How Kakooza’s love for vintage cars turned into a business venture

Thursday September 5 2019

Haj Wazir Kakooza (Left) is a lover of vintage

Haj Wazir Kakooza (Left) is a lover of vintage cars who has now turned into a collector of old cars. PHOTO BY EDGAR R. bATTE 

By EDGAR R. BATTE

Haj Wazir Kakooza is a lover of vintage cars who has now turned into a collector of old cars. He shares why.

What is the name and make of your car?
It is a Toyota Corona, Mark 2, 1980 model. It has an engine capacity of 2, 200cc. It consumes diesel fuel.

When did you acquire it?
Its first registration in Uganda was on October 30, 2010 and I am the first owner. That means I have been driving it for nine years. It is one of my favourite cars.

What do you like about it?
It has a very low consumption of fuel. I leave Kampala for Kisoro and return on a budget of Shs260, 000. Secondly, it is a very unique car. In Uganda, there were three cars like this. One was owned by Bella Bella in Ndeeba, another is owned by a certain woman who switched it to use petrol. Mine is slightly longer than the other two. It is a very comfortable car. You can equate its comfort to that of a Range Rover. When I drive over a hump, its shock absorbers are strong enough to contain it. Another thing I like about it is that its front shock absorbers can be pumped so I do not have to keep replacing them.

How easy is it to get spare parts?
The unique thing about the car is that once I replace something, it works for a long time. I buy the spare parts mainly from abroad. I have never modified or pimped it in any way. It is beautiful in its original make. I think it is partly the reason why car viewers at the vintage auto show voted it the most uniquely appealing car. Many sat in it and enjoyed the comfort. Unfortunately, its engine is no longer readily available on the market. I have just replaced many of the engine parts but it was almost a futile search for them online. It was a friend working in Dubai who helped me find them after I shared its chassis number with him. I had to send him some spare parts’ samples. Many are no longer manufactured. He had to travel to Bahrain to get them.

How much did it cost you and how did taxes did you remit in taxes?
It cost US$13, 000 (about Shs48m). I bought it online and I paid taxes of about Shs8m for it.

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What drew you to the car?
I spend quite a lot of time on websites that sell cars. I was searching for a car that is both unique and a vintage. When I read about its specifics, I admired it and went on to make it my laptop screen saver. It caught the attention of a younger friend. I was in Mombasa at the time. When I told him about its price, he advised me to buy a fancier, newer model and type of car. I was in Mombasa to pick the car and when it reached the port, I called him to test drive it. He was surprised that a vintage car could have such a powerful engine.

What drove you to choose a vintage car over newer versions of cars?
It is a manual car. It is rare to find drivers opting for manual cars. They prefer automatic cars which allow them multitask like feeding and speaking on the phone as they drive. As a mature person, I do not multitask as I drive. A manual car makes you a responsible and careful driver. When I park it near cars like Range Rovers, the owners of such cars are always curious my car.

Would you share your car with anyone?
If they are my very good friends. I once gave it to one of my managers. He had hardly spent two hours with it and he called me saying he had been knocked and had let the culprit go without paying. To drive such a car, you need to appreciate it, love and care about it.

How do you keep it looking pristine?
I love it deeply. When you love something, you wouldn’t want it to fade or lose beauty in any way. I invest money to keep it in tiptoe shape and appearance. Most vintage cars are old and have mechanical faults but mine, which is more than 25 years old is still in very good shape.

How often do you drive it?
I used to drive it everyday but I got stressed by the reckless matatu drivers and boda boda riders. I have since decided to drive it only at the weekend.

You showcased more than the Mark 2, what other cars did you display?
I had a Lincoln 1982 model, a UYS Jaguar 1967, Kallista Panther 1984, Daimler Limousine 1930. All these are executive cars.

When do you drive all these cars?
I don’t really drive all of them anymore. People admire the cars and ask to hire them. So I now earn money from hiring them out. People particularly like the Daimler Limousine 1930 given its backseat conference amenity where passengers can hold a private conversation without the driver listening in.

What plans do you have with your collection of vintage cars?
In three years, I would like to set up a place where people can come see and learn about the cars just like they enjoy seeing other tourist attractions across the country.

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