Building cars from scrap in Katutura

Jason Kuutondokwa from Greenwell Matongo in the heart of Katutura has caught the attention of Top Revs, where he is building cars from scrap.

‘Chichi’, as Kuutondokwa is affectionately known, says his love for 70s cars started when he was a child.

He owns four cars from this era, he says.

He loves their shape, but does not appreciate their interior, and therefore revamps the vehicles on the inside, he says.

Chichi and his team operate in a workshop which can hardly be called such, as there are no working benches, proper lights, essential tools or a cement floor.

But this does not deter the team from doing their job with passion.

Each vehicle has a story to tell, Chichi says.

The two cars on his current project list is his 1973 Chevrolet Constantia and a 1972 Valiant station wagon.

His Ford Cortina and Jaguar, both fitted with V8 engines, are frequently seen in Windhoek’s streets, he says.

The Constantia used to be seen as a ‘rich man’s car’.

These cars were issued with massive engines, like 4,1l strait-six and 5l V8 engines, and were fitted with an automatic gearbox.

According to some websites, they were also fitted with a three-speed auto gearbox.

One can only imagine the vehicle’s fuel consumption, since the 5,0L V8 engines of yesteryear was not as technologically advanced as cars today.

Vehicles fitted with a one-litre engine and a six-speed auto gearbox today deliver more performance than those massive beasts back then.

Chichi, who owns a body repair shop, says he has big plans for both cars, and the Chev is already fitted with a 6l Chev Lumina engine to give it extra power.

“I want to fit more modern accessories and parts, like ABS disc brakes for safety and better braking power, power steering and other gadgets that were unknown back then,” he says.

Chichi says he and his team do auto-electrical work and upholstery themselves.

The Valiant was parked at Okahandja for several years, he says, and like most old cars were not protected against the elements.

Chichi has already fitted the vehicle with another V8 engine.

He says this one will give him many sleepless nights before it will be in a roadworthy condition.

But his passion will prevail, Chichi says.

He has had offers from collectors to buy some of his cars, he says.

“But the problem is they do not have enough money,” he says.

Chichi says it is about more than just buying a car.

He says it is difficult to obtain spares like windscreens, head and tail lights or even side windows.

His green 1974 Ford Cortina is a well-known sight on Namibian roads, and when he drives around Oshakati, people “go crazy” when he revs the V8 engine, he says.

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