14 September 2016 marked 80 years since Harvey Firestone Jnr, together with first Managing Director John Cohill, officially opened the Port Elizabeth Firestone factory and the firm’s first South African-built tyre rolled off the assembly line.

Harvey purchased the first 7.06 morgen (approximately six hectare) site on the corner of Kempston and Harrower Roads for £750 in 1935 and in 1936, with 150 people working on site, produced 350 car tyres a day.

Firestone SA became part of Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre manufacturer, in 1997 and is one of only a few companies which can boast an unbroken 80-year history of manufacturing in South Africa. Today, Bridgestone South Africa’s PE Plant has a total of 43 000 square metres of factory space, employs over 350 people and has a capacity of 800 tyres per day, ranging from 10kg front tractor tyres to earthmover tyres weighing up to 800kg.

Apart from being the only tyre company to manufacture bias truck tyres locally, Bridgestone also has a second plant, based in Brits, which opened in 1971. Bridgestone are fully committed to South Africa and look forward to many more years of producing quality tyres in the country.


If you are in the Eastern Cape on 8 October head for the Otto Du Plessis High School in Otto Street, Algoa Park for the fifth Madiba Bay Car Show.
Brought to you by the members of the East Cape Street Rod & Custom Car Club, with sponsorship by Speedyquip, all proceeds go to charity and promises to be a day filled with classics and rods. If you can’t make it listen to LUISTER FM 90.6 who will broadcast live from the venue on the day.


cars in park ptaCars in Park

Zwartkops Raceway once again plays host to the 37th Cars in the Park on Sunday, July 31, 2016

It was a chance meeting between two old car enthusiasts just near Loftus Versveld in the mid-1960s that saw the establishment of the Pretoria Old Motor Club, and the subsequent hosting of Cars in the Park, the country’s premier ‘old-car’ event.

Legend has it that Erwin Kuschke was driving his Ford Model T down Park Street in Pretoria one Saturday morning when he came upon Steffan Stander driving a Model A Ford. The two naturally sounded their ‘ah hoo-gah’ hooters and stopped for a chat, and that confluence saw the idea for an old car club take root. In 1966 the Pretoria Old Motor Club was officially formed, and the rest is pretty much history!

This year the POMC hosts its 37th Cars in the Park, and it expected there will be more than 2 000 old cars attending, and upwards of 10 000 spectators. That’s a far cry from the nine cars that were exhibited at the very first Pretoria Cars in the Park in 1980, and it has taken the club an immense amount of work to get the event to its current level.

Since 2006 the event has been held at the Zwartkops Raceway on the R55, west of Preoria, and this year, in addition to the 2 000 vintage, veteran, classic, hot-rodded, customised and other special cars expected to attend, there will be over 100 motor clubs booking space around the Zwartkops race track.

The POMC will once again host its Special Invite display in the pit area, and this year the theme is ‘Pick Up Trucks’. These special vehicles date back over 100 years in terms of the history of the motor car, while today, pick-ups from the 1940s to the 1960s have found favour again with collectors of pristine original cars, as well as with the customising, hot-rodding fraternity.

The Pretoria Old Motor Club will also be hosting its own 50 Year Celebration at the show, with its members bringing some very special cars to celebrate the occasion. In light of the fact that it all began with a chance meeting of a Model T and a Model A Ford, expect to see a number of these cars in the POMC special half-century area.

The show opens to the public at 8 am on Sunday, July 31, 2016. Classic cars up to 1985 will be admitted to the race track grounds, as well as special-interest later-model cars. But the drivers of these later cars will have to produce proof of club membership or have made arrangements with the organisers, otherwise they will be charged full admission fee. Contact the organisers at the addresses listed below.

The drivers of classic cars will be admitted free of charge, along with one passenger. Additional passengers will have to pay full spectator entry fee of R100. Children under 12 will be admitted free.

Drivers of bona-fide classics and special-interest cars will be admitted to the grounds from 6 am onwards. These cars will then be parked at various allocations around the circuit, and required to remain in the grounds until 3 pm, to help ease traffic congestion.

