Meikles marks 100 years with vintage cars

HARARE - Over 20 vintage cars  made a rare appearance in Harare’s Central Business District on Saturday as part of Meikles Hotel’s centenary celebrations.

Among some of the hotel’s revered events is hosting dignitaries to the 1980 independence celebrations and hosting an array of icons, including the late Nelson Mandela, the late pop icon Michael Jackson and Princes Charles and Edward.

Bob Rose, chairperson of the Vintage and Classic Club of Zimbabwe, said the club is a combination of car and bike clubs across the country that share a common vision of preserving their vintage prizes.

Rose told the Daily News that the club, which is now 60 years old, has 180 members, with one of its prized possessions being a 1920’s fire engine donated by the then City of Gwelo.

“We are very lucky to own our club house, so the pioneers of he club had foresight,” Rose said.

“However, we are on a very tight budget as most of the members are pensioners who are 60 years old and above.

“It has been a struggle to stay afloat but with the help of our contacts from work experiences as chief executives of companies, we have managed to survive.”

He said keeping the club and its premise viable has been a major challenge which has not been made easier by the introduction of the multi-currency regime in 2009.

Rose said though the club is open to everyone interested in vintage automobiles, they have very few members of colour.

Walter Hankey, owner of a 1957 Ford Feylon, said he takes care of his own car as the economic conditions do not allow him to take it to a professional mechanic.

“We are very lucky that every third Sunday of the month, we meet up and exchange notes on how best to keep your cars in pristine condition,” he said.

Pensioner Gilbert Green, who owns a 1966 Austin Healey, said he does not do much maintenance on his car as it is only for show.

“Once in a while, a mechanic checks on my car to see if it is still road worthy. However, all that depends on the mileage. But since it only comes out on special occasions, it is still in good condition,” he said.

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