Thursday March 6 2014

‘I treat my car like a woman’

Tim Lwanga takes good care of his cars and advises driver

Tim Lwanga takes good care of his cars and advises drivers to look after theirs the way they would their spouses.PHOTO BY EDGAR BATTE 

By Edgar .R.Batte

Briefly introduce yourself
Well my name is Tim Lwanga Mutekanga, I hail from Sesse islands and I am a fisherman by birth.

What is a car to you?
A car to me is a means of transport, but also a very reliable person, a very reliable friend. If I want to move very fast, it moves very fast. I want to press the pedal once, if I slow down it slows down, if I stop it stops. You see, when I indicate go left, I turn the wheel it goes left. No complaint. If I mistreat it, it mistreats me.

How long have you been driving?
I got my licence in 1971. I think it was January or February.

How old were you then?
I must have been about 19 and I have been driving ever since.

Had you been driving prior to 1971?
Yes but I was driving illegally. The first time I drove a car was when I was about 11. It was a Mercedes Benz, probably an E190. It was our old man’s car at the county in Singo. One of the first three Mercedes Benzes to come into the country as far as I am told. One belonged to a man called Ssebanakita, and the other belonged to Kigozi, another one belonged to Ben Kiwanuka.

I can see you own a Mercedes today, have you kept that love for the Benzes throughout the years?
I do not know whether it is a problem or an accident, I like good things. When I want something, I want the best and I think by all standards a Mercedes is the best car a man can drive. It is manageable. I would love to own a Porsche 911 maybe I will buy one a few years from now.

When did you buy your first car?
I bought my first Mercedes in 1983 which was a second-hand one. I bought my first brand new one in 1991, (an E190). Then 10 years later I bought an E230. Today, I also own an E300.

How much did you buy this E300?
Shs305m. I was lucky I was the honorary consul of Turkey so I got a rebate on some of the taxes but if you were to pay full price it would be about Shs500m.

How much did you I can tell from your talk that you are passionate about cars, what is you attachment to a car?
I want it neat and clean. I tell people that a car is like a lady you love so you must love your car. When you love it you look after it. When you look after it, it behaves very well.

How often do you service it?
Well, according to the manual I should do service every 10,000km but I service every 5,000km because of the dust.

Which is your favourite car?
It is a jaguar.

What do you like about it?
The contours and the way it is designed inside. It is very regal and it is handmade. It is very perfect and it has a nice engine. Its steering is unbelievable and so is the comfort as you cruise.

What is the fastest you have driven it?
It was right from Kampala to Kabale in three hours and 15 minutes.

At what speed where you driving?
I was doing 180kph.

So you are a fast driver?
Oh yeah. I have done up to 200kph, but I did that in the E190 one of the fastest cars I have driven. Sam Ssali (ex-rally driver) is my very good friend, we grew up together and went to the same university, and he thinks I am faster than him. He is very fast but if he thinks I am faster than him, then that is terrible. The real fast drivers I know here are my young brother Brigadier Andrew Lutaaya.

Do you share out your cars?
My wife has driven my car and my big girl, Esther, has driven my car. There are very few friends I have allowed to.

Why don’t you allow people to drive your car?
As I said, a car is like a woman, if you love somebody, say your wife, or your girlfriend, you definitely would not want to share them with anyone. Similarly, the car is never shared. The person you allow to share that car is someone you know will take care of that car the same way you do.

Do you wash your car?
Yes, for a very long time I used to wash my cars but I eventually stopped doing that because I am supposed to be a very important person in the country.

For how long did you wash your car?
I did for a very long time up to about 1989.

What is the difference between a vintage and a classic?
For a car to become a vintage it must be more than 20 years old and it must be in tip-top condition, you must look after it. I had an E230 and I gave it to my cousin, the CAO of Fort Portal. I bought it in 1998 and I gave it to him about this year because I could not imagine selling it.

When you are selling a car, do you consider the price or the person you are selling it to?
Both, if the price is good, yes but if I have to give it to a better person for Shs500,000 I will give it to a better person. I have had this car for about four years since I bought it brand new and I have driven it for only 4,000km. Many people think I bought it yesterday.