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THE OLDEST BEETLE IN SA AT SUN CITY

The oldest Volkswagen Beetle in South Africa has been entered for Concours South Africa 2017, which takes place at Sun City on 4-6 August.  The little fawn-coloured Peoples Car is a 1949 model sedan, built in Germany, and imported to South Africa by a private owner a good two years before the very first Beetle was produced here.

What makes this Beetle entry even more interesting is the fact that it is owned by AutoPavilion, the official Volkswagen Museum in South Africa, located  at the factory in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape..

“We have been very excited about Concours South Africa, and we will evaluate this year’s event to see if it makes sense to bring a bigger selection of vehicles from Uitenhage in 2018 and use this opportunity to profile our AutoPavilion ,” said Matt Gennrich, General Manager Communications  for Volkswagen South Africa. “An event like this plays an amazing role in increasing awareness of our rich motoring heritage in South Africa.

“This is our first big show outside of the Eastern Cape and we decided to go ahead and enter one of our best restoration in Concours, which happens to be the oldest known surviving Beetle in the country. And make no mistake, we aren’t entering Concours 2017 with the idea of simply showing the car. We want to win it!”

The car in question has had an interesting history, as befits a 68-year-old car. It was built just three years after the Volkswagenwerk in Wolfsburg, Germany was rescued from ruin after sustaining severe Allied bombing between 1939 and 1945 in World War Two.

Ironically, it was an English army group, tasked with overseeing the Wolfsburg area immediately after World War Two, that realised the best way to clothe and feed the starving population in the area was to make the Volkswagen factory, used for military vehicle production during the war, a going concern as soon as possible. The Volkswagen sedans that then began trickling off the ‘production line’ – still suffering the aftermath of the chaotic years just past – were sold to the Allied occupying forces in Germany for use as transport.

So successful was this team, led by a certain Major Ivan Hirst, in setting up production and sales pipelines, that by 1948 the factory was then handed back to German management, falling under the leadership of former Opel production expert, Heinz Nordhoff.

Thus the 1949 Volkswagen export model that arrived here was a product that, just, three years prior, would have been deemed to have been an impossibility by many!

Volkswagen production in South Africa commenced in late August, 1951, at a new plant in Uitenhage established by what was then known as SAMAD, (South African Motor Assemblies and Distributors), which also built Studebakers and British Austins. The VW-South African tie-up was brokered by the famous Baron Klaus von Oertzen, a man who was instrumental in the inception of the famous 320km/h Auto Union racers in pre-war Germany, designed by Ferdinand Porsche.

Von Oertzen managed to get approval for the Volkswagen assembly contract from the South African government by brokering a deal that involved the export of copious quantities of South African wine to Germany!

This 1949 Volkswagen sedan – the term “Beetle” was not used by the factory – surfaced in South Africa in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, in 1971, after a national competition run jointly by the magazine Wheels and Volkswagen South Africa to find the country’s oldest Beetle. The car was at this time owned by a Mr David Rubin, who was then given a brand new 1300 Beetle in exchange for the classic.

Christened as simply ‘Jan’, the 1949 bug went on display around South Africa before coming home to rest at Uitenhage, where it went into storage and eventually fell into a state of minor disrepair.

Just over a year ago, ‘Jan’ was rescued by a man of the same name, a certain Jan Schiedeck-Jacht, who also happens to be Head of Product Engineering at VWSA in Uitenhage.Mr Schiedeck-Jacht organised a team of enthusiasts from Product Engineering at Uitenhage to embark on a restoration project.

In an amazingly short time of just seventh months, the fully-restored 1949 Volkswagen sedan was back in showroom condition. With a power capability from its 1100cc air-cooled boxer four-cylinder engine registering all of 18kW, just as it had in 1949, where the stated top speed was a shade over 100km/h.

Paying tribute to the efforts of his Product Engineering team, VWSA managing Director Thomas Schaefer said he was “humbled by the dedication, passion and love of our automotive heritage that this team has shown during the restoration.”

