Yangon, Myanmar — A group of classic car enthusiasts have embarked on a two-week road trip around Myanmar in an event organizers hope will help to save aging automobiles in the country from the scrapheap.
A total of twenty cars took off from Yangon, including marques such as Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Chevrolet, on the 1,429 kilometer trip that will take them to Inle Lake, Bagan, and Ngapali Beach, according to an AFP report.
Nine of them are owned by foreigners and were shipped over for the event, which follows the dramatic changes occurring in the former rogue state ruled by a junta for decades.
“I have watched what the country has achieved over the last 30 months and it’s astonishing,” said Richard, the British driver of a 1956 Mercedes-Benz.
Classic European models and ageing Japanese sedans have been in Myanmar for decades, but as the country opens up after so long in isolation, many have been sent to the junkyard.
“It’s very sad to lose these old cars,” said Zaw Phyo Linn of the Myanmar Classic Cars Club who is participating in the road trip.
“Our intention to hold the event is to let people know that these cars are valued and encourage them not to destroy them.”
When the junta ruled, imported cars were a luxury for those in power.
But the new reformist government has allowed owners of ageing vehicles to trade them in for hard-to-get permits to purchase imported used cars. Image/Reuters/themalaymailonline.com