 1965 Mercedes Benz by just two points. Walusimbi won the 2500 cc touring car class in 2016 with a 1974 Mercedes Benz. He was also the highest placed competitor from Uganda.

Walusumbi’s 1974 Mercedes Benz. Concours d'Elegance

Walusumbi’s 1974 Mercedes Benz will be a star entry in the CBA Africa Concours d’Elegance to be held at the Nairobi Racecourse on September 24th. Last year he won the 2500cc touring car class in this machine. He will also take his Toyota Corona

This year’s Uganda winner is one of eight Ugandans who will be contesting the Africa Concours d’Elegance at the Nairobi Racecourse in September for the classiest event on the Kenya motor sport calendar.

An event with Kenyan connections and Buganda heritage

A team of nine Kenyan Concours enthusiasts participated in the Uganda event. Stephen Warui, who is a regular competitor in the CBA Africa Concours d’Elegance, was placed sixth overall in his 1959 Volkswagen Beetle. He also won his class.

Stephen Warui. 1959 Volkswagen Beetle. Concours d'Elegance Uganda 2017

Stephen Warui puts the finishing touch to his 1959 Volkswagen Beetle in readiness for judging at the Uganda Vintage and Classic Auto Show in the grounds of the Kampala Sheraton. He took home the prize for the best competitor from outside Uganda

Katikkiro of Buganda congratulates Stephen Warui. Auto Show Kampala 2017

Chief guest Charles Peter Mayiga (left), the Katikkiro (Prime Minister) of the Buganda Kingdom, congratulates Stephen Warui (centre) for winning the prize for the highest placed competitor from outside Uganda. Stephen finished sixth overall.

There’s a strong connection between the Buganda Kingdom and classic cars. The first car in Uganda was a 1906 Albion 16HP engine car, given to Ssekabaka Daudi Chwa (1897-1939) by Sir Hesketh Bell. Kabaka Daudi Chwa owned a fleet of Buicks. Later, Sir Edward Walugembe Mutesa II (1939-1966) owned a number of Rolls Royce cars. One of these is on display at the Uganda Museum.

Next (pit)stop Nairobi!

Leslie Carvell, the overall winner of last year’s Kampala event, is a member of the Uganda contingent who will be taking their cars to the Nairobi Racecourse. She will spend two days driving her 1970 Volkswagen Beetle from Jinja to Nairobi.

Leslie Carvell. All About Uganda in a Beetle

In 2014 Leslie Carvell drove her Beetle the length and breadth of Uganda to raise awareness for the work of the Uganda Conservation Foundation

The Uganda team will have an impressive collection of crowd-pulling cars. This includes the 1983 Nissan 240RS of Bob Roberts and Katende Mukiibi’s 1971 Ford Escort. Another ‘star car’ is the 1957 Mercedes Benz 190SL roadster of Laban Mawanda which will be a strong contender for a prize in the sports car class.

Twelve members of the Uganda Bikers Association (UBA) will be riding their motorcycles from Kampala to Nairobi to have their machines judged by Concours officials.

Where did the Concours d’Elegance idea start?

For the past 47 years, Kenya’s annual Concours has been organised by the Alfa Romeo Owners Club. The event’s aim is to recognise and reward the owners of well-kept cars and motorcycles, ranging from SUV’s and pick-ups to motorcycles.

To ensure high standards of judging, car entries are limited to seventy and motorcycles limited to forty. Just a few places remain on this year’s entry list. Regulations and entry forms are available from the Bob Dewar Publicity office in Kijabe Street, Nairobi. Alternatively, email / call info@bobpr.com +254 (0)20 3316160 / (0)2229793 / (0)733 732032.

A vintage and classic tour of East Africa – and beyond!

The influx of entries from outside Kenya confirms the status of the Concours as a pan-African event.

Three members of the Vintage Motorcycle Club of South Africa – with bikes of course! – are flying to Nairobi from Johannesburg to compete. There is now a classic car club in Dar es Salaam and several members are keenly interested in driving in a convoy to Nairobi to take part in the Concours.

Charlotte Morris Minor

My first car was a Morris Minor – back in the day!

I’m rather spoiled. I have grown up around classic cars, thanks to my dad. Indeed, my first car was a Morris Minor. (I think the idea was that if I had an old motor, I wouldn’t be able to drive too fast!) I had such fun in that car, it oozed character.

If you’re a ‘petrol head’ – or just appreciate a bit of motoring history – put these two East African motoring events in your calendar! 

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