My Spartan is priceless- Mahray

Although it is a four seater, the Spartan Convertible can accommodate up to five passengers . PHOTOS/Roland D. Nasasira

What you need to know:

Twelve years ago, Mahray Fesehazion bought a Spartan Convertible from a friend in London, UK. Today, his most prized possession could fetch up to Shs60 million in a blink of an eye. But he cannot let it go.

When you look at Mahray Fesehazion’s Spartan Convertible you will be amazed by a number of physical features it possesses.

For starters, its doors are opened by a gentle twist of a lock similar to a house door. But you can decide to skip over the door and into the passenger or driver’s seats. The shiny side mirrors are positioned just on top of the hard-bodied front mud flap that covers the tyres, different from those of the latest cars adjacent and attached to doors.

At the rear, the spare tyre lies on top of the car boot. And to open the car trunk, you hold two locks positioned on either sides. In the trunk is where the black jacket that is used to protect the car from rain is kept. And when it rains while he drives, he connects the cover from the rear to the front at all corners, up to the windscreen that is left open for visibility. Its indicators and brake lights are protected under one oval-shaped light. 

Manufactured by Ford in 1979, Mahray says the Spartan was initially made as a rally car.

He bought it from London, United Kingdom 12 years ago from a friend who run a garage but had parked it for a while in the garage showroom.

Before shipping it Uganda, Mahray says he first had to put it in a good mechanical condition fit for the road for a while before it started its journey to Uganda where it has found home for the last 10 years. 

“I drive it every Sunday when the roads have fewer cars. I cannot bear driving among errant and reckless motorists who do not attach value to vintage cars. Besides, when you knock this car, its spare parts cannot be sourced locally. The nearest I have to get them is London and it comes at a high cost,” Mahray explains.

Service and maintenance

Apart from having mechanical knowledge to fix a few things, Mahray prefers inviting his mechanic to repair his car from home. It is a typically manually operated car with not much of electrical systems, the reason it is easy to maintain.

“When I need a spare part, I travel to London. The only spare parts I get from Kampala are the tyres and engine oil. Brake pads, brake fluid and oil filters and other key parts are from London. The car does not have many mechanical problems. I often experienced the challenge of overheating in the past but I solved it by adding one extra fan near the engine block. The engine also cools using the many air inlets spread all over the car bonnet. Any mechanic can repair this car as long as they get the right spare parts,” Mahray explains.

Unlike your regular car that is recommended 5,000km intervals to service, Mahray’s service depends on what needs to be fixed.  Otherwise, it is a car, he services once or twice a year. And on each service routine, he spends Shs200,000.

He has only replaced the tyres once in the 12 years the car has been in his possession. One tyre costs Shs300,000.

“When I had just bought it, I had no challenges with finding mechanics. I could service it from the garage but I realised mechanics are crooks. They devise all ways of cheating you even when they have not repaired anything. I have since resorted to having it serviced from home under my supervision,” Mahray adds.

A four seater by design, Mahray says his Spartan can accommodate five passengers. Its fuel tank carries approximately 70 litres and has a maximum speed of 120km.

It runs on five gears, with one serving as the reverse mode. The longest distance he has driven it is Entebbe where he spent Shs60,000 for the trip.  It runs on a 2000cc petrol engine.

I have received many offers for the car but I am not willing to sell at the moment. Even if I put it up for sale in the afternoon, I would have the money by night fall.

The highest offer I got was $15,000 (Shs54m) in 2021. Time will tell the price of this car,” Mahray says. 

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