Our August newsletter featuring the following articles: Wayne’s working wanderings, Heidi visits SA, Collection in action – T, A taste of Italy, SA festival of motoring, National Concours reminder, Exhaust blips, Dates to diarise and more.
image header
Like
Tweet
Forward to Friend

WAYNE’S WORKING WANDERINGS

The beginning of August was a busy time for FMM’s curator Wayne Harley as he had a busman’s holiday in Germany as a working guest of renowned international auctioneer house, Coys of London. Wayne was invited by the CEO of Coys, Chris Routledge, to help out at the company’s first visit to the annual Schloss Dyck ‘Das Klassiker und Motorfestival’, one of Germany’s most glamorous and well-respected historic motoring events. Chris acts as the overseas consultant to the museum and invited Wayne to take part in the set-up and running of Coys first auction at the venue, in the process experiencing the organisation of such a major event.
 
Schloss Dyck is situated in the municipality of Jüchen in Rhein-Kreis Neuss, around 15 km south-east of Mönchengladbach, and is one of the country’s most important water castles. Similar in some ways to the Festival of Speed and Revival meetings held at Goodwood in the UK, Schloss Dyck provides a magnificent backdrop for a motoring festival that as well as the prestigious auction includes a concours d’elegance and demonstration runs around the grounds of the castle. The weekend event attracts a crowd approaching 50 000 people on each of the days, but attendance control was “first rate,” says Wayne, “even to marshalling people over the bridge over the moat that involved queuing for about 10 minutes. Everyone was patient. No traffic jams getting in and out and the grounds were always spotless – no litter, no over-full bins. All the activities on the event’s programme began on time. Everything was organised and run efficiently in typical German fashion,” he adds with a smile.
 
Over 80 classic and sports cars came under the hammer in the auction, which was a success with 85 per cent of the lots sold. Of the many interesting vehicles to be auctioned, the ones that caught Wayne’s attention were a 1954 Porsche 356 pre-A Cabriolet once owned by the Swedish Royal Family, a 1942 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sprint Le Mans Berlinetta and a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Indianapolis 500 pace car with just 198 miles (316 km) on the odometer. As an indication of the range of vehicles on view was a 1957 Messerschmitt KR200 alongside a 1972 Ferrari Daytona with just 500 km on the odo after a comprehensive restoration. Different strokes for different folks...
 
“The concours was exceptional,” says Wayne, “with categories for practically every type of vehicle. And each participant was treated exactly the same, irrespective of whether their vehicle was humble or majestic. The demonstration runs around the 3,5-km ‘circuit’ were also a feast for the eyes. Because of strict safety measures and the fact it was on cordoned-off public roads, the runs were not at high speed but, as a result, spectator vantage points were close to the action and afforded some excellent photographic opportunities.”
 
Naturally, such events attract many famous motoring personalities and Wayne was delighted to be able to meet and chat with one of his heroes, Walter Röhrl. The 69-year-old German’s racing and rallying career included works drives and numerous victories for Fiat, Opel, Lancia, Audi, Porsche, Ford and BMW. Amongst his many successes, Walter was European, African, World (twice) rally champion and won the over 3,0-litre GTP category in the 1981 Le Mans. “A very pleasant and easy guy to talk to,” says Wayne. The brief meeting was a photo opportunity not to be missed.
 
Wayne thoroughly enjoyed his trip despite hurting his knee while helping lay carpet in the Coys pavilion, and took the opportunity to extend his stay with Chris and the pair visited a few other museums in a road trip away from Germany through Belgium, Holland and France on their way back to England. MM
 

HEIDI VISITS SA

No, not the children’s book character, but Heidi Hetzer, a 77-year-old former mechanic, automobile dealer and rally driver who is driving around the world in a 1930 Hudson. Diminutive Heidi is more or less following in the tracks of German woman Clärenore Stinnes, who made a similar journey from 1927 to 1929. Heidi began her journey in Berlin in 2014 from where she travelled south to Istanbul, then roughly east to China, then south to Malaysia. From there she went to Australia and New Zealand before sailing across to Los Angeles. Much of 2015 was spent in the USA and Canada before Heidi drove to Patagonia and cross the southern Atlantic to South Africa. Heidi’s journey is a little behind schedule – the plan was to complete the trip also in two years – but the adventure is still in full swing.
 
Together with an entourage of numerous Cape Town vintage and classic car enthusiasts, on August 23 Heidi spent a day at FMM looking at the exhibits and to have lunch. Her car is due to be offloaded at Cape Town Harbour on 29 August and she will be driving the car to various functions in early September before loading up the car and making her way back home. MM
Image

COLLECTION IN ACTION – T

An alphabetical series of short driving impressions of some of the museum’s car collection. This month we look at a model from one of the auto world’s more innovative manufacturers that was situated behind the Iron Curtain, in Czechoslovakia.

