Fantastic Glimpses and Insights from the 1964 East African Safari Rally

Introduced by MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher/Editor  SimergphotosBarakah and Simerg

The football matches between great rival teams in East Africa such as Young Africans and Sunderland of Tanzania and Luo (later Gor Mahia) and Nakuru of Kenya caused a great deal of excitement among football fans, but no sporting event could match the mass appeal and interest of the gruelling 3,000 mile East African Safari rally that was held over 4 days during Easter. Weeks before the event, we would wonder how many cars would be entering the race, how many drivers would come from overseas, and the makes of the cars. Once the rally began in Nairobi, tens of thousands people from all walks of life in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania would throng the streets to see the arrival of the rally cars in their villages and towns. We would be listening to the radio for updates, and waiting to read the morning papers. We are pleased to bring to our readers a selection of photos of the 1964 rally from the collections of The Henry Ford. While the focus is on Ford cars — and specifically the Comet — readers will get an appreciation of the preparations that went into making each car “safari ready” to withstand all that the East African roads and weather would throw at the drivers and their cars to push them into early exit from the rally. Please click HERE or on the photo below to read the story.

Comet Caliente East African Safari American entry; simerg and simergphotos malik merchant
This beautiful Comet Caliente was one of a team of special Ford Comets which was the first American entry in the gruelling 1964 East African Safari rally. The two-door fastback model was equipped with numerous safety features including roll bars, extra lights, engine skid plates and tow bolts. Photo Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Please click on photo to read more.

Date posted: April 15, 2022.


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2 thoughts on “Fantastic Glimpses and Insights from the 1964 East African Safari Rally

  1. Your essay has focused on Ismaili drivers from Tanzania.
    There were also formidable Ismaili drivers in Kenya and Uganda, too.

    • I would welcome a piece from you on Ismaili drivers from all countries in East Africa. The focus was on the 1964 rally actually based on photos and material that I got from the Henry Ford Collection, and the Tanzanian Ismaili drivers were just an add on to the piece based on my memory recollections when I was a young boy.

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