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Our February newsletter featuring the following articles: On Two Wheels, Getting to grip, Remembering Koos, Stewart and the 6CM, Concours Judge, Collection in Action – Z, Dates to diarise and more.
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Better known for its car collection, FMM also has an eclectic mix of motorcycles that are routinely brought out and put on view to complement the four-wheeler displays. Being an all-round motor nut, curator Wayne Harley regularly exercises some of the machines and early in February took the opportunity to take part in the Crankhandle Club’s Kalk Bay Veteran Run riding a 1917 Triumph Model H. Also known as the Type H and The Trusty, a total of 57 000 Model H’s were made from 1915 until production ended in 1923.

With sunny skies all the way, the route ran from the club’s Headquarters in Wynberg along the peninsula to the finish in Simon’s Town where lunch was taken. Every vehicle that took part was 100 years old or more. The Triumph never missed a beat and ran in convoy with the other two motorcycles that took part, a 1914 New Hudson ridden by Brian Wallace (who had assisted Wayne in preparing the Triumph) and a 1914 Douglas with Adrian Denness in the saddle. Along with all the other competitors, Wayne thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was kept busy answering questions from the big crowd at the finish where plenty of photographs were taken. A satisfying event all round.

Wayne will also be taking part in the 104th Durban to Johannesburg Motorcycle Rally – the DJ Run – on 10-11 March riding the late Ian Brodie’s 1934 Triumph 350 3/1 sponsored by Marius Malherbe. The 700 km reliability and regularity trial runs from Hillcrest to an overnight stop in Newcastle then on to the finish in Germiston. MM


As part of FMM’s maintenance and service programme for its collection, some vehicles require specialist attention and the 1994 McLaren F1 road car’s turn came up in February. The car needed a new clutch and overall thorough inspection and with the factory not proving to be helpful, the museum’s UK consultant Chris Routledge suggested the task be offered to Paul Lanzante, who duly flew out from the UK to tend to the car.
Founded by Paul in the 1970s, Lanzante Limited specializes in service and restoration of classic cars, while also participating in modern and historic racing under the Lanzante Motorsport title. The team won the 1995 Le Mans 24-hour with a McLaren F1 GTR for McLaren Automotive, making the McLaren the first car and Lanzante the first team to win on debut at Le Mans. This success led to Lanzante Ltd becoming a service centre for road and race McLarens. These days, Paul’s son, Dean, leads the company and also races.
Paul has had an illustrious career in motor sport, including running a 1976/7 six-wheeler Tyrrell P34 as raced by Jody Scheckter. “Paul is a real down to earth guy with an encyclopaedic knowledge on McLaren F1 cars. We are looking forward this working relationship with him,” says Wayne. WH


At the Passion for Speed race meeting at Killarney on 4 February, FMM was proud to provide the transport for Elize Swanepoel in the parade to celebrate the life of her husband Koos, who sadly passed away on 29 January, aged 81. Koos was a South African motor racing legend and raced numerous saloon and sports cars during his long career.

A life-time Capetonian, Koos was predominantly a Ford man and his battles with arch-rival Transvaaler Basil van Rooyen in Lotus-Cortinas and Mustangs are legendary, attracting huge crowds of spectators wherever they raced. In his later years, he successfully ran his own tuning shop and prepared many successful racing cars, some driven with inherent Swanepoel gusto by son Kosie Junior. Oom Koos was also a popular speaker at motor sport gatherings, describing his memories of the sport and its characters his memory with remarkable clarity and humour.

To help celebrate his life, Koos’ wife of 52 years, Elize, was joined by other family members in FMM’s 1965 Mustang convertible driven by Lorenzo Farella at the head of the long parade around the circuit, which was applauded by the large and appreciative crowd of spectators.

FMM sends its sincere condolences to Elize and the rest of Swanepoel family. RIP Oom Koos. MM


One of the founding editors of Classic Car Africa back in December 1994, Ken Stewart recently visited FMM and was treated to museum’s 1937 Maserati 6CM being exercised on the L’Ormarins Estate’s Plaaspad. Ken is an acknowledged authority on the early history of the Italian make and was familiar with the car’s history and racing exploits. The sight and sound of the ex-works supercharged six-cylinder voiturette certainly thrilled the octogenarian. MM     


