A stand-out feature of the 2018 Knysna Motor Show, sponsored by Sanlam Private Wealth on 29 April 2018, will be a historical display of production sedans and sportscars only available in South Africa. These cars date from the 1950s to the present day and chart the amazing engineering and design ingenuity that existed in our country.
The following cars will be on display in a special section dedicated to these South African-only cars, which today enjoy huge international interest (and value!) because of their rarity.
This humble sportscar was designed and built in Johannesburg by a team led by sportscar enthusiast John Myers. It was the first fibreglass-bodied car to be built in South Africa.
GSM Dart (1958-1965)
Just a few months after the Protea was launched, the GSM Dart broke cover early and also featured a fibreglass body. These cars were built in Cape Town as well as in the UK, under the name GSM Delta.
GSM Flamingo (1962-1965)
The GSM Flamingo followed the Dart when GSM realised that many South Africans wanted a more sophisticated sportscar. The Flamingo featured a distinctive split-window rear window design, actually pre-dating the famous 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray split-window model.
Renault Alconi (1964-1967)
In the mid-1960s, two Joburg race drivers and engine tuners, John Conchie and Eric ‘Puddles’ Adler, created hotted-up Renault R8 and 10 models that were homologated and listed for sale as official products with full factory warranty.
Marauder Sports (1971-1974)
The Marauder was a steel-chassis, fibreglass-bodied sportscar built in Randburg in the early to mid-1970s by enthusiast Peter Meefan. It was sold as a kit or in built-up form, and was modelled after the Lotus 7.
Ford Capri Perana V8 (1971-1973)
Arguably the most iconic South African-developed performance car is the Ford Capri Perana, devised and built by race-driver and speed shop owner Basil Green of Johannesburg. With a Ford V8 shoehorned in, the Capri offered Ferrari performance for a fraction of the cost.
Chevrolet Firenza Can Am (1972-1973)
They only built 100 of these cars, and they were designed to do just one thing – and that was to vanquish the mighty Capri Peranas. And they did just that, thanks to inspiration of race drivers Basil van Rooyen and Geoff Mortimer, who were closely involved in the development.
Alfa Romeo GTV6 3.0 (1983-1985)
The important bit about this car is the 3.0 designation. Everywhere else in the world, Alfa Romeo GTV6s had 2.5-litre engines. But in South Africa, the likes of race engineer Sampie Bosman and his team sourced Autodelta parts from Italy to enlarge the OHC V6 to three litres, and it became the car to beat in Group One racing.
Ford Sierra XR8 (1984-1985)
Ford couldn’t take the GTV6’s track success lying down, and in mid-1984 introduced the amazing Ford Sierra XR8. This was essentially a Ford Sierra V6, but fitted with a 5-litre V8, special limited-slip diff, 5-spoke alloy wheels and dual-plane rear wing in the boot. Only 250 units were produced.
BMW 333i (1984-1985)
Until 1984, the largest-capacity BMW 3 Series model was fitted with a 2.3-litre straight-6, known as the 323i. But amidst the flurry of homologation specials being turned out by the likes of arch-rivals Alfa and Ford for production racing purposes, BMW in Rosslyn had to get in on the act. Rather outlandishly, the 333i was produced by slotting in a 3.2-litre straight-6 engine from a large BMW 7 Series sedan.
Volkswagen Caracal Prototype (1990)
This car was conceived by Cape Town architect Gerrie Steenkamp, who distinguished himself in the mid-1970s by importing Lotus and Lamborghini CKD kits and assembling them outside Cape Town. In late 1989 Steenkamp employed race rally driver Nic de Waal to design a sportscar and the result was the Golf 2-litre 16V rear-engined Caracal. The car shown at Knysna is believed to be one of three or four prototypes built by Steenkamp’s Inter Motor Makers.
AC Zagato 378 GT (2012)
The AC Zagato 379 GT is an evolution of the Perana Z One, first shown in 2009. It was the result of collaboration between Hi-Tech Automotive of Port Elizabeth and Zagato, the Italian styling house, which provided some design detailing. In 2012 the AC Zagato 378 was launched, and featured a Chevrolet Corvette C6 fuel-injected V8 motor.
The Knysna Motor Show will be held at the Knysna High School sports grounds on Sunday, 29 April from 9am to 4pm. Elegant food and drink stalls will provide refreshments in keeping with the glamour of this top-quality classic car event. Tickets cost R50, kids over 12 pay R10 and kids under 12 get in free. Funds raised go to charity.
For more information, go to the Garden Route Motor Club’s website on www.grmc.co.za.