Sunday,24 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1371, (30 November - 6 December 2017)
Sunday,24 February, 2019
Issue 1371, (30 November - 6 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Classics in Egypt: Tiny jewels

Small precious stones can be glamorous enough to cause wars among tribes and nations. Albeit not as dazzling, micro cars seem to be from the same breed, reports Mohamed Abdel-Razek 

Micro cars at Arkan Mall

Even after shuffling activities and sports, going out during the weekend in the usual places may have started to feel boring for some. Maybe end of year vacations are the only escape from the systematic life cycle that keeps rotating all year long, but thankfully there are some out of the ordinary events that we stumble upon from time to time that break the boring cycle with a spell of entertainment. 

In the beginning if the month, From 3-4 November, the classic car community, led by Mahmoud Ezzeddin, classic car events leader and founder of Vintage Wheels Egypt, and Ahmed Mahrous, classic car collector, decided to entertain the crowd at Arkan, at the restaurant complex at 6 October City, with some unusual classic cars. They called it Micro Cars Weekend. “Micro cars are very small vehicles which started spreading post World War II when the manufacturing resources were scarce and there was a need for vehicles with low running costs,” Ezzeddin said.

Messerschmitt KR200

Most of the cars at the show were fitted with motorcycle engines and some even had three wheels like the German-made Masserschmitt KR200 which actor Abdel-Salam Al-Nabulsi, who died in 1968, once owned.

The attractive small cars were tiny enough to fit along the passage of the complex, starting a few steps from the entrance. Visitors looked stunned, never expecting to see such an attractive collection. Heads of men, women and children turned as they stood in front of the cars taking pictures and looking deeply into the details of the cars.

The micro cars collection included NSU Ramses, the first ever car to be produced in Egypt, in 1965, the result of a co-operation between the new Egyptian car firm Egyptian Light Transport Manufacturing Company, and the German company called NSU, whose factory used to be located right next to the Great Pyramids, according to Mahrous.

Car owner Ashraf Al-Mallakh, who started collecting classic cars 30 years ago and lately started to be interested in micro cars after being inspired by a museum in the US a couple of years ago, said Ramses used to be assembled in Egypt up until the 1970s, with the 2 cylinder 583cc engine along with the transmission and wiring coming from Germany while the rest of the parts manufactured in Egypt, a total of 2,266 units produced, which makes it limited edition.

Ezzeddin with the Jeep Willys

Al-Mallakh also participated in the event with several other cars, including the 1960 NSU Prinz II, the Fiat Autobianchi model 500 Giardiniera, the 1952 Fiat Topolino Giardinetta and the 1958 Goggomobil TS 400.

A few steps away from the micro cars display were two iconic WWII vehicles which made a huge presence. One vehicle was the 1941 German Schwimmwagen (the swimming car) Volkswagen type 166. Owned by Ahmed Al-Kabani, this car is equipped with a 4 cylinder, boxer, air cooled 1,131 cc engine that produces 25hp to the four wheels in addition to a screw propeller that can be lowered down from the rear deck for the car to turn into a small power boat. If the engine is out, you still have the manual hand paddles attached to the sides of the car to use.

The car next to the Schwimmwagen was a Jeep Willys, owned by Maxim Classics, which carried the allies all the way to Berlin in WWII. The car had all the livery and equipment as if it just came out of the battlefield, but after getting a good shower.

Al-Kabani also participated with the Masserschmitt, as well as the stunning 1957 BMW Isetta, the 1974 Mini Acoma Comtesse, and the 1949 Fiat Topolino.

Ezzeddin, who also organises many classic car meets in Egypt, expressed his pleasure seeing his events and meets in the past years attracting many people to get into the hobby and many fans becoming attached to and entertained by the classic cars community in Egypt. He said, “we will keep on our passion and work on spreading it across the country.”

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