Roaring again, president Samora Machel’s luxury car is on the market

2014-12-31 00:00

THE four-litre V8 engine roars like an African lion. If this 1965 Nissan President could only talk, it would tell lots of tales of the days it carted Mozambican heads of state such Samora Machel around.

The shining black king of the road now belongs to Frikkie Ferreira of Montana Gardens in Pretoria.

At the time it was described as “a luxury Japanese limousine”.

As far as Ferreira and his wife, Paolo, could ascertain there are only three of these models in the world today.

Only the top luxury vehicles could boast aircons and power steering in 1965.

The country’s flapping flag was attached to a steel peg on the front of the mud guard.

There are ashtrays, cigarette lighters and a radio at the rear seats.

However, Ferreira is now looking for a new owner for this retired official government car.

“I am not a collector. I fell in love with the roar of its engine. It pumped my adrenalin,” said Ferreira.

“Maybe there is someone who longs to own such a veteran car … before I convert it into a hot rod.”

The stately vehicle initially belonged to Paola’s uncle, Carel Botha.

“It stood at his place for years. At that stage he had not started it for five years and for 25 years, including the time it was owned by others, it had never been driven.

“Uncle Carel’s wife said he would land in hot water if he did not get rid of it,” said Ferreira.

In November last year, Botha allowed Ferreira to listen to the roar of the car’s engine.

Ferreira immediately put down R18 000 and towed the vehicle home.

The car was somewhat corroded by rust and the engine was filled with leaves and sand.

“But it still goes like clockwork. The fans are working; the aerial goes up when you switch the radio on.

“I think it has a personality of its own because I always feel dignified when I get into the car.

“I had the vehicle re-sprayed in black and had the upholstery redone,” said Ferreira.

His wife researched the history of the Nissan President because Botha had given the record of the car’s family tree to the Mozambican embassy.

Botha had swapped his Mercedes for the presidential car from a Portuguese national, Paolo Padreiro.

Padreiro brought the vehicle to South Africa, where it got its old TP number plate, after he had bought it from a government official in Mozambique.

The official “inherited” the vehicle after Machel’s death in 1986.

From 1975 until his death in 1986, Machel was driven around in this official car.

“Joaquim Chissano, at the time prime minister of the Mozambican transitional government in 1974, also used the vehicle,” said Ferreira.

The Nissan President is now looking for a new owner who has enough space. Ferreira currently parks the car under a neighbour’s spare car port.

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