Our April newsletter featuring the following articles: Cape Alfa turns 50, Wild fire, Collection in action, Model makers, PMB cars in the park, Exhaust blips.
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Over the Easter weekend the Cape Alfa Romeo Club celebrated its 50th birthday and the club turned the landmark event into a national convention and thus celebrate properly. The festivities began on the Friday at the Tygervalley Protea Hotel with members joined by fellow ‘alfisti’ from Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Garden Route. On the Saturday morning a convoy made its way to the Franschhoek Motor Museum for a Concours d’Elegance, which took place in the quad on the immaculate lawns with the rest of the member’s cars displayed in front of the four exhibition halls. Some of FMM’s Alfa Romeos were also on display. Mid-morning saw the arrival of more Alfa’s as the Giulietta Tour joined the party after a three day run through the Cape and along Route 62 taking in every mountain pass possible. It was Alfa heaven...
Lunch was held in Franschhoek at Alleé Bleue followed by a luxury bus trip to Table Bay for a sunset (champagne) cruise before dinner in the Waterfront. Durbanville Hills Wine Estate was the setting for Sunday breakfast then a trip to the Cape Alfa Romeo Club stand at Killarney Raceway for a few quick laps. Lunch, prizegiving and cutting the birthday cake took care of the afternoon.  Happy birthday CARC!
Incidentally, FMM’s workshop manager Lorenzo Farella’s father, Fred, is a founder member of the Cape club and now a life member. A family born with ‘Cuore Sportivo’... LF


The Cape is known for having some of the worst wild fires in South Africa that often leave vast areas destroyed, homes and businesses destroyed and animals maimed or even killed. Government, nature conservation and local farmers cannot fight these fires alone and that’s where the volunteer wildfire services (VWS) step in. The VWS is a non-profit organisation and on 19 April the Jonkershoek station held and trail run and awareness day at the Lievland Estate along the R44 to generate a few extra funds, and the Franschhoek Motor Museum sent along some its vehicles to add a little extra spirit to the day. The 1953 Merryweather and 1956 Bedford fire engines were the stars of the show along with 1946 Willys Jeep, DKW Monga and Citroën Mahari. Among the many attractions, visitors were treated to fire engine rides, snake handling demonstrations, helicopter water bombing and fire-fighting demonstrations. A Scottish pipe band played a few numbers. Museum staff joined the crowds in having a great time and making this a very enjoyable and successful day. WH          


An alphabetical series of short driving impressions of some of the museum’s car collection. This month we go behind the wheel in a ‘D’ for D-Type.

The D-Type Jaguar is one of motor sport’s most successful and iconic race cars, having scored a hat-trick of victories at the famous Le Mans 24-Hour race from 1955-57. FMM is home to one of the cars that took part and finished in the latter two of those races, chassis number XKD 573 that was entered on both occasions by Equipe Nationale Belge. With the annual endurance classic next taking place on 23-24 June, an opportunity to drive the 60-year-old survivor was one to be savoured. Driven by Freddy Rousselle and team principal Jacques Swaters, in 1956 the car finished fourth, a position repeated in 1957 when Rousselle and Paul Frére were at the wheel.
Owned by the Woods Trust and entrusted to FMM for upkeep and display, final proof has been found to confirm that although entered and run by the Belgian national racing team in 1956, the car was in fact a ‘works’ car. However, following a fire in February 1957 that nearly destroyed Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory, the company withdrew its racing team, so all five cars that competed in that year’s race were officially privateer entries.
The D-Type – introduced in late 1954 and built/raced during the following three years – was ground-breaking for its time, yet utilising many production-based components. Subframe-mounted independent front suspension was attached to a monocoque centre tub and the aerodynamically designed bodywork incorporated a stabilising fin. All-round disc brakes were a first and the alloy road wheels were retained by knock-off spinners. Powered by Jaguar’s iconic 3,4-litre in-line, six-cylinder, twin-cam XK engine that produced 186 kilowatts at 6 000 r/min, which was later improved to 212 kW at 5 750, the D-Type was capable of speeds reaching 280 km/h. At its Le Mans debut in 1954, it was measured to be almost 20 km/h faster down the Mulsanne Straight than the 4,9-litre V12 Ferrari.
Distinctive in its bright yellow paintwork, this rare short-nosed D-Type is still in its ‘as last raced’ condition, which simply adds to the car’s charisma – let alone value.
Stepping over the high sill and dropping down into the comfy leather bucket seat, gripping the wood-rimmed steering wheel and looking out over the louvred bonnet with its raised wheelarches and matching bonnet bulge was sheer bliss. Fresh from a clutch rebuild, XKD 573 fired up with a harsh, resounding crackle from its dual exhausts pinned alongside the near-side bodywork.
Once I had overcome the stiff, in/out clutch action by applying more revs, the 60-year-old D-Type simply rushed onwards, the gearshift proving to be mechanically precise. Although peak torque arrives above 4 000, once over 3 000 the motor really kicks in and the car simply rushes forward, the sensation heightened by being windswept as the shallow full-width screen offers little protection. The unassisted steering is not heavy and fairly direct while the brakes are reassuringly firm and responsive but, typical of cars of the period, applying power early on exiting corners simply caused the 6.50x16-inch Dunlops to step sideways, necessitating caution and concentration to avoid spinning off into the undergrowth. The likes of Rousselle, Swaters and Frére driving flat out in daylight and night-time, in rain and sun for 24 hours calls for the utmost admiration.     
Currently on view in Hall D, this significant Jaguar is one of FMM’s most prized exhibits by virtue of its track record and provenance, a tribute to the men who designed and built it and to the many famous drivers who helped make the D-Type one of the most revered cars in motor sport history. MM


