Our April newsletter featuring the following articles: Half price museum day , Visitors on the rise, Media first, Collection in action – P, Knysna happenings, Helping the heritage, Fioravanti honoured, Celebrating 50 and more.
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Along with the rest of the world, on Wednesday 18 May FMM will be promoting the 38th annual International Museum Day, which is an occasion to raise awareness on how important museums are in the development of society. Each year the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Advisory Committee organises the theme of the event, which this year will be Museums and Cultural Landscapes. This theme implies that museums have a certain responsibility towards the landscapes where they are located, to which they are able to bring their own specific knowledge and skills. The main mission of museums is to oversee the safekeeping and protection of the heritage that lies both within and beyond their walls. The cultural landscape is proposed as “the country where we live, which surrounds us with the images and symbols that identify and characterise it”.
According to this vision, the landscape is considered as the context – geographic, historical, economic, social and cultural – in which museums exist and operate.

International Museums Day’s popularity stretches from America to Oceania including Africa, Europe and Asia, and last year more than 35 000 museums in 145 countries on five continents organised celebrations. As usual, FMM will be lending its support, and the entrance fee will be half price to everyone on the day. MM


The volume of visitors continues to rise. Following on from the record attendance in December 2016 when the 2015 record of 9 329 visitors was broken when 11 490 people viewed the FMM collection, last month no less than 8 432 patrons visited the museum, 3 599 more than the March 2015 figure. The Easter weekend helped stimulate tourist traffic, but by nearly doubling month’s figure, the 2016 total emphasizes the ever-growing attraction of FMM.

In March the Belgian Classic Car Association took part in an organised a tour of South Africa with a group comprising 28 vehicles with owners and friends emanating from Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Malaysia. Amongst the classics were a Citroën 2CV, Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, Jaguar XK and E-Type, Austin-Healey, Alfa Romeo Spider, Morgan +4 and an immaculate MG Magnette.

Arriving in Cape Town, the group covered a distance of 2 675 km over a round-trip route through the most scenic parts of the Western and Eastern Cape. Along the way the crews enjoyed a visit with the Garden Route Motor Club in Knysna before heading back to Cape Town and stopping off at FMM where all the participants were captivated by the world-class range of vehicles on view. A similar visit by a group from England is being planned for November. MM


During April, FMM was the host venue to the South African launch of the new BMW M2 Coupé. This was the first time that the museum, and specifically Die Plaas Pad test track, was opened up to the motoring media and the week-long activities were enjoyed by all who attended, especially the first-time visitors to FMM, all of whom expressed admiration for the whole facility. A fresh group of journalists were invited each day and following a media briefing, had the opportunity to drive the new car as well as various other examples of BMW’s current M model range. And a couple of thrilling laps in an M3 being chauffeured by BMW factory driver (and 2012 DTM champion) Bruno Spengler, who displayed some simply amazing car control…

Chatting to chief development engineer Frank Isenberg at the launch, he said that once the company realised there was an opportunity in the corporate model line-up for a high-performance coupé between the M235i and M4, it was all systems go. The M2 is fitted with a turbocharged 3,0-litre six-cylinder engine developing 272 kW at 6 500 r/min and 465 N.m of torque from 1 400-5 560 r/min (500 N.m with overboost). Claimed performance figures for the seven-speed M-DCT model are 0-100 km/h in 4,3 seconds, a top speed limited to 250 km/h (270 with optional performance package) and a combined cycle fuel economy of 7,9 litres/100 km. The six-speed manual’s acceleration and economy figures are 4,5 and 8,5 respectively.
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Isenberg stressed that the major concern with putting such a powerful engine in a relatively small car was cooling, and many hours and test kilometres – in ambient temperatures of 40degC – were carried out before sign-off. Handling was also a major consideration due to the car’s relatively short wheelbase, and a near-perfect 52/48% front/rear weight distribution was achieved. An Active M Differential and M Dynamic Mode are standard features, along with M compound brakes.

Die Plaas Pad is a challenging circuit but the M2 proved an entertaining drive irrespective of which drive mode was selected. The car provided high levels of grip through the faster sweeps, while in the twistier sections it responded predictably to steering and accelerator input, providing a thoroughly entertaining drive.

Base price is R791 000 for the manual and R841 000 for the M-DCT. As usual, a plethora of optional extras is available to increase BMW’s famed ‘sheer driving pleasure’. MM


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An alphabetical series of short driving impressions of some of the museum’s car collection. This month we have a P – er, no, not that kind – in the shape of a Packard.

The story goes that when James Ward Packard bought a Winton in 1898 he was so disillusioned with his purchase that he took it back to the maker, Alexander Winton, and expressed his disappointment to such an extent that he was told that if he thought he could do better, then go do it. So he did.

A year later, James and his brother William produced the first of five Model A Packards before the Model B – effectively the first production Packard – was introduced in 1900. Then followed a steady stream of models and updates as Packard attempted to show Winton how it should be done. By 1901, millionaire William D Rockefeller had switched his motoring allegiance from Winton, and in 1903 an F was driven from San Francisco to New York in 61 days, bettering the time set by a Winton by two days. Point proven.

