Sunday, 14 February 2016

On Valentine’s Day, the Pretoria Old Motor Club (POMC) hosted its first get-together of the year at its premises in Silverton. The theme of this get-together was American cars, and according to Frik Kraamwinkel of the POMC , it was the largest gathering of cars to date (except for Cars in the Park) , which attracted the most visitors yet. There were several rare cars on display, as well as a few that have been heavily modified.

The star of the show was a 1923 Dodge Brothers, owned by Craig Jeannes. This car took three years to restore, and the project was completed in 2010 after three years. The car had been rusted away in some places, and the restoration job proved to be more difficult than expected. An interesting feature of this particular model is that it has no front brakes, and the driver could only rely on the handbrake and rear brakes in emergency situations. This particular car is still fitted wit hits original engine, which has only done a very low mileage.

Another car that attracted a lot of attention was the 1937 Packard Super Eight, which is part of the collection of Kobus Mostert, who runs a classic car museum in the Tshwane Chinese Mall. This car is only two in existence which is right hand drive. The car was initially owned by Mr. P M Anderson, the chief executive of Union Corporation in Johannesburg. It was ordered with several optional extras, including a radio with a concealed antenna, a rear luggage rack and parking lights mounted on the front fenders. This Packard was not as popular as the contemporary Cadillac, which means that it is an extremely rare find. After Anderson’s death, his son John took over the car, but it was too large fora garage, and as time wen ton, it was left abandoned. 

Gordon Strauss, who was an old car buff, noticed the car being abandoned and made a successful offer to purchase it. At the time the car had only done 55 000 miles. He changed the paint colour from Buckingham Grey to its present colour, Hickory Leaf Green, which was also part of the Packard colour chart at the time. The original bluish-grey interior was also replaced by tan leather.

In October 2000, Mr. Terblanche bought the car, and since then it has had a total rebuild of the interior and the exterior. Six of the correct 16 inch tyres were bought from Firestone, and two bonnet mascots, “Goddess of Speed” and “Commorant”, were imported from the USA. A re-paint in the same colour and a new interior with a combination of leather and fabric were commissioned and the restoration project was completed in January 2003.

Kobus Mostert also displayed several other cars that are part of his museum. Among them were a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1958 Plymouth Belvedere and a 1992 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, one of the most recent cars on display. One of the most interesting vehicles on display was a 1958 Chevrolet Apache pick-up that looked original, but if you look under the hood (as the Americans would say), you will see something very special. This particular pick-up was fitted with a Chevrolet LS 1 V8 engine with a capacity of 5,7 litres, straight out of the Corvette C5. In its original vorm, this engine develops 257 kw at 5600 rpm and 470 Nm of torque at 4 400 rpm. This engine has also been modified for use in Holden’s HSV range of vehicles.

The next event at the POMC will be a get-together of British cars on the 13th of March.