Tatra is one of the automotive world’s less-recognised manufacturers, yet its origins go back to 1850, making it the third oldest company with an unbroken history still making vehicles. Founded as Schustala & Company and later renamed Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft, the company produced the first motor car in central Europe in 1897. The name Tatra, which stemmed from the Tatra Mountains on what was then the Polish-Czechoslovak border, was adopted in 1919. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Tatra was producing some radical machines led by a talented Austrian designer Hans Ledwinka.
 
Not least of these was a series of aerodynamic, rear-engined cars simply titled T77, T77a and T87, the styling of which was done in consultation with Paul Jaray, who had worked at Luftschiffbau Zeppelin (LZ). Jaray had gained experience with the aerodynamic design of airships and he used LZ’s wind tunnels to establish the streamlining principles for car design. In 1927 he founded a company specialising in developing streamlined car bodies but Tatra was the only manufacturer to make use of his expertise (under licence) for a production car.
 
In 1936 Tatra decided to introduce an ‘entry level’ T-series model. Under the guidance of Hans, the T97 was created by Erich Ledwinka, one of Hans’ sons, and a German design engineer Erich Überlacker. It was a scaled down, flat-four-engined version of the V8-engined T-series cars.
 
FMM’s 1938 T97 was previously part of the famous Greyvensteyn collection. It was partially renovated some years ago and although its light metallic blue paintwork is not original, the colour actually suits the car. Considering its age, the car can be forgiven a few blemishes. Part of the dramatic styling  is a ridge emanating from just above the sloping windscreen that runs back over the roof to become a ‘shark fin’ tail that splits the rear window. The T97 was one of the most aerodynamic cars of its time with an impressive drag coefficient of just 0,36 despite the ‘frog eye’ headlamps. Full rear wheelarch spats help smooth the air flow past the car.
Front and rear doors are hinged on the B-pillar, and have flush-fitting handles. Although trimmed in pleated leather, the front seat design is what can best be described as utilitarian. To be fair, they are wide and surprisingly comfortable despite the less-than-generous padding, and the backrest carries a full-width grab rail for rear seat passengers. The door panels carry house elasticated pockets and at either end of the metal dashboard there are small, lidded gloveboxes. The speedo and fuel gauge are supplemented with a non-original clock. The cream-coloured Bakelite steering wheel rim has, inevitably, cracked with time but the wire-spring spokes help evoke period charm.
 
The view out front and to the side is excellent thanks to the deep glasshouse but to the rear vision is limited through a small vertical, rectangular window in the bulkhead immediately behind the rear seat. This, in turn, allows sighting through the split rear window in the massive, one-piece, top-hinged engine cover – it is a bit like looking backwards through a telescope.
 
To start the car, turn and push the ignition key then pull up on a lever mounted down alongside the floor tunnel – a cable runs backwards to the starter motor. And it starts instantly. The floor-mounted pedals are offset to the left and the car pulls away with ease. The gearbox is a four-speed with a fairly close gate.
 
Powering the T97 is an air-cooled 1 749 cm3 boxer motor producing 30 kW at 3 500 r/min. A narrow intake just above the bumper feeds air to the front-mounted oil cooler while ear-like scoops on the C-pillars force air into the engine bay. The T97 is surprisingly light (1 150 kg) considering how heavy the front and rear hoods are, but the T97 was claimed to sprint from 0-100 km/h in 44,2 seconds and reach a top speed of 130 km/h. Thanks  to its aerodynamics and gearing, it was capable of cruising all day at 110 km/h without fuss.
The T97 is built on a pressed steel platform with a central tube for added strength. It boasts independent suspension all round and the ride is remarkably smooth and relaxing. Rack-and-pinion steering offers good control and feedback and hydraulic drum brakes provide good stopping ability. Whether on tar or gravel, the T97 is one of those cars that the more you drive it the more impressed you become with its simple, fuss-free nature.        
But there is a twist to the T97 tale. At the time of its development, Ferdinand Porsche was busy working on a KdF-Wagen prototype – which became known as the Beetle. As you will have realised, there are similarities in the design and technical specifications of both cars. The story goes that Hitler had ridden in Tatras during political tours of Czechoslovakia and had even dined with Ledwinka on numerous occasions. Hitler remarked to Porsche, "This is the car for my roads" and subsequently Ledwinka and Porsche met regularly to discuss their designs. Under pressure to produce a ‘car for the people’ quickly, Porsche reportedly did admit to having ‘looked over Ledwinka's shoulders' while designing the Volkswagen. As a result,  Tatra sued Porsche for damages and Porsche was willing to settle but the agreement was cancelled by Hitler after Czechoslovakia was invaded by the Nazis. Production of the T97 was immediately halted and the lawsuit dropped. However, after the war the lawsuit was reopened and in 1965 the matter was settled when VW paid Tatra what is said to have been one million Deutsche Mark in compensation.
 
