On 24th May, the annual Nairobi Auto fest took place at the KICC. On a day which started slowly, with the heavily pregnant Nairobi clouds threatening to open up, it was a relief for the organisers when rays of sunshine replaced them. Being the first event of the year to take place, expectations were high for the event. So what are some things we learned?
1. Lamborghini Murcielago still causes a buzz
March seems far, but not for the Murcielago. When pictures started circulating in the social media of the green Lamborghini, it instantly became the talk of town. From the morning shows to the numerous drive shows, it instantly changed the traffic updates landscapes. Not that many people pay attention to them but it literally monopolised the segment as almost all updates revolved around where it had been spotted.
Then in one way or the other (leaked or by design) videos came about it being thrashed on the famous ring by a Nissan GTR. Anybody who cares to read about sports cars, will comfortably tell you how the GTR otherworldly acceleration rate has ashamed most its expensive competitors. Not so for our so called experts. They trolled on the blog sphere shouting from the rooftops how the car is phony. Thanks to them, I learnt about a one produced in China.
And it so happened on Sunday the Lamborghini was lined next a red Ferrari 430. Ferrari has had its name around for a long time thanks to its F1 team. On any day, it would have taken the attention all by its own. But not when the astonishing design of the Lamborghini is in the mix. I bet the owner must have been proud seeing people surround it to the point of almost barricading the road when it was moving from the exotic cars corner to the monument area.
2. QUIET DAY FOR THE SUBARU AND EVOLUTION CLUB.
The two groups rarely agree on which is better. With this in mind, the organisers booked their spots close to each other. This was in anticipation that the two would engage into some kind of debate. As it turned out, nothing of the sort happened. The cars were parked in a rather professional manner (angle parking common in street racing). The evolution had been well represented with only evo6 missing in the line up. Apart from that, nothing more was worth noting took place as the cars remained closed for most part of the day. My guess is they preserved the arguments for the upcoming Subarufest.
3. Exhaust notes
With many not taking close attentions to the music played by the DJ, a convenient way of getting people to your corner was conceived. Many have complained of the noise made by the Subaru’s but in a field full of enthusiasts, that topic would hardly arise. And it all started with the supra from unity garage. The exhaust note was enough to bring all people around it. By doing that they managed to show people the humongous engine and the NOS supercharger at the back. But what followed next had not been accounted for by the unity team. A full spec rally Subaru from the Delights team engaged its. Turbo lag proved to be the attracting figure as fans quickly ran to view it and possibly record the exhaust. It was not long before a BMW with the illustrious M division badge came to the mix. What it brought was completely new to most – gun shots. Oh, yes, gunshots filled the air.
With the insecurity fear lurking on our minds, thanks to the terrorism, you can guess the relief on fans faces when it turned to be coming from a car. With that they ran frantically as they would have done if it were real gun shots, this time towards the M5. The delights team shed was left empty in seconds as discussion turned to how a car can produce such ping sounds. And still on the exhaust note, am wondering where the fallen king of whistle (madcity) would have ranked.
4. CLASSICS STILL AT HEART
Classic cars, like the past, always bring fond memories. With exotic cars in the show, one could have easily been forgiven for forgetting the past. And it is even so especially when futuristic cars like the Porsche Panammera are busy championing the cause to green. When they did show up towards the day, it was thrilling to see that they could get fans around them. Represented by a 1975 Ford Rekord, the long Chevrolet Bel air among others. Then there were the Minis. The Mini club happens to be one of the country’s most active clubs and rarely miss any motoring event. This time, it was represented by only two cars yet one can`t help but admire them. In the end they made a lap of honour round the Kenyatta Monument to great applaud by fans.
5. MOTORING CULTURE GROWING
10 years ago, there were few motoring events in the country. Limited mostly to the safari rally and motocross championship, they hardly had an impact on most people. The Rhino charge has been around for quite a number of years but its until recent years that people have taken notice. Today, the motoring calendar is almost full with hardly a month passing without an event. Numerous motoring clubs have been formed such as the Kluger and the Honda club. The latter was at hand to show case two Honda Civic type R. with 225hp and a top speed of 240km/h factory spec, my crystal ball shows me the number is going to increase especially considering how Honda is growing in popularity. And do I mention it will not wake up toddlers in the middle of the night? It is also important to note that the number of garages offering tuning of cars services has also grown tremendously over that period.
The great run 7 was scheduled for the next weekend in memory of Amir Mohamed. The Nairobi auto show is expected to take place this year also. Motoring shows are now being produced too. Autovault premiered though it is been long since the last season came to an end. I came across journalists from the Bazaar TV who told me the station deals with motoring news in the country. Kiambu time trials have also been well received with spectator numbers increasing with every trial held. One was scheduled for April but with the accident which claimed the life of Amir, a director of the event and christened King of the ‘ring’ the event was cancelled.
Matatus are on the up also. After years of being dormant thanks to the previous government crackdown, the president’s authorization for the pimping to be allowed the industry has come back to life. No time was lost as by January pimped matatus full with dazzling array of colors, well choreographed graffiti bumping music, screens and wonderfully crafted bumpers were on the roads. The competition has been so strive that one can`t even predict what the winner will have as the unique fixtures.
Considering the growth over the last 10 years, the future looks bright. Nothing looks to stop the rise. Factoring in the growth is led mostly by youths, most of whom are young in their careers; we are set for more exotic and sports cars gracing our roads in future. The motorcycles have also not been left behind as evidenced by the number seen on the streets nowadays. Hopefully, somebody somewhere will take notice of this and invest in coming up with that racing track