Classic car lovers gear up for Concours D’elegance


On an early morning at Nairobi’s Ufunguo Estate, we met Michael Muya, a businessman and politician getting ready to embark on the day’s schedule.

Despite his busy schedule, Mr Muya spared a moment to show us his 1956 Ford Zephyr Zodiac, which will be on display at this year’s Concours D’elegance on September 25 at the Ngong Racecourse in Nairobi.

He bought the car three years ago at a garage auction for Sh150,000 after its first owner gave it up for sale. The vehicle featured at the event last year for the first time and won the third position in the Most Meritorious Award category. The award earned Mr Muya about Sh25,000 besides being declared as the best dressed couple together with his wife.

Judging by the prize money, it is clear that car owners do not participate in the competition because of monetary gain.

It is more about a feeling of satisfaction. To be recognised as a person whose car is the most outstanding in a certain category other than the cash reward.

“It is all about a passion for old cars. Being able to spice up a car from an almost useless state and see it attract attention on the road,” says Mr Muya.

It cost Sh250,000 to bring the Ford to a shape that impressed the judges last year. The cash was spent on buying spare parts and making the interiors.

Together with Sh200,000 that was spent by CMC motors under whose sponsorship the car was painted, he says that the total expenditure on preparation of the car for the competition was close to half a million shillings.

“Competing in the Concours is not about the prize money because what one gets is not even close to meeting the cost of preparing the car,” says Bob Dewar, the chairman of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club, which has been organising the event in Kenya for the past 41 years.

At Mr Muya’s residence also lies a Volkswagen beetle that was manufactured in 1 that he bought 10 years ago for Sh80,000. He intends to enter it in future Concours once he completes working on it.

Concours D’elegance is one of the most important events in the Kenya Motor Sport Federation’s calendar. The event together with other similar Concours organised around the world trace their origin in France.

During the 17th century, French noble, merchants and wealthy people paraded horse-drawn carriages on the streets of Paris to identify those that were highly maintained.

The gathering was referred to as Concours D’elegance, a French term that translates to a gathering of elegance in English.

The parade later transformed into a global competition involving cars and eventually motorcycles.

In Kenya, the event was first held to mark the first anniversary of the Alfa Romeo Owners Club that was celebrated 41 years ago.

The club made Concours D’elegance open to other models of vehicles after the first 10 years of competition involving Alfa Romeo.

Twenty-five years ago, the event was extended further to include entries for motor bikes, with majority in this category coming from the Uganda Motor Bikers Association (UBA).

Last year, 11 entries came from UBA. A similar number from the group is expected for this year’s event.

The local Concours D’elegance earned the recognition of FIM Africa, formerly the African Motorcycle Union in 2006. It is touted as the best competition of its kind in the region.

According to Mr Dewar, the organisers would not settle for anything less than seeing the event reach to the level of the Pebble Beach Concours in California in the US, one of the world’s most celebrated Concours.

It has grown over the years from a mere show and recognition of well maintained cars to include sales of cars.

Concours creates an opportunity for owners of classic cars and motorcycles that are 25 years or older to offer them for sale to interested buyers.


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