Now, at Concours South Africa, the team’s work will come under the stern scrutiny of a top international panel of judges, led by Wayne Harley, Curator of the Franschhoek Motor Museum. And the humble little 1949 Beetle will be up against some of the finest veteran, vintage and classic cars in South Africa.

Concours South Africa 2017 at Sun City runs from Friday 4 August to Sunday 6 August, 2017. The event  opens with  the HAGI Conference on Value in the Classic Car Market www.vccm.co.za on Friday morning. There is still time to enter your pristine classic for Concours South Africa 2017, held on 4-6 August at Sun City.  Visit the website www.concourssa.co.za on how to enter.

FINS & FIFTIES FLASH ON SHOW

Classic Chevys, Fords, Pontiacs, Dodges, Oldsmobiles Buicks! Whatever car you fancy from the glorious chrome-bedecked, outrageously-finned Fifties, you’ll have your pick at Nasrec Expo Centre, South West of Johannesburg this Sunday, July 9, with the next instalment of The Classic Car Show.

“The cars from the 1950s simply mean Rock n Roll to us petrol-heads,” says organiser Paulo Calisto. “And the great thing about our show is that each year we draw classic, unrestored original examples, super-trick customs and even restoration projects in half-finished form. The guys that build these cars put a lot of love, sweat and gears into finding them in the first place, let alone the real work that follows, once a restoration project begins. I love the muscle car era too, and we’ll have hundreds of these on show. But the cars from the ‘50s, it’s like they were the ones that started this whole movement for many of us. These are the roots car!”

The 1950s can actually be termed a preview of the whole muscle car era that followed. Because it was in this decade, that the American manufacturers became embroiled in the great horsepower race. Engine outputs rose in that one decade, from about 100 horsepower (75 kW) to over 300 horsepower.

The horsepower race was partly driven by the American manufacturers who were involved in NASCAR racing at that time. Hudsons were the first “factory kings” of the sport in the early 1950s, followed by Chrysler with the glorious 300 series cars. After that it was pretty much a straight fight between Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge, and all these factories churned out super-high-horsepower optional examples for sale to the public, that could then be legitimately raced on the oval tracks as “stock cars.”

But it was in the styling departments too that things went a little crazy. After the drab, economy-conscious years that followed World War Two in the late 1940s, the 1950s gave rise, in America especially, to a huge wave of optimism. And the cars reflected it, with ornate chrome grilles, bumpers, tail fins, and elaborate side-flashes.

Of course, there will be hundreds of other classics at Nasrec, ranging from custom vans and pick-ups to hot rods to muscle cars, of which Mustangs and Camaros and Dodges will be well in evidence. And let’s not forget the fabulous Cobra recreations that we have running all over Jo’burg.

Classic car owners can enter through Nasrec’s Gate Two from 7 am, while spectators can enter through Gate 5 from 9 am. The Prawn and Food Festival will offer prawns prepared by the famous Calisto restaurant group which has franchises all over Gauteng.

Entrance fee to the show is R80 per adult and R20 for children under 11-years-old. There will be a host of family-type entertainment on hand as well, including live music and helicopter rides at R150 for a short flip. There will be a beer garden and a mini-prawn festival at the show, and Halaal food will also be on sale.

For more information, visit www.classiccarshow.co.za. Or call Paul Calisto on 082 497 7218.

REVIVING THE FREEDOM OF THE CITI

Volkswagen is paying homage to its legendary Citi Golf model with the introduction of the limited edition Citi Vivo Polo. Citi Vivo is bringing back the ubiquitous three colours of Red, Yellow and Blue, which were used to launch the original Citi Golf in 1984.

The production of the iconic Citi Golf at the Volkswagen manufacturing factory in Uitenhage ended in 2009 after 25 years. Over that time, the plant produced over 377 000 units, many of which are still used on our roads today. Of course the Citi Golf gained some of its popularity from the quirky and humorous television and print adverts that told a South African story and we hope to see VW employing a similar campaign with its new model, along with the same engineering ingenuity that gave Citi Golf its cult status and longevity in the local market.