While most motor sport enthusiasts can only dream of having the resources to own a famous South African race car or two, there is a way of doing so – in miniature. Three guys, Clayton Cunningham, Emil Sluiter and Ferdie Stone, created a group concentrating on recreating famous SA race cars in 1:43 scale, concentrating on   cars not produced by anyone else. They have two styles of building, one by modifying existing die-cast and resin models and using period reference material for best attention to detail and utilising self-made decals and wheels purchased from around the globe that best replicate the real items. The second process is by building  and modifying a prototype body to best replicate the actual car, then making a mould and making resin castings of the body and chassis, which are then detailed with Vacuform windows and  photo-etched and resin parts.
The models are sold both in kit form as well as completely built models in display boxes. The group’s plan is to make many iconic cars of the unforgotten golden era of RSA motorsport from the 9-Hour races, Wynns 1000, Group 1, Manufacturers’ Challenge, Group N, Wesbank Modifieds, etc. One-off custom builds are also undertaken for customers. For more information, contact Clayton at clayton@sprintdesign.co.za or 012 346 3118 or 082 824 7750.


This year’s Cars in the Park Show in Pietermaritzburg will be held at a new venue, the Ashburton Training Centre, and not at Alexandra Park as has been previously advertised in a number of publications. This very poplar annual event takes place on 17 May.


In the April/May issue of Classic & Performance Car Africa magazine there is a feature on FMM’s Porsche 912, a model that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In TopCar magazine’s series of articles on historic South African race circuits, the May issue features the tracks in Lourenço Marques and Angola. MM


April 26:          Crankhandle Club picnic run to FMM
April 24-27:     MacGregor Maluti Meander, Fouriesburg Country Inn
May 1-2:          Langebaan Festival
May 1-3:          Harvest Festival, Vaal Old Wheeler Club, Vaal River
May 2:             Festival Races, Phakisa
May 2:             Regional racing, Scribante, PLZ
May 9:             Knysna Motor Show, High School Fields, Waterfront Drive
May 9:             Historics 3 & Africa Endurance Series 1½-hour, Kyalami
May 14-17:     Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, Simola Estate, Knysna
May 16:          Circuit racing, Zwartkops
May 17:          Cars in the Park, Ashburton Training Centre, Pietermaritzburg
May 23-24:     SAVVA Motorcycle National, Drakensville, KZN
May 30:          Mampoer Rally, POMC, Pretoria
May 30:          Festival Races, Kyalami
Jun 6:             Power Series 3 & Africa Endurance Series 3-hour, Killarney
Jun 7:             Buick Club, Cadillac and Oldsmobile Chapters concours,
                       The Country Club, Auckland Park, JHB
Jun 13:           Vryheid Vintage Car Show, KZN
Jun 14:          Cars in the Mall, Rustenburg
Jun 28:          American Cars & Bikes, Piston Ring Club
(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.

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

Admission prices are R60 adults, R50 pensioners, R30 children. An on-site delicatessen offers refreshments and A Rupert Wines can be enjoyed.
In loving memory of Pedro Colvin Tarentaal who has been taken from us way to soon.
May he rest in peace.
24/06/1986 - 22/04/2015
Newsletter text by Mike Monk.

Copyright © 2015 The Franschhoek Motor Museum, All rights reserved.
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