New Middle East Commercial Vehicles Showcase has a taste of history

Classic models from UAE’s past share stage with latest arrivals as Commercial Vehicles Middle East launches in Dubai

Dubai, UAE, XX March 2010: Classic commercial vehicles dating back to the early days of transport in the UAE will share the limelight with the latest models being launched in the Middle East market in Dubai this week.

Among them is a 1942 Dodge Power Wagon which was saved from the scrap yard after being left abandoned when a garage business shut down in Sharjah.

Restored and put on display at Sharjah Old Cars Club and Museum, it will be part of a special historic attraction at Commercial Vehicles Middle East, the new three-day trade exhibition and conference getting under way at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday.

The region's only specialised event for commercial vehicles, parts and services largely focuses on the future for an industry aiming for significant growth as the market recovers from the effects of the global economic crisis.

But the show will also have a historic element thanks to the museum which was opened two years ago this month by H.H. Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

Also sharing the exhibition stage with the latest range of vans, trucks and buses from major manufacturers such as Renault, Nissan, Hino and Foton will be a 1938 Dodge fire engine, a 1948 Chevrolet delivery vehicle and a 1954 Cadillac ambulance.

They are among more than 100 classic vehicles dating back as far as 1917 permanently on display at the Sharjah museum, many of which, like the 68-year-old Dodge Power Wagon, have interesting stories to tell.

Eng. Ahmed Mohammed Al Jarwan, Board Director at the museum, came across the vehicle as it was about to be scrapped by Sharjah Municipality after being left abandoned when the garage holding it for the owner went out of business.

"The man had been away for two years and when he returned he found the garage had closed down," he said. "When I found it, it was worth about AED2,000 as scrap. We restored it and now it's worth AED150,000."

He now expects the owner to reclaim the vehicle, which is one of an estimated 8,000 classic vehicles in the UAE. The Sharjah club, which has more than 800 members, will use the Commercial Vehicles Middle East exhibition to showcase documents and other records tracing the history of the motor industry in the UAE.

This includes a 13th October, 1947 letter from the then Rulers of Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Al Kalbah nominating a local agent to represent the Ford Motor Company.

The museum was invited to display vehicles at the exhibition by show organisers Streamline Marketing Group at the suggestion of Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the official representative in the Emirates of FIVA, the international body for classic vehicles.

Sulayem, who has given the event the full support of the ATCUAE, says he expects the new trade show ( to help deliver more major growth for the commercial vehicles industry in the region and give it a focal point in the UAE.

"The business, like the motor industry as a whole, has had a very tough time but there are positive signs of recovery," he said. Arabian Automobiles, the UAE dealer for Nissan, who will have a strong presence at the exhibition, are predicting growth of 5-10% for the commercial vehicles industry in the Middle East in 2010.

Sulayem will speak during the official opening ceremony for Commercial Vehicles Middle East in the new Sheikh Saeed Halls at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday morning.




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