The car was the idea of Tony Howarth, an English journalist/photographer who spent most of the 1970's in Africa taking pictures. He did not like the roads, the cars and their inability to manage the roads, or the 1st world's arrogance in sending lousy vehicles and billing the 3rd world countries for the cars and interest, while the cars disintegrated long before the bills were paid.
Africar was designed to handle rough roads, to be constructed of native materials, to be made with low-skill labor and a minimum of imported content. Tony constructed 3 cars, a station wagon, a pickup and a 6-wheeler. They were built in England and driven to the Arctic Circle. From there they headed south and reached the equator in about 4 months. A 5-hour Channel 4 TV special was produced, which raised interest, funds and hopes. A lovely book was printed and many brochures.
There were promises made about global sales, 3rd world manufacturing rights, and so on. But the company squandered their funds on an engine and gearbox and floundered. The last I heard the bankruptcy court sold off all the assets, put Tony Howarth in jail for a short time, and the Africars themselves have disappeared. There was no fraud found, just high hopes mingled with poor management. I lost a good chunk of money but not as much as some did.
Information & photo was submitted by
© and Copy, 1996-1998:Paul Negyesi email@example.com