27 June 2017

More than an old car #24: Chevrolet Corvette C3

American classics are even more rare than the usual Ferraris and Lamborghinis here, given that GM did not establish a presence in the Asian market. This 1977 Chevrolet Corvette C3 5.7L is a sight to behold even though it is not native to Singapore.

The Corvette C3 is the 3rd generation of Corvette cars made by Chevrolet from 1968-1982. Its name is derived from the smallest class of warships known as a 'corvette'. Designing started in 1964 with the release of the Mako Shark 2 concept, which was ironically leaked by Hot Wheels when they released a toy car model. It was powered by a 5733cc Chevrolet Small-Block 8-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 174km/h with an acceleration of 9.3 seconds (0-100km/h). For the 1977 model, it was 4.7m long and weighed 1605kg.

More than 540,000 C3s were produced, of which almost 50,000 were produced in 1977 alone. However, it is worth noting that all models were left-hand drive. This specimen was imported from Australia, where it underwent a right-hand drive conversion. There are currently 3 C3s in Singapore, one red and one blue in colour. Corvettes have become the icon of Chevrolet and it is heartening to know that there are people who are still passionate about these uncommon classics!

21 June 2017

More than an old car #23: MG YA

This MG YA calls up images of the 1950s as seen in various black-and-white films from that era. Just by looking at it, you may get the feeling of a rich British gentleman calling the shots as he patrols around his estate. It continues to exude its classiness even until today.

The MG Y-Type was thought of back in 1939, but due to the war, production had to be put on hold until 1947. No effort was spared in designing the interior--the seats were all leather and the trim was wooden such as the door window frames. The headlights were also separately mounted even when most cars were integrating the headlights with the front frame. It also had a front 'suicide door', where the door hinge was fitted at the back instead of towards the front. The name came about due to the higher risk of injury when people got in or out of the car. The YA was powered by a 1250cc XPAG 4-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 115km/h with an acceleration of 33.5 seconds. It was 4.09m long and weighed 1034kg.

Production ended in 1953 with 2 generations of Y-Types produced, of which only 6,131 were YAs like the one in the picture. Based on my knowledge, there are probably around 5 examples here. This specimen could have been present here before Singapore became independent, and the owner could have gotten it registered later on. It is quite surprising that it is still running on normal plates given how old the car is, so the owner must be really passionate about his ride. You should be able to spot it easily--its unique shape gives it away!

17 June 2017

More than an old car #22: Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Alfa Romeo cars are instantly recognizable by the triangular-shaped grille with its logo inside it. It is relatively common on our roads--you or your parents may have driven one before. Yet, this 1983 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6 [Tipo 116] is not something you will get to see here often.

Alfa Romeo, an Italian car maker, initially started out surprisingly as a French firm [Società Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID)] in 1906 which was backed by Italian investors. The company came under the direction of entrepreneur Nicola Romeo in 1915 and was subsequently renamed A.L.F.A Romeo--a combination of the original name "Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili" and the last name of Nicola Romeo. It is now owned by the conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles since 2007. 

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta was launched in 1977 and production ended in 1985, with around 380,000 made. The 'Tipo 116' [Type 116] refers to this particular generation as there was a previous model which was called the Giulietta also. This specimen was equipped with a 1570cc Alfa Romeo Twin Cam 4-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 175km/h with an acceleration of 11.3 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was 4.21m long and weighed 1070kg. It may look similar to many cars in the 1980s, but a defining difference was the short car boot length and a small aerodynamic spoiler that was merged in the car body. 

Only 2 currently exist here as far as I know and it seems the owner has preserved it ever since it was bought here, due to the period-correct number plate. These older cars do have a higher chance of breaking down and having this specimen survive until today is an achievement. You can consider it your lucky day if you see this in person!

14 June 2017

More than an old car #21: SS Jaguar 1.5 Litre

Pre-war cars [older than 1939] are very rare in Singapore, given the humidity and the extreme heat all year round. As a result, practically all of such vehicles have been imported here and given a new lease of life under these enthusiasts. They do look somewhat out of place in modern society and this 1938 SS Jaguar/Jaguar Mark IV 1.5 Litre is a prime example of past versus the present.

