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70 years after it was purchased by his mother, by J.M Harris tell us the story of this 1952 Right hand drive barndoor which might be the first ever imported in Kenya !
A story by J.M Harris…
" I believe my mother bought one of the first Kombis to arrive in Kenya. This vehicle was on show, as a delivery van, in August, or it could possibly be September, 1953 at the then Royal Agriculural Show.
The Kombi was driven to Nairobi by Mr J.C. Button for the agents, Cooper Motor Corporation, to have it on show in time.
It was imported as a delivery van to avoid extra duty on importation even though the seat mountings were in place on the floor. It was at this show that it was purchased and registered as KBM 593, a registration I can still remember over 70 years later !
The fact it was a delivery van suited my mother as she and my father were in the process of building a new home on the western rim of Menengai crater just in north-west of the town of Nakuru some 100 miles from Nairobi and was used to cart building materials and, eventually, all the household goods on their final move.
Stopping for the night on the Nairobi-Mombasa road, 1957
After the final move it was used just as a vehicle to go shopping and out to a dairy to collect the weekly milk and cream run. It has a hard time maintenance wise and as it only had a paper element type air filter the abrasive volcanic ash from the crater wreaked havoc with the moving parts of the engine.
Eventually it ended up bu having to have all four cylinders, pistons and associated parts replaced. I bought and fitted the later oil bath type air filter and it soldiered on for many years.
It was eventually sold on sometime in the early 1960s to a bakery and was used for carting bread around Nairobi. I saw it occasionnaly while either going to work or going home still chuffing its way around and still carrying its original registration.
My wife and I eventually left Kenya in February 1964 to move to Perth and I still wonder if the old Kombi is still going or what happened to it…"
Nairobi-Mombasa_road, Kibwezi, 160km from Nairobi, 1957
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