The second Concours South Africa will be held at Sun City alongside the Gary Player Country Club from August 3-6, and as last year FMM’s curator Wayne Harley will be one of the judges. This year the organisers are planning for 150 entries across a more tightly-defined array of categories and discussions have already been held with Wayne to finalise the details, which will be posted on the event’s website Winners will be announced at a glamorous prize giving on Sunday 6 August. Last year’s Show and Shine winner was a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL owned by Botha’s Hill resident Manana Nhlanhla, who has already indicated that she will enter this year’s event with more than one vehicle. This year’s event will also include an international conference on ‘value in the classic car market’, which will be held on Thursday 3 August. MM


An alphabetical series of short driving impressions of some of the museum’s car collection. This month we reach the end of the line with a little and rare French charmer that sadly lost its stripes...
Among the automotive world’s pioneering countries, France was in the forefront of burgeoning manufacturers, one of which was Le Zèbre, founded in October 1909 by Julius Solomon and Jacques Bizet. Solomon was a young graduate of the School of Commerce and Industry in Bordeaux, and began his career at Rouart Brothers, who were engine makers. Bizet, the son of famed composer Georges, was a car dealer and is said to have provided financial backing to the business. They met while both were working for Georges Richard, a French racing driver and automobile industry pioneer.
Le Zèbre, unsurprisingly, means zebra, but why a French company would name itself after an African member of the horse family is a surprise. But according to the make’s historian Philip Schram, the reason is that Solomon and Bizet opted to not give their names to the car but rather adopted the nickname of a clerk who they both once worked with. Now why he was called Le Zèbre is not known…
The first Le Zèbre, the Type A, was a light car built on a chassis supplied by S.U.P. who also provided the engine, the exact capacity of which is in some doubt as it is variously given as 530, 603 and 616 cm3. Power rating was 5 hp (3,7 kW) at 1 200 r/min. Front-mounted, the water-cooled single-cylinder vertical engine was mated with a two-speed gearbox with shaft drive to the rear wheels. In 1912, the engine size was increased to 645 cm3 – raising power to 6 hp (4,5 kW) – and a third ratio added to the gearbox.
Records state that the first 50 Type As were built at the Unic factory before the company established its own facility in Puteaux in the western suburbs of Paris. Selling for Ff3 000, the car was cheaper than its competition and was a sales success, staying in production until 1917 by which time 1 772 had been sold. But in July that year, Solomon joined his compatriot Andrè Citroën full-time and two years later Citroën was founded as a motor manufacturer in its own right. Le Zèbre had lost its jockey.

The forerunner to FMM, the Heidelberg Transport Museum, acquired this car from the Patrick Chapman collection in the mid-1970s. I approached driving this more than a century old car with a sense of wonderment and just looking at its petite stance – its wheelbase is 1 803 mm, which is shorter than I am tall – gave me a slight feeling of apprehension. So simple yet somehow elegant, the Le Zèbre shone in the hot summer sun, its gleaming red paintwork and abundance of brass fittings sparkling in the brightness of the day. Stepping up onto the winged and button-tufted leather dual seat merely heightened the prospect, the remarkably small thick-rim wooden steering wheel superb to hold. Once FMM’s workshop technician Donny Tarentaal had primed the oil feed and fuel supply, a half-turn of the starting handle was enough to bring the single-pot into life.
Another surprise was to find the pedal layout to be as we know it today, but the accelerator is bent slightly off to the right, close to the edge of the floorboard, which was going to require care once on the move. At this point, the purpose of a fourth ‘pedal’, rigidly fixed to the floor above and to the left of the accelerator, was unclear…

According to this car’s engine plate, the naturally-aspirated vertical engine is the early 5 hp unit, yet the gearbox is a three-speed first introduced with the 6 hp motor, so how this pairing came about is a mystery. Gears are selected by an outboard lever working through a straight, notched gate that, on this car, had understandably become a bit loose after more than a century of use. But once a slight jerk indicated engagement via the leather clutch, the Le Zèbre pulls away with more zest than single-digit horsepower suggests. First is naturally low but once on the move, gentle shoves on the lever brings the two other gears into action and the car surges – er, make that quickens – forward with new-found strength.

