WATCH | This Nigerian mechanic converts 'junk' into classic cars

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Classic cars
Classic cars

 • In the bustling metropolis of Lagos, Afram Dozie meticulously works on refurbishing old cars into classics.

 • The backyard mechanic has a penchant for sourcing BMWs and Volkswagens. 

 • Dozie's cars are used in films and music videos as props in Nollywood productions. 


There's a lot to be said about workmanship and having an eye for detail.

In the age of mass production, where the manufacturing process is largely done by robots rather than humans, those qualities are what makes people engage in a product or even be prepared to spend a little bit extra. 

Modern cars are largely manufactured in massive plants across the world. South Africa has a thriving motor industry that exports cars across the world from plants in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. 

While carmakers employ thousands of workers to assemble new cars, there is a large amount of work contributed by machines. The benefits are no-brainers: it's more cost-effective, less errors and production time is faster.

On the opposite end of major production facilities across the world, there are men and women who see cars in their old, dilapidated state as a blank canvas. 

In the largest city in Sub-Saharan Africa, Lagos is home to 14-million people. One of those individuals is Afram Dozie, a mechanic who restores unwanted old cars in Lagos.

The mechanic certainly has a creative side and this comes to the fore through his love for cars. Dozie's creations include 20 restorations from BMW E30 models to a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle. 

"It's all about vintage, and refurbishing is what we do. Once we are done with this we think of the next project," Dozie says.

He uses all his creative skills to create new custom classics that are better-looking than the original models. Dozie says it's difficult to source rundown classic cars as most of them are in inaccessible villages, hundreds of kilometres from Lagos. 

Dozie uses 'foot soldiers' across the country to assist him in sourcing vehicles to work on. He has young people who help him, and also trains in the process from Ghana, Benin, and Togo at his company called SoBlaze. 

The company has assisted Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, by renting his restorations to producers to use as props for films and also music videos. Dozie is able to turn a decent profit after renting it out several times. 

For locals interested in buying a refurbished model, the finished product sells for an estimated value of around R65 000. 

"It's my passion and I derive joy in seeing it well-refurbished as mine. It's an advert for the brand, SoBlaze," Dozie concludes.

My love for classic cars has grown over the years and watching the work that Dozie does reignited the love and passion that goes into rebuilding classics. 

Cars are not only pieces of metal. They are extensions of ourselves and allow us to feel part of a community of like-minded people. 

There's no doubt that Dozie's creations allowed him to make new friends and lasting memories when he restored a beaten up E30 BMW or an old Beetle. 

But what makes it special is the shared connection of turning something that was found on a scrap heap into a beautiful machine with its own character. 

At the end of the day, we all crave connection. For many, they find it in cars. 

It's stories like these that inspire me to be positive about our continent and to be reminded that there's no such thing as junk. 

Dozie might not have the best tools in the world to restore cars, but he doesn't let that deter him from a passion for cars and art. Because that's what these masterpieces are, they're art.

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