In 2010, Volkswagen launched Polo Vivo to replace Citi Golf as the market leader in the compact passenger car segment. In the past six years, Polo Vivo has been the best-selling passenger model in South Africa and has to date sold 229 300 units. There is no better way to celebrate the success of the Polo Vivo than to pay homage to its iconic predecessor. As the three colours of Red, Yellow and Blue are synonymous with the classic Citi Golf, it was fitting to use them as the only colours for Citi Vivo. And no, you still can’t get it in green!

Citi Vivo comes from the 1.4i Conceptline Polo derivative, which has a power output of 55kW. In addition to the standard features of Conceptline, the new Citi gets 15-inch alloy wheels, side mirrors, door and tailgate handles and CITI decals all in white. As a special edition only 2 000 units are planned and it retails for R177 300.

MEANDER THE MALUTI

The South African Regularity Rally Association (SARRA) hosts the popular MacGregor Maluti Meander at the end of April 2017. The event runs over three days and will see the Mont Aux Sources Hotel in the Drakensberg as its home base.

While it is open to cars and motorcycles of all ages, participants are encouraged to enter in classic vehicles, which for purposes of this event refers to vehicles which are 25 years and older. There will be two categories (open and sealed odometer) and cars and motorcycles will run in different classes, as will modern and classic vehicles.

Start time is 12h00 on Thursday 27 April in Harrismith, from where the route will head to Mont Aux Sources. Day two involves a competitive scenic route through the mountains to lunch in Nottingham Road, before rallying back to the hotel. The third day is a rest day to allow some relaxation, sightseeing and participation in the many activities on offer at the hotel and surrounds. The fourth and final day sees some more competition driving before rounding off with the Sunday evening prize giving. Check out is on Monday morning (a public holiday).

While there is an obvious competitive element to the event, it is designed to allow sufficient time to socialise and soak up this beautiful part of the country in your classic car. All roads used are tarred and every effort has been made to use the best condition surface available for the 600km route. Set speeds are all well within applicable speed limits, and it is an MSA-sanctioned event.

For more information contact Larina MacGregor on 084 949 0937 or on larina.macgregor@gmail.com. Alternatively, enter by using the entry form on the SARRA website (www.sarra.co.za).

VOLKSWAGEN AUTOPAVILION UPGRADED

Volkswagen AutoPavilion in Uitenhage has recently had an upgrade and at the core is Jan the Beetle. Jan was built on Wednesday, 14 September 1949 in the original Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg. In 1971 Volkswagen South Africa and <<<Wheels>>> magazine held a competition to find the oldest Beetle in South Africa. The winner was owner David Rubin of Middelburg, who received a brand-new 1300 Beetle in exchange for Jan the Beetle. Jan went on display around South Africa before coming back home to rest at the Volkswagen factory in Uitenhage. For a number of years, no one paid attention to Jan and he was left in storage as his condition had deteriorated and he could not be displayed. That changed when Jan the Beetle was brought to the attention of another very special Jan at Volkswagen, namely Jan Schiedek-Jacht, the Head of Product Engineering at VWSA.

Schiedek-Jacht, a classic car enthusiast and expert, offered to give Jan a new lease on life. Soon, highly qualified engineers from Product Engineering at VWSA heard about Jan and offered to help.

The team under the leadership of Jan Schiedek-Jacht donated their spare time to fully restore Jan back to pristine condition over a seven-month period. “I am humbled by the dedication, passion and love of our automotive heritage that this team has shown during the restoration of the Jan the Beetle,” said Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of VWSA.

Jan was restored to original condition and colour with as many original components as possible repaired and restored. Only where required were new components sourced from specialist local dealers, Germany and the US.

Jan is now the jewel of the AutoPavilion vehicle collection and still gets driven, the most recent trip being a 600km run to the George Motor Show in February.

The AutoPavilion is VWSA’s Automotive Experience Centre and Museum. Each year over 30 000 car enthusiasts, school children, tourists, families and friends visit the operation.

KNYSNA SHOW HEADS

Although the Knysna Motor Show organisers are expecting a turnout of more than 500 exceptional vehicles, the Sanlam Private Wealth backed event has three standout appearances headlining the act.