An amazing array of cars is once again expected, ranging from cars built before 1910 to later classics dating up to 1985. Fords, Chevs, Buicks, Datsuns, Alfas, MGs, Cadillacs. You name it, and you’ll find your favourite car at the 37th Cars in the Park!

In addition to the cars, there will be hundreds of vendors selling food, drink, clothing, spare parts for old cars, books on old cars, and entertainment for the whole family.

Special parking for spectators is arranged south of the circuit on  the R55. There is also additional gate located in the suburb of Erasmia, off the R551.


This year’s Scottburgh Classic Car Show will be held on Sunday 17 July at the Scottburgh High School, KZN.  It will be the seventh show organised by the Scottburgh Classic Car Club and classic car and motorcycle clubs from several provinces have been invited to attend.The show attracts about 5 000 people and 450 classic vehicles. There will be a beer tent, a unique tea garden and lots to eat. Only cars and bikes prior to 1975 will be permitted to enter the display field.  However, modern supercars and special interest models may attend by ‘Special Invitation’ from the organisers. To book your spot and find out more visit www.scottburghclassiccarshow.co.za


The inaugural Concours South Africa will take place at Sun City from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 September 2016 with the main Concours judging taking place on Sunday. Concours SA will bring together the finest classic, luxury and sports vehicles from around the country. For the first time about 150 of the most prized collector cars will roll onto the lawns of Sun City. The cars taking part in the Concours and the Show and Shine will be located on the lawns of Sun City between the famous 19th hole, the original Sun City Hotel, and the tennis courts. Spectator entrance is free. For more information go to www.concourssa.co.za


An ambitious R620-million redevelopment project for East London’s Grand Prix circuit leapt to a new level when Buffalo City Metro (BCM) voted for Border Motorsport Club to be given a 20-year lease, sending the plan to turn the track into an international motorsport, technology and tourism destination on an exciting warmup lap. The R302 000-a-year deal bucks the trend as BCM is whittling down its long leases for sport clubs, with West Bank Golf Club running on a month-to-month lease and others, such as the prestigious East London Golf Club, left with only a handful of years on the clock. This approval gives the multi-stakeholder East London Grand Prix Foundation the go-ahead to start raising investment.


Mark your calendar for Sunday May 1 and the Knysna Motor Show – remember it is a long weekend so bring the family and come and enjoy the spectacular array of cars, motorcycles, educational motoring elements, classic car traders and motoring memorabilia on display. There’s some delicious food and a beer garden too.

The event takes place on Sunday 1 on the Knysna High School Sports fields on Waterfront Drive. Gates will be open to the public from 09:30 to 16:00 and the entrance charge is R40 for adults, R10 for scholars 12 to 18 and kids under 12 get in free.

If the revving engines of classic and performance cars and beautifully tuned motorcycles , sets your heart racing and the glint of a Rolls Royce or veteran and vintage cars catches your eye, then the Knysna motor show is the place to be. This fantastic event gives the visitors a chance to get close up to almost 400 veteran, vintage, classic and super cars and an awesome display of motorcycles.


Fans of the legendary Group C race cars that ruled the roost in the 1980s are in for a treat with the series being the highlight of the upcoming 8th Le Mans Classic. To date their are already 40 cars on the grid, with the event a curtain-raiser to one of the greatest historic race meeting in the world.

In force from 1982 to 1993, these legendary prototypes wrote some of the most glorious pages in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours and as was the case in period Porsche supplies the highest number of cars out of the 16 makes. Try an the entry list with 10 Porsche 962Cs to wet the appetite.  The 962s main rivals of that era are also down to appear in the Sarthe including two Lancia LC2s, two Jaguars, an XJR-12 and an XJR 16, a Mercedes C11 and a Nissan R90 CK – the most powerful car seen in the Sarthe with a power output of 1128 bhp!

Alongside the major manufacturers the small constructors, a vital part of the Le Mans 24-Hours scene, will be present in force with Alba, Emka, March, Sthemo, Rondeau, Spice and Tiga. The final evolution of that generation of sports prototypes, the Sport 3.5-litre machines, is represented by a Gebhardt C91, a very rare Lola T92/10, and above all a Peugeot 905 celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Le Mans debut this year.

