Monday, July 26, 2021 | Dhu al-hijjah 16, 1442 H
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A rare car and the Omani who went to great lengths to acquire it

His acquisition of one of the rarest cars in the world wasn’t accidental. In fact, for wilayat of Saham resident Nasser al Breiki, it was a conscious decision that took him as far as the United States, spend a few days and quite a hefty amount of money there just to become a proud owner of a 1904 Ford Model A — the first car produced by Ford and one of the only 1,750 Ford A models produced between 1903 and 1904.

It is now one of the three classic cars in his collection, an addition that to him, has national importance and whose intrinsic value is totally priceless.

“Acquiring the 1904 Ford model was not very easy,” he shared.

The acquisition happened two years ago and Nasser said that despite the many hurdles not only in filling up the paperwork but looking into the complexities of acquisition and importation to the country, he managed to get the car after two weeks thanks to the port authorities of Oman.

Upon delivery to Oman and even to this day, the Ford A has created a furore among moto-aficionados not only in the country but in the region extending as far as other countries were classic car enthusiasts are living.

As Nasser brings the car to participate in classic car contests and exhibition shows, it always ends up at the top and these wins are becoming a testament to the red convertible’s classic beauty that has stood the test of time.

It is a possession that Nasser has no plans of selling at all as one thing is clear, he wants it to be preserved because to him it is a source of national pride.

“This car can fetch hundreds of thousands for me. But I don’t want to part with it for money because it is the carotid of my nation and I’d love to be known as the only owner of a national pride,” he said.

Weighing 562kg, the car can run at a top speed of 45k/h. It was sold as a two-seater and way back in 1903-04, it costs US$800 or US$900. Some of the notable characteristics of the car include a horizontal-mounted flat-2 located amidships of the car which produced 8hp, a 72-inch wheelbase, a planetary transmission fitted with two forward speeds and reverse, and band brakes that were operated for the rear wheels.

As a pricey acquisition, Nasser always makes sure that the car stays spick and span.

Its daily maintenance include consistent cleaning, vacuuming the interior and the exterior, applying brass for the copper handrails and cleaning the lamps which use kerosene to function.

The small kerosene tank is on the left, towards the rear.

Nasser maintained the original red colour which was the only colour the cars were produced.

The challenges of an old car

Nasser remembered the difficulties he and his cousin had to face while registering the vehicle.

Oman’s traffic authorities have in their IT systems the facility to register classic cars but it only extends to a specific time. For a car manufactured 114 years ago, it’s not a very popular case and there was no precedence of how to go about the process.

“It (registration) was very cumbersome. It wasn’t quite possible to enroll the car in the Royal Oman Police (ROP) records due to the modern technical requirements which the car doesn’t comply with,” he said.

Thankfully though, “The Royal Oman Police (ROP) traffic department was kind enough that they altered the computer systems to accommodate this car made in 1904. In the Sultanate, a running car is mandatory to have a number plate,” he said.

Ford records showed that Ernest Pfennig, a Chicago-based dentist was the first owner of a Model A on July 23, 1903. The Model A would eventually give way to Ford Model B and C in 1904.

Nasser and his cousin are now on the lookout for the original owner of the car.

“We are searching for the previous owner of my car,” he said.

With the time that has passed, he shared that finding the grandchildren of the original owner will already be an achievement enough.

“It all needs time. We are constantly in touch with our US friends,” he said.

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