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3 Aug, 2009 07:28

Homemade cars spice up Syrian roads

High import taxes mean buying any car in Syria is an expensive business. This has encouraged inventiveness around the country: not so much to pimp their rides as build them from scratch.

For a modest sum of just $3,000, plus five days labor, Mouhammad's Mechanics will build you a brand new car out of spare parts from all over the world.

“Like every driver, I used my own taste to decorate it how I like,” car owner Aiman Abdurahman says.

While the Halfawiyah cars may seem whimsical and glam, most of them are used for agricultural needs, for example to carry livestock feed.

One wonders what kind of laws mean it’s cheaper to buy a hand-made than a mass produced car, but all over Syria more and more villages have their own custom car shops.

“Farmers love these cars. They have more power and use less petrol. Every family here has one,” car manufacturer Mouhammad says.

However, the popularity of Halfawiyah cars might prove to be their undoing, as locals complain of recent frequent visits by police searching for suspected producers of illegal cars.