“While we welcome everyone to come along to see and enjoy the vintage and veteran cars and motorcycles, and the super cars, classic sports cars, and new-era electric vehicles on show, we’re very selective about the exhibits we allow – which appear by invitation only. This keeps the show fresh and interesting every year,” said the chairperson of the Garden Route Motor Club, Peter Pretorius. “As one of South Africa’s most prestigious motor shows, the Knysna Motor Show naturally attracts the attention of the owners of the most prestigious and unsusual vehicles on the road, and we’re proud to announce that this year’s event will feature one of the most desireable cars of all – a Bentley MK VI Special – as well as displays by the MMM MG Club of South Africa, and the Micro Car Club of  South Africa.”

MMM MG GATHERING

The bi-annual gathering of South Africa’s MMM MG Club will take place in the Garden Route this year and the club has entered 17 cars for the show. According to MMM MG Club chairperson, Rodney Green, “MMM stands for Midget, Magna, and Magnette – which were some of the names given to the bewildering array of performance model MGs in the 1930s, when the marque dominated the 750 and 1100cc classes on the international racing circuit.” He said that the club’s display at the Motor Show will include an early M-type, as well as various 4 and 6-cylinder models – some of which are supercharged. “Of special interest will be a supercharged C-type Monthlery Midget with a 4 cylinder, 746cc power unit; and a 1935, 6 cylinder, 1271cc MG ND.”

MICRO CAR CLUB

We’re pretty sure that the Micro Car Club’s display will be a real hit at this year’s  Motor Show. According to Micro Car Club chairperson, Lothar Frohlich, the club register is open to cars of 700cc or less that were built any time until 1967. Like the MMM MG Club, the Micro Car Club will hold its gathering in the Garden Route this year, and will exhibit a number of vehicles at the Motor Show. ​ “Although they’re remembered in history as curiosities, the Micro Car was a first step towards owning a full-size car for  many people in the 1950s and 60s,” said Mr. Frohlich. “As with all classic cars, it’s often difficult to obtain spare parts – but gatherings like these allow Micro Car enthusiasts to network with each other to keep these unique vehicles alive.”

BENTLEY SPECIAL

The Bentley MK VI Special that will appear started out as a project 1951 Bentley MKVI Sedan – but when a previous owner abandoned the build it was obtained by a Cape Town collector who commissioned Charles Goodman Restorers in Johannesburg to complete the build.It took two and a half years to complete this magnificent vehicle with its 4.9-litre Bentley straight-six, F-type, fuel injected engine, and its wood frame and metal skin.

Last year’s show attracted over 5 000 people and organisers are confident that the number will grow again this year, as it has every year. The event is known for its country atmosphere, excellent food stalls, and festive beer garden – so there’s always something for old and young to enjoy. But it’s also an event with a heart, and proceeds will benefit Hospice, Knysna Animal Welfare, E-pap and FAMSA. The Sanlam Private Wealth Knysna Motor Show takes place on the Knysna High School sports fields (on Waterfront Drive) from 09:30 to 16:00 on Sunday, 30 April, 2017.

For more information contact: Peter Pretorius on peterp@afrihost.co.za / 082 321 4724 or  visit www.grmc.co.za.

VOLVO TO CELEBRATE AT GEORGE

Volvo owners, old and new, young and old are invited to visit the George Old Car Show on 11/12 February 2017 to celebrate 90 years of the iconic Swedish brand.This is the 90 year journey that resulted from the dreams of the two ‘gents who started the Volvo company, way back in 1927 when ‘Jakob’ was released from the production line.

It would be great to have cars from all years and models present and the Volvo Club wants at 90 Volvo’s in George, help them realise this dream. Individual registration must be done on www.scocc.co.za.

Can we find the oldest Volvo in South Africa? See the picture, and if you own it or know of its whereabouts make contact witht he club and let’s get it to George – running or not.

For more information about Volvo involvement contact Jan van Deventer at jan@375.co.za or Deon van Loggerenberg at dvl@mweb.co.za. Alternatively visit www.volvoclub.co.za.