But James was not to be part of the burgeoning success. Businessman Henry B Joy had brought some needed Detroit investment to the company that resulted in the factory moving to Motor City in 1903, leaving James and William behind. By this time wealthy US East Coast residents had quickly taken to Packard and the name was being identified with affluence, and one can only wonder how much of this could be attributed to a novel advertising tag line that first appeared in late-1901, ‘Ask the man who owns one’. It was an approach that would endure throughout Packard’s history.

Fast forward to the Roaring ’20s and by then Packard was recognised as one of America’s leading auto makers, a name synonymous with fine cars, its statuesque grille (introduced in 1903) pointing to a way of life amongst the well-to-do. The company had sold more cars in foreign lands than all the other American makers combined, and it was said, “Rest your finger anywhere on the slowly revolving globe and there you will find Packard”. Then the stock market collapsed. With so much success deep-rooted in the pre-Depression era, Packard’s engineers defied the gloom and set about the challenge of being ready for when the good times rolled again, with the straight-eight engine first seen in 1923 a focal point, and the introduction (in 1935) of a cheaper Junior range. To launch the ’34, Packard gathered 1 200 dealers and sales executives to Detroit to be introduced to the new car and let them drive home in one believing it to be “the yardstick for which all fine cars in the future will be measured”. Each dealership had books prepared citing the experiences of owners in the community, working on the principle that ‘Packards should be bought rather than sold. Ask the man who owns one’.
Built for the right-hand drive Canadian market, FMM’s Eleventh Series two-door, two-tone, pin-striped sedan is an imposing piece of machinery and seemingly quite unusual, built on a 147-inch (3 734 mm) wheelbase that was the common platform for a number of body styles at the time. The 384,8 cubic inch ( 6,3-litre) side-valve engine was apparently derived by mating a two-, a four- and another two-cylinder in-line to create a straight-eight, which was a most unusual engineering approach. As a result, the engine has an odd firing order but is nevertheless smooth in operation.

From its lofty seating position, the Packard provides a real ‘king of the road’ experience, impressing me greatly with its presence and performance. The majestic radiator mascot provides a stylish sighting line, and once used to the central accelerator pedal and the rather grabby all-mechanical drum brakes (when they bite it STOPS), the Packard pulls easily from walking pace with more torque than Jay Leno. Packard was the first with an H-pattern gearshift, and the long lever slipped neatly into position with the help of a surprisingly easy clutch. I soon learnt to appreciate the benefit of sitting close to a large-diameter steering wheel because this 2 360 kg aristocrat takes some heft to manoeuvre.

Although Packard most certainly could not have survived the Depression without the highly successful Junior models, they had the effect of diminishing the brand’s exclusive image among those few who could still afford an expensive luxury car. By the 1950s Packard had lost its stellar image and an ill-chosen partnership with Studebaker killed off Packard as an independent brand in 1956.

‘Ask the man... An old Packard never dies: it just sheds distinction’, but after driving this ’34 I would be the first to contest that claim. The nobility of it all is as evident today as it ever was. With images of Cary Grant and Mae West cruising down Santa Monica Boulevard in our minds, my wife and I drove under clear blue skies and tree-lined avenues with a star-struck tingle of Hollywood magic in our veins. Go on, ask me about it... MM (With kind acknowledgement to TopCar magazine, in which this article was published in 2011.)


Finally a reminder that this year’s Knysna Motor Show takes place on Sunday 1 May at Knysna High School sports fields on Waterfront Drive. The categories of vehicles on display at this quality event will be classic cars with a bias towards sports cars, modern potential classic cars, sports and supercars, veteran, vintage and post-vintage cars built prior to 1940 and veteran, vintage and classic road and racing motorcycles.

Since its inception, the show has been the source of much needed funds for local charities and over the past four years close to R200 000 has been raised. Gates open to the public from 09h30 to 16h00 and the entrance charges are is R40 adults, R10 scholars 12-to-18 and no charge for children under 12. For more information contact Peter Pretorius on 082 321 4724 or peterp@afrihost.co.za or visit the website www.grmc.co.za or Facebook www.facebook.com/knysnamotorshow.

Then, the following weekend, the town hosts the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, which has become one of the most prestigious and exciting events on the local motor sport calendar. On May 6 more than 60 cars will be contesting Classic Car Friday, with 84 entries taking part in the King of the Hill and the all-new SuperCar Shootout on the Saturday and Sunday. 30 different makes will be represented including Jaguar, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche. Des Gutzeit will back to defend his King of the Hill title in his radical Nissan GT-R but his current 40,148-sec record time will be under threat from numerous challengers.

