Keeping the passion alive for vintage cars in Oman

By Baraah al Mujaini –

Who among us is not mesmerised when we see a classic car? From its spectacular design, cheerful colours and to its unique existence that reminds us of some eras, old cars always have the power to make us do a second take.

Classic cars are cars that were produced between 1915-1948 according to CCCA (Classic Car Club of America). They are distinct compared to other types of cars in many characteristics, mainly, their external and internal outstanding design which cannot be seen in modern cars.

The first car arrived in Oman in 1928 for one wealthy family. Seeing a car in that era was astonishing and by then, an anomaly. Gradually, the number of cars increased. Owning classic cars and all matters relating to them is considered as a hobby and passion. They are owned not primarily for practical usage but nostalgia. Besides, the repair costs alone as well as getting spare parts cost a fortune.

Amateur lovers of the classic cars succeeded to some extent in preserving them and keeping their existence incessantly away from vanishing throughout the years. Most antiques had the tendency to fade away with time.

Ways to acquire classic cars require extreme patience besides a great deal of money since they are rare and limited in numbers. This makes these cars only accessible to those with different taste and people who prefer having unique acquisitions.

Sometimes car enthusiasts collect single car parts from different places that require travelling to finalize its final shape and design. In addition to the hard acquisition of spare parts as well as the high cost to get them, many classic car fans travel around the world to attend auctions to find what they are looking for.

In Oman, there is an ‘Old Cars Club’ within the Oman Automobile Association founded in September 2016. It is comprised of people who have special interest in classic cars.

The club plays a vital role in spreading the classic car culture and its history. They have participated in many events locally (over 40 participations) and globally (8 participations in many countries) as they attempt to show the public, especially who have the same interest as to how these cars work and what makes them special.

“Classic cars have a very strange way of operation. It is not easy to be driven by anyone”, Elias al Zadjali said in an interview.

“I enjoy repairing and changing spare parts of these cars and driving them is very entertaining. I have an exhibition in my home that includes 14 different classic cars, the oldest produced in 1914’’, he shared.

The cost of the classic cars fundamentally correlates directly with its uniqueness. The harder the car to find, the higher its price will be. Moreover, its originality and the absence of spare parts also contribute to the soaring prices.

The Omani Old Cars Club has been involved in many festivals and occasions, for instance, the Muscat Festival in 2018, Al Sahwa Public Garden in 2017, in national day celebrations and collaborations with many charities.

The members of this club used to hold some exhibitions from time to time until they established a permanent official exhibition where they can unite their passion and all their classic cars. The absence of a headquarter for the club is also one of the obstacles as one of the club’s members, Samer al Balushi, said.

Oman has always been keen to offer the best environment for the youth. It has been supportive of different interests. Similarly, while the support is just growing for this passion, members are very eager to work in getting more people to develop passion and appreciation for classic cars.

Lately, the Old Cars Club got more opportunities to flourish. One of the factors that create these opportunities is social-media which paved the ways between the club members and the public to know more about this hobby. As they promote the love for these cars, many achievements have been recorded. The latest was winning first place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2018.

Regarding the future plans for the club, Al Balushi said they hope “involving more members, engaging in more participation, and activating the club more in media.”