CLASSICS BIKES FOR BIKE FEST

A selection of the country’s most impressive classic bikes will participate in the opening parade of the new South Coast Bike Fest #SCBF2017 at Margate Beach from 27 to 30 April 2017.

Fuelled by the Classic Motorcycle Club of Natal, the parade of some 40 must-see classic motorbikes will head from Desroche Hotel in Margate, along Margate Main Street and into Panorama Parade before circling the event site and parking at the Classic Bike Museum Stand on the beachfront.

Here visitors can peruse the array of collector’s item bikes (pre-1937) as well as a number of classic bikes (pre-1992) which will be displayed on the Classic Open Stand.

Among the parade bikes will be the extremely rare Douglas 1922 and AJS 1931, both owned by Ken Sink, chairman of the South Coast Motorcycle and Car Club, a subsidiary of the provincial organisation.

“I’ve ridden the AJS since 1982,” explained Sink. “It was left to me in the previous owner’s will and I’m the third person to own it. The Douglas I’ve constructed over the years.”

These two bikes form part of his 16-bike collection which also includes the Lambretta TV 175 scooter, three Honda 305cc’s and a Honda cx500.

“There’s just such freedom in biking that you don’t get in a ‘tin can’,” said Sink, talking about his love of bikes. “You get to smell the countryside and it’s just that much more exhilarating. There’s also a great camaraderie within the biking community.”

In addition to the beautiful machines, the festival promises unbelievable entertainment and eating facilities including 35 of the country’s top bands and artists – Die Heuwels Fantasties, Prime Circle, Majozi, Professor, Just Ginger and PJ Powers among them –14 on-site restaurants and upgraded pubs and nightclubs, eight festival bars, gourmet pop-up food courts and some 5 000 holiday beds all within walking distance of this new, secure festival zone. All this within only 135km from Durban and 630km from Jozi – a one-day bike trip.

Visitors can grab a Red Bull at the energy bar near the Gravity Clash Zone where South Africa’s top skateboarding, BMX, FMX and trials bike riders will keep the audience enthralled. Alternatively, take a sip of Jack Daniels at the free Beach Pier Village Rock Stage where world-class music will soothe the soul.

Local event stakeholders, Ray Nkonyeni Municipality and UGU South Coast Tourism, expect this to be a hugely popular festival, attracting large numbers to the stunning seaside town.

“We had such a great relationship with Harley Davidson and it would be a travesty not to continue the growth of the tradition of this well-supported and well-loved biking event,” said Max Mbili, Municipal Manager of Ray Nkonyeni Municipality.

All bikes are welcome at the South Coast Bike Fest and entrance to the four-day event is free provided pre-registration is completed online. This pre-registration allows #freefunseeker ticket holders access to the event boulevard including secure parking, access to the Main Beachfront Boulevard, Village Pier Rock Stage, Experiential Energy Zone, Mardi Gras Market, Flying Fish Hospitality Deck, Castle Light Pool Party and much more! To pre-register for the #freefunseeker tickets, visit www.quicket.co.za.

Tickets to the #fuelyourfun Carling Main Beach Stage are also available at www.quicket.co.za at a cost of R130 per day or R200 for the cocktail bar day pass. For a VIP four-day pass the cost is R360. Children under 12 enter free.classic-bike-show

SAGMJ AWARDS

Classic Car Africa contributor, Roger Houghton (centre) was adjudged the runner-up in the Motorsport – Magazines category in the recent SA Guild of Motoring Writers’ Motor Journalist of the Year competition.

His entry included two articles published in CCA: Always the bridesmaid, never the bride (Toyota’s history at Le Mans and in F1), and Man among Men (a tribute to the late Jan Hettema). The third article was on Kyalami and was published in Ian Groat’s Automotive Refinisher. In the photo Roger is flanked by Derek Leach (left), the Vice President – Sales and Marketing at Toyota Financial Services, the major sponsor of MJOY, and Bernie Hellberg, the chairman of the Guild.
Gavin Foster, CCA’s regular motorcycle contributor also went home with a bunch of awards for his ramblings on all things 2-wheeled.

 

Congratulations to them both.