General entry and pit tickets for this year’s seventh running of the Hillclimb are available in advance through www.iTickets.co.za – a convenient online portal to purchase and obtain all your tickets for this event. MM


When BMW SA celebrated the mother company’s centenary celebrations in March with a huge Heritage function at the plant in Rosslyn, near Pretoria, FMM was honoured to be invited to take part in the proceedings by putting on a display of some of the museum’s BMW cars and motorcycles. FMM curator Wayne Harley and technician Deon de Waal travelled up with the vehicles, which attracted a lot of enthusiastic attention from the gathering of all the employees, said to have totaled around 3 500. The ex-Madiba 760Li Security Edition was the star attraction. “It’s amazing just how powerful an icon Nelson Mandela still is today,” says Wayne. BMW SA Managing Director Tim Abbott and General Manager for Group Communications Diederik Reitsma both expressed their deep appreciation for the museum’s support.

The vehicles were driven in a Heritage Display around the facility before being loaded back onto transporters and returned to FMM where they are back on public display. WH


Last September the museum was honoured with a visit from one of Italy’s foremost auto designers Leonardo Fioravanti and his son, Luca. Leonardo designed many classic Ferraris while working for styling house Pininfarina and his visit to the museum was met with a gathering of Ferraris organised by SEFAC, the local owners club. Leonardo and Luca were highly impressed with the museum and have kept in touch since their visit.
After leaving Pininfarina, Leonardo founded his own design company – that is now run by Luca – which developed a strong presence in Japan, where a three-month show honouring his work was opened in March in Nagoya. “The spontaneous enthusiasm, interest and affection showed by the Japanese have been beyond any expectations, giving us the push and motivation for future initiatives,” said a proud Leonardo.
FMM congratulates Leonardo on such a notable tribute. MM  


On April 23 FMM Newsletter editor Mike Monk and his wife Wendy reached a personal milestone when they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary with a family lunch. Married in Coventry, England, they emigrated to South Africa with their two sons in December 1970 and have been part of the local motoring scene ever since.
Apart from spells in product development for Ford and Leyland, Mike worked for Technicar and Car magazines before retiring from the latter in 2011. Since then he has edited Automobil before going freelance and, as well as contractual media work for FMM, he is a monthly contributor to TopCar, Classic Car Africa, Motor and AA Traveller magazines.
Amongst her talents, Wendy is a short story writer and an avid researcher both in family history and pre-/early post-war South African motor sport, and is currently helping noted historians in the UK on ERA and Maserati exploits in SA. She occasionally helps Mike out with car photography.


In the April/May issue of Classic Car Africa magazine there will be extended features on FMM’s Honda NSX and Opel Olympia.


May 1: Knysna Motor Show
May 1: Buick/Cadillac/Oldsmobile/Pontiac concours, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
May 2-7: Triumph Sports Car Club National Gathering, Hartenbos
May 6-8: Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, Knysna
May 14: Africa Endurance Series 3-Hour & Power Series Round 3, Killarney Raceway
May 14: Extreme Festival Round 4, Scribante Raceway, Port Elizabeth
May 14: Track Day Round 2, Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone
May 14-16: Centenary Car Club KZN meander, Pietermaritzburg
May 15: Cars in the Park, Alexander Park, Pietermaritzburg
May 21: Extreme Festival Round 5, Zwartkops
May 22: Cars on the Roof, Kolonnade Retail Park, Pretoria
May 22: VVC Piston Ring Red Car Day, 4th Avenue, Parkhurst
Jun 4: Extreme Festival Round 4 & GTC Africa Round 1, Scribante Raceway, Port Elizabeth
Jun 4: Historic Tour Round 4, Dezzi Rceway, Port Shepstone
Jun 4: Regional races, East London
Jun 4: POMC Mampoer Rally
Jun 11: Vryheid Old Car Show, Lucas Meyer Primary School
Jun 12: V&V Car and Bike Day, POMC clubhouse
Jun 12-16: Milligan Run
Jun 18: Power Series Round 4, Killarney Raceway
Jun 18: Extreme Festival Round 6 & GTC Africa Round 2, Kyalami

(Clubs and organisations are invited to send details of upcoming events to mike4m@telkomsa.net for inclusion in Exhaust Blips.)


The Franschhoek Motor Museum is situated on the L’Ormarins Estate along the R45 in the Franschhoek Valley in the Western Cape, which is approximately a one hour/75 km drive from central Cape Town.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10h00 to 18h00 (last admittance 16h00), Saturday and Sunday 10h00 to 17h00 (last admittance 15h00) – the museum is open on most public holidays.

Admission prices are R60 adults, R50 pensioners and motor club members (with membership ID), R30 children (ages 3-12).

Guided tours are available upon request. An on-site delicatessen serves food and refreshments, while tasting and purchasing of the estate’s wines is also offered. Modern ‘charabanc’ rides through L’Ormarins to adjoining wine farms are also available.

Tel: 021 874 9000 Fax: 021 874 9100 E-mail: fmm.co.za Web: www.fmm.co.za
View cars currently on display.
Newsletter text by Mike Monk.

Copyright © 2016 The Franschhoek Motor Museum, All rights reserved.