Many of you would have seen Jaguar Cars, mostly driven by what we call 'rich people'. However, it was initially known as SS Cars Limited, which was founded in 1922 by William Lyons. No one really knows what SS stands for--it could be either 'Swallow Sidecar Company' or 'Standard Swallow'. SS Cars became known as Jaguar Cars in 1945, where it is now part of India-based Tata Motors since 2008.

Production of the SS Jaguar 1.5 Litre began in 1935 and it was the smallest car compared to the larger models such as the 2.5 and 3.5 Litre. The horns are actually somewhat visible under the headlights and the side indicators were welded on the fenders [ie the curved portion over the wheels]. It was powered by a 1776cc Standard 4-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 113km/h. It was also 4.39m long and had a 4-speed manual transmission.

When production ended in 1949, 10,430 were made and this specimen here had been imported here recently. I find it amazing that there are people who are willing to go through all the hassle and paperwork in order to drive an antique piece of history given the COE system here. Here;s to hoping that the owner will keep it running in the years to come!


13 June 2017

More than an old car #20: VW Karmann Ghia

I believe all would have heard of Volkswagen, especially after the emissions scandal. This is a throwback to the times when things were simpler. The VW Karmann Ghia has been noted for its beauty and its timelessness, but do you know that its rather long name is due to a collaboration between 2 coachbuilding [car-body manufacturing] firms?

Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, a German firm, was founded in 1901 while Carrozzeria Ghia SpA was founded in Italy in 1916. They were contracted by Volkswagen in the early 1950s, as VW wanted a 'halo car' [ie a premium model] to its lineup. The Karmann Ghia was first produced in 1955, where the public reactions exceeded expectations. It was marketed as a more luxurious model compared to the Beetle, as it was more expensive and time-consuming to make the car body by hand.

The Karmann Ghia was equipped with a 1584cc 6-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 138km/h with an acceleration of 21.3 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was 4.14m long and weighed 870kg. When production ended in 1974, more than 440,000 were produced, out of which only around 80,000 were cabriolets like the one in the picture. As with other VW cars at that time, the engine was located at the back of the car [rear-engined]. Throughout its production period, it underwent some modifications such as the tail-light size and the bumpers. This specimen is a 1970 model, as the tail-lights have gotten bigger but the bumper had not been changed yet.

To the best of my knowledge, there are around 5 here in Singapore, making this a rare car in its own right. You can see the exquisite design of its curves and how unique it would have been back in the 1950s. Hopefully, you will get the chance to see this gem for yourself one day!

12 June 2017

More than an old car #19: Volvo 240 GLT

Say the words 'safest car' and chances are you might mention Volvo. Volvo has a large presence here, from the everyday models to police cars, and even the PMO's motorcade. Yet, did you know that some of its cars were made right here back in 1979? Local production ended very quickly in 1980 but 500 cars had been produced. The Volvo 240 GLT was one of them.

Volvo was founded in 1927 as a subsidiary of SKF, a Swedish ball-bearings manufacturer. Its name, which is Latin for 'I roll', was supposed to be for a certain type of ball bearing but was later patented for cars. Volvo was first bought over by Ford in 1999, and was later sold to China car manufacturer Geely in 2009. Volvo has always prioritised their reliability and solidity, and it was no surprise when they introduced safety measures which we take for granted: the three-point seat-belt, laminated glass and crumple zones are examples. As a result, it has won people over worldwide.

The 200 Series [of which the 240 GLT was part of] was introduced in 1974 in a number of variations. Initially, the naming was based on the number of doors and the trim level but this was changed in 1983 where all cars were simply called the 240. The 'GLT' in this case stands for "Grand Luxe Touring", which is basically a sporty premium version compared to the basic model. It was equipped with a 2664cc PRV 6-cylinder engine [a collaboration between Peugeot, Renault and Volvo]-- the maximum top speed was 150km/h and its acceleration was 17.5 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was 4.9m long and weighed 1370kg.

When production ended in 1993, more than 2.8 million had been made and it remains popular with enthusiasts and common folk alike. However, it is difficult to find one here despite how numerous it was, no thanks to the COE system. I have only seen a gold-coloured model even though I believe there are more. What attracted me was its boxy shape and how dated it looks, but hopefully the old-school charm can still work its magic on you!

