Aug 30, 2007 (Business Daily/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) — At 94, Maurice Frost is the oldest participant in this year’s Concours d’Elegance and is revving up for the event with his 1924 sea green Fiat 509- a 1990 Concours winner.
This happens to be the oldest car in the annual vehicle and motor-bike pageant that draws crowds of motor enthusiasts from far and wide.
The Concours has become a major event on Kenya’s social calendar, with this year’s show drawing 14 new participants in the motor vehicle category as well as three motorcycles.
Mr Bob Dewar, the Chairman of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club, who are the organisers of the event, says that over the years the event has show-cased cars that are no longer in production.
These include Trumps, Concords, and Rudge.
The Vintage and Motor Cycle Club of South Africa has entered three bikes, while the Uganda Bikers Association has entered two bikes.
“The greatest attraction at the Concours are the rally classic cars, sports cars as well as Golden Oldies,” says Mr Dewar.
Vintage cars are also part of the great attraction of the day.
The utility category, which incorporates old style four wheel drive vehicles, double cabs, mini-buses, pickups and light trucks of up to two tonnes, has 12 entries while the vintage cars are three.
So far, 56 vehicles and 28 bikes have been entered for this year’s event.
Entries will close on September 14 to pave way for preparations for the big day on September 30 at the Nairobi Racecourse.
The vehicles and motorcycles undergo thorough inspection by the judges, with emphasis on originality.
Paintwork and external finishes are also closely scrutinised, as well as the interior, boots and engines. The process ends with the judges marking road worthiness and safety of the vehicles.
Some of the regular motor buffs in this year’s Concours are Charles Gitau who has, entered his 1957 Land Rover.
Anil Lakhani will show off his 1959 Opel Rekord, 1951 Rolls Royce and 1974 Mini Moke .
John Wroe is another regular, with his 1928 Ford Tudor, which will be showcased by Sheikh Motors Ltd.
In the motor bikes category, Duologues Kiereni, a major enthusiast, has registered three bikes and is up against Anoop Singh Jabbal’s 1976 Honda CB 400 as well as Rick Agagliate who has entered a 1968 Honda QA 50 and 1965 Suzuki Suzy.
A separate award will be presented by Winemasters for competitors wearing costumes.
The choice of fancy dress is up to the participant, but since the sponsors of this year’s contest is Schweppes and because it is hosted by the Jockey Club, competitors are invited to illustrate a soft drink or a horse racing theme.
They can also wear costumes to match their vehicles.
Last year’s highlight was the African Odyssey that saw 33 classic car enthusiasts drive from Johannesburg to Nairobi.
Participants from Australia, Germany and other parts of the world converged on South Africa for the drive. Nine participated in the Concours last year.
The Concours tradition has its roots in the 17th century and originated from the gatherings of the French nobility in the parks of Paris on high days and holidays.
They travelled in their best horse-drawn carriages wearing fine clothes for a social meeting, which became known as the Concour d’Elegance-or a gathering of elegance.
Concurrently running on the same event is the classic car and motorcycle sale .
Other attractions at this year’s Concours d’Elegance will be a band from Starehe Boys Centre, free fall parachutes and musician Eric Wainana .
Copyright Business Daily. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
by Beatrice Gachenge