Engineer John Wathanga who became the first Kenyan to locally stretch a normal car into a limousine recently passed away.
Engineer behind Kenya's first locally made limousine dies
Kenyans have supported the family of Engineer John Wathanga
According to the family, doctors have not been able to identify what killed Wathanga despite appearing healthy in the days leading to his death.
“The doctors tried everything they could to keep him alive. On his passing we had an autopsy conducted and the results were inconclusive and though it was untimely, we have accepted that it was God's will for him to rest,” part of the statement from the family read.
He is survived by his wife Charity, his children Nelly, Lee and Tim Joel, and his grandson Curtis.
The family has asked well-wishers for support to help clear Wathanga’s hospital balance and accord him a decent send-off.
A fundraiser was held at Citam Valley Road on Thursday, to top up online contributions that were about Sh167,000.
How Eng. Wathanga stretched a normal car into a limo
The engineer collaborated with two of his former students at the Nairobi Technical Training Institute Benjamin and John, to turn his Nissan B14 sedan into a limo.
“Our lecturer, who is also an engineer, helped us design the car, after which we worked on it,” said Benjamin in a past interview.
John added: “Initially this was a Nissan B14 with a 1600cc engine, but we cut it into two, stretched it and using galvanized steel, we transformed it into a limousine.”
This innovation paved the way for many more Kenyans to locally assemble limousines and even consider expensive models such as Range Rover and BMW.
The heavy investment in modifying the vehicles shows a niche in Kenya’s VIP transport industry which has been served by high-end luxury cars.
“I was curious about things electronic in my childhood, but I found elegant limos irresistible. I realised that it costs an arm and a leg to import a limo. The lack of an assembly line locally made me venture into this business,” Wathanga said during a past interview with the Standard.
Since then, different car models have been turned into limos including a Toyota Landcruiser VX, Chrysler 300, Range Rover Sport and Isuzu Trooper.
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