Writer: Morris Averill.
Classic cars are rarely sighted on the streets of Yangon; you know them when you see them; American designs with sleek body lines, tailfins to give a space age look and an extensive use of chrome. Cars with historical interest to be collectable and restored rather than being scrapped, such as European and English designs of sports coupes and saloons that evolved from soft rounded curves in the 1950s to straight lines and sharp corners in the 1960s.
Rarer still are vintage cars – the cars with running boards or external fenders over the wheels – built from 1920 to 1945. There are 2 Merryweather fire engines from 1920 on display at the Fire Service Research and Fire Safety Education Center at 275 Pyay Road, Sanchaung Township. One hundred metres away in Chan Thar Street is Htoo Auto Service, which is the garage of choice for owners of classic cars for restoration and maintenance, as well as customisation of cars, old or new.
Parked near the garage in 2019 were a 1950s Morris Oxford Series MO Saloon, a 1970s Ford Mustang II and a 1990s Porsche 993. While inside the garage was a 1960s Ford Torino GT with the engine being worked on.
The Myanmar Classic Cars Club holds exhibition days. At the December 2019 display at The Secretariat in Yangon, German design was represented by a 1952 Volkswagen T1, Volkswagen Beetle and a 1960 Mercedes Benz 2202. American design included a 1963 Chevrolet Impala and a 1951 Dodge M37, a military vehicle.
The cars on the streets of Yangon an indistinguishable mixture of designs of the last 20 years. You can chance upon more exotic gems, a 1960s Mercedes Benz 220 that is on display in the customer reception area of a business in Bagaya Street, Sanchaung or the shell of a 1950s Skoda on blocks in an industrial area of North Dagon – providing shelter for chickens.