Photo: Side-by-side of Dino’s replica 1953 MG-TD and a real 1924 Rolls Royce
An investigation into the latest ‘luxury’ car purchased by embattled Senator Dino Melaye has found that he is masquerading a cheap MG-TD replica car as an expensive Rolls Royce car purportedly worth N180 million.
SaharaReporters discovered that Mr. Melaye is pandering a cheap replica as Rolls Royce after consulting several experts with deep knowledge of both Rolls Royce and MG-TD cars.
Recall that an associate of Mr. Melaye has been circulating a press release claiming that he “bought a classic Rolls Royce estimated at $400,000 (N180 million).”
The same statement continued saying, “that the Rolls Royce is a rare collectible item that is not only scarce but very expensive.”
The press statement, now known to be totally misleading, erroneously claimed that “the Rolls Royce which is a 1923 model is 93 years old, and is used by only a few persons in a special grade.”
SaharaReporters contacted three antique car experts located in the United States to confirm details surrounding Mr. Melaye’s alleged luxury car.
All three experts categorically stated that the car in the photos circulated by Mr. Melaye’s associate is not a Rolls Royce.
All three experts also said that the car in the photographs is a British-made MG-TD, two of whom said it was a replica with parts from a Volkswagen Beetle.
One expert, George Medynski, the owner of Tuxedo Moto Sport, formerlly M&G Vintage Auto, who has been specializing in maintenance and restoration of British vehicles for decades, viewed photos of Mr. Melaye’s vehicle and described it in precise detail.
He said that Mr. Melaye’s car “was one of the worst replica MGs” he had seen.
He observed that “you couldn’t get anything cheaper, crappier and it is probably worth nowhere near $10,000 and probably cost between $4,000-$6,000.”
Mr. Medynski then added, “I am offered these lepers all the time.”
“It’s not a Rolls Royce and it’s not even a real MG-TD,” he stated emphatically.
He also said that it was most certainly a replica of a 1953 MG-TD, totally different from the 1924 Rolls Royce make Mr. Melaye’s associate was claiming.
Providing specific details of the car, he said, “look at the front-end picture. On the inside of both wheels you can see that’s a Volkswagen suspension from the old Beetles.”
He also said, during his evaluation of the images, “it’s absolutely worthless.
“The body is made of fiberglass, the gauges don’t look right, the gas tank, everything” is wrong compared to the original MG-TD.
These kinds of cars, just like the one Mr. Melaye is masquerading as a Rolls Royce, “were popular in the early 1970s [in the US] when you can take a Volkswagen Beetle and make it whatever you wanted,” whether it was a dune buggy or some other inexpensive car.
Mr. Medynski, who has been working on MG-TDs and other British cars for decades, described the British MG-TD as “having a coach built body [made from wood with metal folded around it]. It was probably the last kind of car to come out of England coach built.”
“They stopped making [MG] coach built cars in 1955 and MG went out of business in 1980,” he continued.
“They made 30,000 MG-TDs and out of that 30,000 in the world a real nice one is probably worth $45,000-$60,000, the replica is worthless.”
It has also been noted that the hood ornament on Mr. Melaye’s fake car looks nothing like the ‘flying lady’ ornament indicative of Rolls Royce cars, including the 1924 make he is pandering.
SaharaReporters also consulted Hemmings, the leading online car collector marketplace where luxury and antique vehicles are regularly posted for sale, to assess prices for the MG-TD vehicles.
The most expensive MG-TD car available on Hemmings website was priced at $39,500. The average price for this year and make of car was under $10,000, according to a query of the site.
A source speaking to SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, who has intimate knowledge of Mr. Melaye’s assets, disclosed that the car circulated by Mr. Melaye’s associate is new to his fleet.
Example hood ornament of a 1924 Rolls Royce car that Dino Melaye is pretending to own
He stated it has not been in his possession since 2014, as alleged in the statement.
This same source said they believed Mr. Melaye wants to mislead the Nigerian public, and especially his NASS colleagues, because he is an insecure man wanting to appear to be a more powerful than he is.
“Apart from the attention he wants from the public he also wants to attract women,” because of some of his insecurities, this source elaborated on why he would pretend his car is more opulent than it really is.
SaharaReporters reached out to Mr. Melaye for comment on his supposed luxurious purchase but he did not respond to our correspondent’s queries.