11 June 2017

More than an old car #18: Morris Minor

You don't really hear of cars having nicknames, unless they are really endearing/well-known to people. Such is the case with the Morris Minor, affectionately called the 'Moggy'/'Morrie'.

Morris Motors started out as WRM Motors Limited, founded by bicycle manufacturer William Morris in 1912. It later merged with Austin Motors to form the British Motor Corporation in 1952, which is now part of China car manufacturer SAIC after a series of mergers and acquisitions. The Morris brand name lasted until 1984 with the production of the Morris Ital.

The idea of the Morris Minor was conceived in 1941 by Alec Issigonis, a junior engineer at the company. He envisioned a car that the average man would want, which was also spacious and easy to drive. Interestingly, it was called the Mosquito during the planning stages but was later changed to Minor, in reference to the 1928 Morris Minor. Over its production run from 1948-1971, more than 1.3 million were made of varying types and it became a representation of 'Englishness'.

The first generation [Minor MM] was produced from 1948-1953 with more than 250,000 made, and was powered by a 918cc 4-cylinder engine. It could reach a top speed of 100km/h, but acceleration was very slow at 40.8 seconds. It was 3.76m long and weighed 762kg.
The Minor 1000, which was made between 1956-1971 had certain differences as seen in the pictures: the split windscreen had been replaced with a single one, the traffic indicators had changed orientation and the grille design was also different. It was powered by a 948cc BMC A-Series 4-cylinder engine, which allowed it to reach a top speed of 117km/h with an acceleration of 33.4 seconds [0-100km/h]. 847,491 were produced during its lifetime. Both models had a 4-speed manual transmission also; the 1st picture is a 1951 model while the 2nd picture is a 1959 model.

In Singapore, it was used as learner cars for driving lessons back in the 1970s--your parents might have passed their driving test in one! Although they may not be as common, they are still recognizable as quite a number of classic car owners still own them. Some of them still have normal plates, which shows the dedication of their owners to keep it on the roads. I am aware that this is also a popular choice for a wedding car-- hopefully you will appreciate the beauty of these gentlemen and allow it to be a part of your special day!

10 June 2017

More than an old car #17: Citroen DS

The French are well-known for being graceful and this is certainly true of this 1971 Citroen DS D20 Super. The DS has become a beloved French icon and it has many followers worldwide: Pope John XIII, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, actress Rosamund Pike [Gone Girl] to even the late president Charles de Gaulle, who survived an assassination attempt in it in 1962. It was also popular with taxi drivers as it was spacious, and it has appeared in more than 2000 film and TV shows such as Back to the Future 2 and The Mentalist.

The DS name comes from Déesse [French for 'goddess'] and it was the replacement for the popular Traction Avant, first produced in 1934. When it was first released in 1955, France was still recovering from the effects of World War 2 and this was seen as a symbol of ingenuity. There were many rave reviews about the car: people fell in love with its futuristic styling all the way to the superior hydraulics system. Citroen received 80,000 orders during the first 10 days, which remains a record. 
When production stopped in 1975, more than 1.4 million had been made.

The success of the DS cemented Citroen's status as an automotive innovator. An example was the hydraulic suspension system, which enabled the car to have a constant 'ride height' even over uneven terrain--many people have described riding in the DS as a 'magic carpet ride'. It was initially offered with the hydralique/Citromatic semi-automatic transmission [a combination of the manual transmission when changing gears, and the automated process of gear switching]. Later, a four and five-speed manual transmission was introduced along with a 3-speed automatic transmission. The DS D20 in the picture was powered by a 1985cc six-cylinder engine, enabling it to reach a top speed of 169 km/h and an acceleration of 14.2 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It is a large executive car: it was 4.87 m long and weighed 1300 kg.

The specimen here is currently the only one registered in Singapore and according to a blog I read, the owner had bought it in 1999 when it appeared on an advertisement. It still had its original number plate at that time, and the fact that it is not red-and yellow suggests the effort by him to keep it on our roads. I had no idea that one of the 'most beautiful cars of all time' actually existed here and I hope the owner continues to maintain it for future generations to see! 