In other words, the expected 110 000-strong crowd will attend an unprecedented retrospective on 8-9-10 July. However, before coming to Le Mans Classic, the Group C grid will make its 2016 debut next weekend at Jarama-Classic.


Classic Car Africa is heading for Nelspruit on Father’s Day, but thought it best to tour the Lowveld for a few days before. If you are keen on joining us on some of SA’s best roads then book directly through Protea Hotel Hazeyview and take advantage of the special that they have offered readers. We book in on 17 and out on 19 June. Don’t forget to mention Classic Car Africa when booking.

 IT’S AS EASY AS 1, 2, 3…

As a kid growing up in the 1980s you were either a BMW or Merc fan. Because of its motorsport success I was a Beemer fan. But looking at how many more W123 Mercedes still roam the streets perhaps my attention should have been more focused on the three-pointed star. Forty years on the W123 Benz is a leading light in the ‘Youngtimer’ classic world.

At its launch in January 1976, the Mercedes-Benz 123 model series offered a persuasive combination of elegance and multiple technical innovations. The saloon was the first model to become available. The range was expanded a year later by the Coupé and, for the first time, an Estate model. Over the course of the next ten years almost 2.7 million vehicles were built, among them also long-wheelbase saloons and chassis for special bodies. The era of the 123 model series marks a particularly successful chapter in the success story of the E-Class, as the intermediate model from Mercedes-Benz was called from 1993 onwards.

The new intermediate-class saloon was presented by Mercedes-Benz to the specialist media between 22 and 28 January 1976 at the Paul Ricard Circuit in southern France. A train specially chartered for the purpose from the Deutsche Bundesbahn, the German Federal Railway, transported the fleet of test and demonstration vehicles from Stuttgart to France: no fewer than 33 variously appointed and equipped vehicles from the 123 series thus made their public debut to the motoring media under the Mediterranean sun. The response from the media was consistently positive – for the car’s engineering as well as for its design. And their verdict was confirmed by the customers, too: the first year’s production sold out completely shortly after the launch of the W123, with early second-hand models often selling for their original price within that first year of production.

The W123 was also impressive for its high standard of workmanship, functionality and wide range of engines with nine different models from introduction ranging from the 200D to the 280E, with a broad spectrum of equipment and appointments.

Maximum safety, exemplary comfort and ease of maintenance: such were the requirements made of the Mercedes-Benz design engineers in 1968 when the specifications book for the model series was drawn up. One of the priorities during the development of the 123 series was to improve safety for the car’s occupants. The engineering designers were already, for instance, thinking about the integration of airbags, which then became an optional extra for the 123 model series from 1982 on. Passive safety was enhanced, in particular by the combination of an even more robust passenger cell and large crumple zones. Stronger struts in the doors ensured better protection in the event of an impact. In addition, the safety steering shaft invented by Béla Barényi and patented in 1963 made its debut as a complete system in the W123.

Mercedes-Benz began at a very early stage to investigate the use of alternative drive systems in the 123 model series. In 1983, for example, a 280 TE was fitted with a hydrogen drive system, following in the wake of a 1982 experimental vehicle with electric drive system, also based on the Estate model. And as far back as 1981 Mercedes-Benz had presented a 200 model with a bi-fuel drive system (liquefied petroleum gas and petrol). There was thus already an indication of the importance that alternative drive systems would take on for future generations of the Mercedes-Benz intermediate model series, even four decades ago.
The 123-series Saloon was built until November 1985; the era of the no less successful 124 series had begun ten months earlier. Production of the especially successful Estate models in the 123 series even went on until January 1986. From 1975 until 1986 almost 2.7 million vehicles were manufactured, the highest proportion of these being Saloons with normal-length wheelbase (2,375,440 units). 199,517 units of the Estate were built, along with 99,884 Coupé vehicles. In addition to these there were 13,700 long-wheelbase Saloons and 8,373 chassis as a basis for special bodies. These days the 123 model series has long been recognised as a classic – and remains as fascinating as it was at its launch 40 years ago.