The T97 was built between 1936 and 1939 and only 508 were manufactured. In 1945 Tatra was nationalised and production of the pre-war models resumed, but the T97 was soon dropped in favour of the larger and more modern T600 Tatraplan. Today, the company is known more for its truck operation, but the models that appeared in the 1930s represented some of automotive history’s more fascinating developments – and not a little notoriety in the process. The Beetle may have conquered the world, but Tatra helped sow the seed of success. MM

A TASTE OF ITALY

The latest change to the museum’s exhibits is in Hall B where 10 of FMMs Italian collection have been placed on view. The cars are a 1922 Isotta Fraschini  Tipo 8, 1939 Fiat Topolino, 1947 Lancia Aprilia, 1947 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Berlinetta, 1955 Moretti 750S, 1956 Maserati 150S, 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Competizione, 1965 Alfa Romeo 2,6 Berlina, 1972 Alfa Romeo Montreal and a 1985 Maserati Quattroporte. KR

SA FESTIVAL OF MOTORING

2016 marks new beginnings for the South African Motor Show with the launch of the SA Festival of Motoring taking place from August 31-September 4 at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and Conference Centre. As well as providing an opportunity to experience the new revamped, iconic South African race circuit, the venue will provide the ideal setting at which to celebrate motoring in South Africa from vintage to classic cars to the latest models. Visitors will be able to experience a test drive in their dream car around the legendary circuit.

The Festival promises to be a crowd pleaser for both car enthusiasts and families looking for an entertaining day out. The event remains South Africa's only official and premier auto show but has expanded its offering to feature attractions including food, fashion, kids' entertainment and celebrity moments. Live music will add to the vibe.

As always, new vehicle models will be unveiled together with sneak previews of the upcming introductions to the South African market.

NATIONAL CONCOURS REMINDER

The inaugural Concours South Africa 2016 is being held at Sun City on September 9-11. The estimated 160 entries have been divided into nine categories, and FMM curator Wayne Harley will be one of the celebrity judges alongside SA’s Mr Motor Racing, Sarel van der Merwe, social commentator and journalist David Bullard, and noted Porsche and classic car collector Marius Malherbe. Apart from the concours there will be a Show-n-Shine event on the spectacular Sun City lawns bordering the golf course and the tennis courts. For more information on Concours SA logon to www.concourssa.co.za.  MM

EXHAUST BLIPS

In the September issue of TopCar magazine (already on sale) there is a feature story on FMM’s Mazda Cosmo 110S Sport. In the upcoming September issue of Classic Car Africa magazine there will be an extended feature on FMM’s 1938 Tatra T97 featured in this newsletter.

DATES TO DIARISE:

Aug 28: Ferdi’s Swap Meet, Midrand
Aug 31-Sep 4: SA Festival of Motoring, Kyalami Convention Centre, Midrand

Sep 3: Power Series Round 7, Killarney Raceway
Sep 3: Africa Endurance Series Round 4 & Extreme Festival Round 9, Zwartkops
Sep 3: Wheels at the Vaal, Vanderbijlpark
Sep 4: BMW Car Club Gauteng concours, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton
Sep 9-11: Concours South Africa, Sun City
Sep 10: Midas Historic Tour Round 5, Phakisa Raceway
Sep 10: Regional races Round 6, Scribante Raceway, PLZ
Sep 17: Inland Championship Round 7, Zwartkops
Sep 18: Piston Ring Swap Meet, Modderfontein
Sep23-25: Volvo Club National Saamtrek-Gariep Dam, Maselspoort, Bloemfontein
Sep 24: Extreme Festival Round 10, Killarney Raceway
Sep 24: Historics Round 7 & Border Races Round 5, East London
Sep 24: SAVVA National ‘Drive It’ Day

Oct 1: Whales and Wheels Show, Hermanus
Oct 2: POMC Air-cooled Motor Show, Silverton, Pretoria
Oct 8: Historics Tour Round 6, Zwartkops
Oct 8: Top End Run, East London GP Circuit
Oct 15: Power Series Round 8, Killarney Raceway
Oct 15: Africa Endurance Series 3-Hour and Regional Races Round 7, Scribante Raceway, PLZ
Oct 15: Inland Championship Round 8, Midvaal Raceway
Oct 22: Extreme Festival Round 11, Kyalami
Oct 29: Classic Cars at the Mall, Tshwana Chinese Mall
Oct 30: Studebaker Show Day, Irene


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

WHERE, WHAT TIMES
AND HOW MUCH


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.
Facebook
Twitter
Website
Email
Newsletter text by Mike Monk.

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