9 June 2017

More than a old car #16: Holden FB Special

It is apparent that what you are seeing is an old car, but how old is it? Were you able to identify the car brand immediately? Like you, I was unable to identify what this could be as there were no badges or visible identification such as the grille shape. It was only after some research that I managed to identify this as a 1961 Holden FB Special.

Holden is an Australian car manufacturer which was founded by James Alexander Holden in 1856. It started out business making horse saddles before moving on to cars in 1919. It was bought over by US-based General Motors in 1931 and recently, it was announced that Holden will stop producing vehicles in Australia this year. Holden was present here since 1956 but with the shift towards small economical cars, it left the Singapore market in the late 90s. It was only recently that Holden made a return here, albeit as Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).

The Holden FB was a replacement of the Holden FC and it was produced only for 1 year, between 1960-1961. It was available in different forms: a 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe, a 5-door station wagon and a panel van. The 'Special' version had a white roof and different-coloured body along with a stainless steel trim as seen in the picture. It was popular with farmers due to its ruggedness. It was powered by a 2262 cc 6-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 130 km/h. However, its acceleration was very slow at 20.4 seconds [0-97 km/h]. The FB Special was 4610 mm long and weighed 1131 kg.

During its limited production run, 174,747 were made and this specimen was imported over from Indonesia in 2013. It is well-loved by Indonesians and this came with country-specific specifications, such as a white roof and metric instrumentation. I do not know whether it is back on the road after its repairs, but this is so uniquely 60s such that you could spot it a mile away. It still has not lost its old-school charm and I hope the owner continues to maintain this gem.

More than an old car #15: Lancia Montecarlo

Throughout my years of documenting old cars in Singapore, it is a treat to spot vehicles that I didn't know existed here, either because it is not native to the Asian market or that it has been kept from the outside world for so long. I was therefore surprised to see this 1981 Lancia Montecarlo lurking in a random corner!

Lancia is an Italian car manufacturer which was founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia as "Lancia & C. Fabbrica Automobili". Lancia is renowned for pioneering many automobile innovations, such as the 5-speed gearbox and the V6 [6-cylinder] engine. Previously, it also made trucks and buses but it stopped doing so in 1970. It was bought over by Fiat in 1969 and it is currently known as Lancia Automobiles S.p A since 2007.

The design for the Montecarlo was drawn up in 1971 by Pininfarina, a famous car design company. Production began in 1975 and ended in 1982. There were 2 different generations of cars, as Lancia halted production in 1979 so that it could work out certain issues. It was powered by the Lampredi I4 engine [4-cylinder engine], allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 195 km/h with an acceleration of 9.3 seconds [0-100km/h]. The Series 2 was 3.81 m long and weighed 1040 kg.

However, the Montecarlo was plagued with problems such as a noisy engine and a propensity to rust. The first series models also had problems with braking, especially in wet conditions, leading to the hiatus as mentioned earlier. Only about 7800 were built and many were beyond repair due to the rust. To the best of my knowledge, Lancia still does not have a presence in Singapore and this specimen is most likely imported. Yet, I hope to see this someday on our roads!

7 June 2017

More than an old car #14: MG Midget

Seeing old cars on our streets is rare, even more so cars that would clearly fail vehicle inspections. This 1962 MG Midget Mk1 here is incongruous with the spanking new cars beside it-- you may dismiss it as a mere piece of junk, but it has certainly seen much over the years.

The MG Car Company Limited first started out as Morris Garages, founded by W.R.Morris in 1920. It is not known when MG was formed exactly, but its octagonal logo was patented in 1924 and this has been the basis for its various anniversaries. MG underwent a series of mergers and acquisitions, from British Motor Corporation in 1952 to being acquired by China-based SAIC in 2007, where it is now known as MG Motor.

The MG Midget was first announced in 1961 as an alternative to the then-popular Austin-Healy Sprite. Production ceased in 1980 with 4 different generations produced. The Mk1 was powered by a BMC A-Series 4-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a maximum top speed of 138 km/h with an acceleration of 18.3 seconds [0-97km/h]. It weighed 735 kg and was 3.46 m long. Strangely, it had no external door handles or locks.

