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AP PHOTOS: Egypt collector saves hundreds of classic cars

Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan drives a 1948 Chrysler in Obour city, near Cairo, Egypt, March 1, 2022. In more than 20 years, the 52 years-old busi...
Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan is reflected on the mirror of a 1924 Ford T at a public show in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 19, 2022. The car once...
Classic cars enthusiast Carine Sherif poses in front of a 1924 Ford T owned by Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan during a classic car show in Cairo, E...
Five-year-old Samar sits for a photo in a 1924 Ford T owned by Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan during a classic car show in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, ...
Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan talks to people about his 1924 Ford T at a public show in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 19, 2022. The car once belon...
Mechanics select cars for restoration at a lot in El Saff just outside Cairo, Friday, April 8, 2022. Egyptian businessman and a classic car collector ...
Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan sits in how 1924 Ford T at a public show in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 19, 2022. The car once belonged to Egypt's...
A mechanic wipes a 1924 Ford T in Obour, near Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. The car once belonged to Egypt's King Farouk's and is a part of ov...
Mechanics check a German made Opel Olympia, model 1952, in El Saff city just outside Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 8, 2022. Egyptian businessman and a c...
Abd Allah Ragab works on a 1966 Mercedes at a private collector's lot in El Saff city in the Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt. Friday, April 8, 2022. E...
A mechanic replaces a sing on a 1976 Mercedes at a private collector's lot in El Saff city in the Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt. Friday, April 8, 20...
Mechanics work on a 1976 Mercedes at a private car collector's lot in El Saff city in the Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt. Friday, April 8, 2022. Egyp...
Mechanics work on a 1976 Mercedes at a private car collector's lot in El Saff city in the Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt. Friday, April 8, 2022. Egyp...
Workers clean a1963 Volkswagen Beetle at a private collector's garage in Obour city, near Cairo, Egypt, March 1, 2022. In more than 20 years, the 52 y...
Automobile enthusiasts pose for a picture during a classic car show in Cairo, Egypt, March 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Automobile enthusiasts pose for a picture during a classic car show in Cairo, Egypt, March 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Automobile enthusiasts visit a classic car show in Cairo, Egypt, March 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan drives ha 1948 Chrysler in Obour city, near Cairo, Egypt, March 1, 2022. In more than 20 years, the 52 years-old bus...

Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan drives a 1948 Chrysler in Obour city, near Cairo, Egypt, March 1, 2022. In more than 20 years, the 52 years-old busi...

Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan is reflected on the mirror of a 1924 Ford T at a public show in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 19, 2022. The car once...

Classic cars enthusiast Carine Sherif poses in front of a 1924 Ford T owned by Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan during a classic car show in Cairo, E...

Five-year-old Samar sits for a photo in a 1924 Ford T owned by Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan during a classic car show in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, ...

Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan talks to people about his 1924 Ford T at a public show in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 19, 2022. The car once belon...

Mechanics select cars for restoration at a lot in El Saff just outside Cairo, Friday, April 8, 2022. Egyptian businessman and a classic car collector ...

Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan sits in how 1924 Ford T at a public show in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 19, 2022. The car once belonged to Egypt's...

A mechanic wipes a 1924 Ford T in Obour, near Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. The car once belonged to Egypt's King Farouk's and is a part of ov...

Mechanics check a German made Opel Olympia, model 1952, in El Saff city just outside Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 8, 2022. Egyptian businessman and a c...

Abd Allah Ragab works on a 1966 Mercedes at a private collector's lot in El Saff city in the Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt. Friday, April 8, 2022. E...

A mechanic replaces a sing on a 1976 Mercedes at a private collector's lot in El Saff city in the Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt. Friday, April 8, 20...

Mechanics work on a 1976 Mercedes at a private car collector's lot in El Saff city in the Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt. Friday, April 8, 2022. Egyp...

Mechanics work on a 1976 Mercedes at a private car collector's lot in El Saff city in the Giza, just outside Cairo, Egypt. Friday, April 8, 2022. Egyp...

Workers clean a1963 Volkswagen Beetle at a private collector's garage in Obour city, near Cairo, Egypt, March 1, 2022. In more than 20 years, the 52 y...

Automobile enthusiasts pose for a picture during a classic car show in Cairo, Egypt, March 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Automobile enthusiasts pose for a picture during a classic car show in Cairo, Egypt, March 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Automobile enthusiasts visit a classic car show in Cairo, Egypt, March 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Egyptian collector Mohamed Wahdan drives ha 1948 Chrysler in Obour city, near Cairo, Egypt, March 1, 2022. In more than 20 years, the 52 years-old bus...

CAIRO (AP) — The past frequently collides with the present in Cairo, with traffic snarling next to ancient sites.

Cars in the city can take a beating — between soaring temperatures, insidious desert dust and the crowded streets. Classic models are not uncommon, but they often languish in dusty alleys or garages. One man, however, has decided to try to preserve a slice of Egypt’s four-wheeled history.

Car collector Mohamed Wahdan says he has accumulated more than 250 vintage, antique and classic cars. Most of them he discovered inside the country.

A fleet of this size would rank him among the world’s top classic car collectors. Experts typically classify vehicles as vintage, antique or classic depending on their year of production.

The 52-year-old Wahdan runs a tourist company taking visitors to Egypt's famous landmarks. But he’s devoted to his hobby. He owns several different garages to keep all of them, and employs a full time team of mechanics for maintenance.

He says one of the challenges is in getting the cars license plates. Government employees often aren’t sure how to classify them.

Wahdan's oldest, a 1924 Model T Ford that belonged to Egypt’s last monarch, King Farouk, is a museum piece, complete with a velvet rope to mark its parking place in his garage.

The country’s layered history makes it a treasure trove for antiques. Egypt, a former British protectorate, was a destination for Europeans in the late 19th Century and the first half of the 20th century. Italian, Greek, and Jewish communities once flourished in Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Its historic markets, or souqs, sell many reminders of times gone by, replicas and genuine.

Wahdan has collected many of them. Rotary-dial telephones, gramophones, and old newspapers and stamps also fascinate him.

Recently, his cars have also made a name for themselves, with one appearing in a TV series set in the 1930s. He’s noticed that interest in car collecting is growing among Egyptians, as more flock to classic car shows where his vehicles are displayed.

One of his dearest items is his first purchase, a 1970s Mercedes. Like his other cars, he doesn’t drive it often. But he says he would never sell any of his collection.

“Anyone who is passionate about those cars is unable to do without them,” he said.