It is light – 350 kg kerb weight – and top speed was said to be 30 mph (48 km/h), which in context is quite a heady velocity. Soft, all-round semi-elliptic springs provide a comfortable ride and the steering is direct and far from heavy, riding on 26x3-inch tyres mounted on artillery wheels. The mechanical rear drum brakes do their job without having to apply excessive force.
Once settled into top gear, phut-phutting along leaving a faint trail of smoke in its wake, driving the Le Zèbre proved to be a real joy. Care had to be taken to not knock the gear lever out of position as the lever provides a natural rest for the right leg as a result of the accelerator position. That fourth pedal? Back at the workshop discussing the drive, Donny had a light bulb moment: placing the ball of the foot on the fixed pedal, you can operate the accelerator with your heel. Not exactly instinctive, but the prospect puts a fresh take on heeling ’n toeing…
And to clear up another oddity, the brass badge on the radiator has caused some confusion. The stylised wording says simply ‘Zèbra’. When compared with the company’s official badge, the ‘Le’ is missing, and the name should be ‘Zèbre’. But some cars were sold in England under the name Zebra, and badged accordingly. A famous AC dealer in London, F B Goodchild Ltd, was the UK agent from, apparently, 1914, and it is fair to assume this car was imported from England with its Runabout body and must be a rare remaining example badged as a Zebra. Its registration number, A2180, is original and confirms the car being first registered in London.

Coincident with the Type A’s mechanical upgrade, at the 1912 Paris Salon the company introduced two four-cylinder models, and more than 1 000 Le Zèbres were sold that year. During WWI, the company supplied 40 cars per month and various military parts to the Ministry of War once peace was restored, Le Zèbre became an endangered species as market leadership was quickly diminished as the demand for cheap small cars rose rapidly, leading to the creation of a plethora of other manufacturers keen to get in on the act. Despite the introduction of more new models, the fate of Le Zèbre was doomed and despite an appearance at the 1931 Paris Salon, later in the year the factory was forced to close.

Sadly, this four-wheeled equid had not only lost its stripes; it became extinct. MM


A well-known personality in motorcycle and motorcycle racing circles, Clive Strugnell (69), passed away suddenly on February 17. Clive was a motorcycle correspondent for Dirt & Trail, Ride Fast and SA Hot Rod magazines. FMM extends its heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends. MM


Look for a full write-up of FMM’s Le Zèbre and 1950 Jaguar XK120 Lightweight in the March issue of Classic Car Africa magazine.


Feb 25: Mopar SA Endurance Championship & SA GT Challenge, Phakisa, FS
Feb 25: Regional races, Scribante Raceway, PLZ
Mar 4: Regional races, Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone
March 4-5: Vintage Tractor Fair, Clocolan
Mar 5: Any Dam Wheels Day, Krugersdorp
Mar 11: Regional races, East London GP circuit
Mar 11: Regional races, Redstar Raceway, Mpumalanga
Mar 10-11: D-J Motorcycle Rally, Hillcrest to Germiston
Mar 18-20: OD Inggs Regularity Run, Port Alfred
Mar 21: Regional Extreme Festival races, Zwartkops, PTA
Mar 25: National Extreme Festival races, Killarney Raceway, CPT
Mar 25: Regional races, Scribante Raceway, PLZ
Mar 30-Apr 9: Stars of Sandstone, Ficksburg
Mar 31-Apr 1: Wings and Wheels, Uitenhage
April 2: Angela’s Picnic, Delta Park, JHB
Apr 8: Inland Championship races, Zwartkops, PTA
Apr 8: Regional races, Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone
Apr 8: Border races, East London GP circuit
Apr 16: Classic Motorcycle Century Run, Durban
Apr 22: Mopar SA Endurance Championship & SA GT Challenge, Killarney Raceway, CPT
Apr 22: Regional Extreme Festival races, Phakisa, FS
Apr 22: Regional races, Scribante Raceway, PLZ
Apr 29: Regional races, Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone
Apr 30: Knysna Motor Show, Knysna
May 5-7: Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, Knysna
May 7: Buick/Cadillac/Oldsmobile/Pontiac Concours, The Country Club, Auckland Park, JHB

(Clubs and organisations are invited to send details of upcoming events to 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:
April to November
Monday to Friday 10h00 to 17h00 (last admittance 16h00),
Saturday and Sunday 10h00 to 16h00 (last admittance 15h00).

December to March
Monday to Friday 10h00 to 18h00 (last admittance 17h00),
Saturday and Sunday 10h00 to 17h00 (last admittance 16h00).
The museum is open on most public holidays except Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Admission prices are R80 adults, R60 pensioners and motor club members (with membership ID), R40 children (ages 3-12).
Guided tours are available upon request at no charge. 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: Web:
View cars currently on display.
Newsletter text by Mike Monk.

Copyright © 2017 The Franschhoek Motor Museum, All rights reserved.