Only about 25,600 were made but I am aware that there are quite a few of them here. What struck me most about this specimen here is how neglected it looks--peeling paint and the slanted number plate. The yellow has already faded, so it must have been exposed to the elements for quite some time. However, at least the last user had the mind to cover the car cabin. It hurts my heart to see it in such a pathetic state and I really hope it can be restored to its former glory.

6 June 2017

More than an old car #13: Mercedes L-Series truck

I believe many of you have come across these type of trucks in Malaysia, whether it is carrying timber along Genting Highlands or transporting produce. You may also notice how noisy and polluting they can be, when you hear the loud braap sound and see black smoke spewing out from the overhead exhaust. However, these 'generic' road-runners have a name-- the Mercedes-Benz L-series truck.

It is also known as the 'short-bonnet' truck or Kurzhauber in German, as the engine intruded into to cabin under the windshield in order to fulfill German regulations at that time. First introduced in 1959, production was surprisingly long as it ended in 1995. During its existence, it was exported all over the world, thereby contributing to its longevity. Iran is still producing them even until today!

The L-series had many variants and was classified based on its weight and the engine horsepower. It was powered by the Mercedes OM352 5675 cc inline-6 engine [6-cylinder engine]. The one in the picture is believed to be a 1980s L911 model, where '9' means 9 tons and '11' means 1100 horsepower. A distinguishing factor which I noticed between the newer and older trucks is the absence of a line dividing the centre grille. Note that the truck in the picture only has a flimsy piece of wood/metal as a door--this gives a whole new meaning to open-air driving!

Mercedes engineered these trucks such that it became rugged, being capable of handling harsh terrain and even carrying up to 3 times its maximum weight. It proved to be very popular in the Middle East during the oil exploration period, as most roads back then were not paved. Speed was not the crucial factor, so it only had a top speed of 90 km/h.

Singapore did have these trucks back in the 1980s based on pictures, but it has become extinct due to regulations. All is not lost as you can still see them across the Causeway, but do remember that they are living pieces of history!

More than an old car #12: Suzuki Cappuccino


Say the name 'cappuccino' and you will immediately think of Starbucks or basically any up-market cafe. However, this Suzuki Cappuccino SX306 is not a drink by Suzuki Coffee Company, but rather a cute little car that is an absolute head-turner.

The idea for the Cappuccino came about in 1987, when Suzuki wanted to create a sporting image. It was initially released for the Japanese market only in 1991 as it fulfilled the 'kei car' requirement: length less than 3.3m and width less than 1.4m. The SX306 refers to its designation number. It was only later on that Suzuki decided to export it to Europe and also Hong Kong, and production ended in 1997.

The Cappuccino was powered by an I3 engine [engine with 3 cylinders], allowing it to reach a top speed of 150 km/h, with an acceleration of 9 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was only 3.29 m long and weighed 679 kg, and it had either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 3-speed automatic transmission. The hard-top roof could be removed, thus it could either be a normal coupe or a convertible.

The Cappuccino proved to be a modern classic as it attracted the attention of many enthusiasts. It also featured in the manga 'Initial D' along with the eponymous anime. Only 28,010 were made and if I am not wrong, there are only 2/3 present in Singapore. You would have better luck looking for a Ferrari compared to this, but hopefully you will get to see one!

5 June 2017

More than an old car #11: Proton Saga

This is a familiar sight for those who travel up north, but seeing one here is surprisingly not as easy as you think, especially with one that is registered here. Let me introduce the Malaysia, Truly Asia car: the Proton Saga Iswara.

Proton [short form for Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional] is a Malaysian car manufactured established in 1983 by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the then-Prime Minister of Malaysia. He thought of the idea of a national car and in 1984, Proton approached Mitsubishi Motors in a joint venture to produce the first car, called the Proton Saga. People usually associate the Saga name to that of the saga plant, which is common in Malaysia but it is actually an acronym for Safety, Achievement, Greatness, Ability! I'm pretty sure you didn't know that the Saga was a short form too...

The Iswara was the 2nd generation of the Saga, and it took its name from the great Helen butterfly [Papilio iswara] of Sarawak. It was equipped with an Mitsubishi 4G15 I4 engine [engine with 4 cylinders], which allowed it to reach a maximum top speed of 166 km/h, with an acceleration of 13.8 seconds from 0-100 km/h. Most Proton cars that I have seen have a 5-speed manual transmission but a 3-speed automatic transmission was also available. It weighed 950 kg and was 4.28 m long. Notice that the car at the top has this wavy line design, which is very common for Malaysian-registered cars but not elsewhere.

The Singapore-registered Proton in the 2nd picture is the 1st generation and the specifications are the same, except that it was heavier at 980 kg. You can see the difference in headlight size for the 1st and 2nd gen models. Its grille has been modified and I admit it is confused easily with the 1980s Mitsubishi Lancer. Only around 4,000 were imported here, making this unlikely fellow the last of a dying breed.

You may be surprised that Proton does sell its cars to many countries such as the UK, Bangladesh, Australia and even Jamaica. I had the misconception that Proton only sold its vehicles in the Asia region and I never expected it to have such a wide reach. The Proton Saga featured prominently in a Mr Bean episode and many taxis in Malaysia are still using Proton Sagas. It has become so famous that it is a national symbol of Malaysia.

This is a vehicle that will reach classic status soon given how hard it is to find the older generation types here. I have though many times whether we are able to produce our national car, but this remains to be seen...

More than an old car #10: Toyota Corolla E30

Many of you would be familiar with the Toyota Corolla--perhaps you drive one or have taken an Uber/Grab in one. They come in many variants such as the modern Axio and the Altis. However, this specimen here is a 1977 Toyota Corolla E30, 1 of 5 that are left on our roads. This conjures up images of cassette tapes, black-and-white TVs and rock-n-roll music, doesn't it?

The E30 series was the 3rd generation of cars sold by Toyota under the Corolla nameplate. It turned out to be one of the longest-lived one as it was a reliable economy car, especially after the oil crisis back in 1973. It came in many forms: a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan and a 5-door wagon.

It is equipped with a 1166cc i4 engine [engine with 4 cylinders] and a trusty 5 speed manual, even though it was available with an automatic transmission. It could reach a top speed of 140 km/h, with an acceleration of 17.3 seconds from 0-100 km/h. This E30 is 4 m long and weighed close to 900 kg. The lime green paint adds zest to an otherwise old-fashioned vehicle and its boxy shape stands out easily from the usual shapeless road beings. Notice that it does not have the usual oval logo that we are used to--instead it has a broken narrow oval with 3 flowers on top.

It may not be as unique as other cars on this site, but considering the COE system here, seeing this is more rare than spotting supercars on the road! This has been repainted recently as the original colour was a drab-looking brown. There has been much dedication by the owner to keep this econo-box running, even by registering as a 'classic vehicle' and I hope he/she continues to do it for the next few years.

2 June 2017

More than an old car #9: Austin A40

Many would not be aware of the existence of the Austin brand, except for a few sharp-eyed ones who can associate it with the Mini. However, I believe most of you are seeing the Austin A40 Farina Mk2 for the first time.

The Austin Motor Company was founded by Herbert Austin in 1905 and it merged with Morris Motors Limited in 1952, forming the British Motor Corporation. The Austin brand lasted until 1987 and currently it is part of SAIC, the Chinese car company after it was bought over in a series of acquisitions.

The A40 Farina was first introduced in 1958 and the "Farina" suffix was used to distinguish it from other models which were called the A40 also. It was an early example of what became known as a hatchback--it was a two-seater car with a large amount of baggage space. It was equipped with an I4 engine [engine with 4 cylinders], allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 121 km/h and an acceleration of 17.4 seconds from 0-80km/h. Two versions of the Farina were produced and they can be distinguished by the different front grille pattern. It was 3.68 m long and weighed about 800 kg, making it quite economical.

Only 172,550 Mk2 A40s were made, making this gentleman part of a dying breed. It seems that this specimen here was already present during Singapore's early days due to the influence of British colonial rule. I am aware of 5 that are still here. Who knows, you could be the lucky one to see such a unique relic!