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Our March newsletter featuring the following articles: Launch pad, D-J Mister 77, Moore visit, Jan the Beetle, Collection in action, Dates to diarise and more.
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LAUNCH PAD

Plaaspad, FMM’s test facility on the L’Ormarins Estate, has been a venue for some recent new car media launches and the latest company to make use of the facility was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles South Africa, who introduced the new Alfa Romeo Giulia to the mainstream local press in early-March. Two model lines were launched, three variants of the 2,0 turbo – Base, Super and Super with Stile Pack – and the range-topping 2,9-litre V6 Quadrafolio Verde (QV).  

This successful event is the latest vehicle launch to take place at FMM. In the past, all of the German Big Three manufacturers, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, have also used L’Ormarins as FMM provides a perfect motoring setting for such events. Media briefings are usually held in one of the display halls in company with a number of the particular manufacturer’s historic vehicles drawn from the museum’s collection. Plaaspad provides a challenging but safe venue for driving exercises away from public roads and under the control properly-trained FMM staff with regards to circuit-related activity. With on-site catering and museum tours as added attractions – along with the availability of the estate’s wines – the facility’s popularity is steadily increasing. MM

D-J MISTER 77

FMM curator Wayne Harley fulfilled a dream on 10-11 March when he took part in the Durban to Johannesburg Motorcycle Rally – the DJ Run. This year was the 104th running of this legendary event and for the occasion he rode the ex-Ian Brodie 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. Final preparation for the event was marred because of heavy rain on the Thursday night so Wayne was unable to actually ride the bike before the Friday morning start in order to get familiar with the machine. On a lighter side, registration also provided a small problem: his entry number plate was missing so he had to make up one using a blank and some black tape. Such was the quandary that for the rest of the event, Wayne was known as Mister 77, even though the original plate was later found.
 
Having studied the schedule as bedtime reading, Wayne was nervous at the start but was simply determined to finish. His start time 07h17 – 77 minutes after the first rider set off. The first 30 km went well until the bike’s amp gauge fell off and rolled and time was lost trying to find it. Then fuel starvation caused the bike to stall when going up steeper hills, forcing Wayne to push the bike to each of the summits. Attempts to fix the problem at subsequent fuel stops in Maritzburg and Mooi River cause more time loss without finding a lasting cure. A rear-view mirror fell off but was found – more time lost – before the lunch stop at Estcourt, where the fuel problem was finally fixed. The run to the overnight stop in Newcastle went without a hitch and Wayne ended the day in a respectable 71st position.
 
Day 2 began at the same start time with Wayne determined to do better. Road works on the road to Majuba caused a cancellation of a regularity section but otherwise the ride was going well. Wayne was now able to relax and enjoy the whole experience. From Volksrus to Standerton to a lunch stop at Heidelberg. A bit of the seat broke along the way but a MacGyver fix kept Wayne comfortably in the saddle. Heidelberg provided a nostalgia trip for FMM’s curator because the town was where Dr Anton Rupert established the motor museum where he began his career. The Heidelberg collection was the foundation of FMM when it was relocated to the Cape 10 years ago. Lunch was taken at the old Eskort bacon factory, and Wayne managed to catch up with many old friends who had come along to spectate.
 
The run to the finish in Germiston was trouble-free and Wayne improved his position by 10 places to 61st, despite the numerous hiccups along the way. “I am proud to have taken part in such an historic event,” he said after the prize giving where he received his finisher’s medal. “The organisers put a lot of effort into making it a success, and everyone involved is just so friendly, from the serious competitors to the straightforward enthusiasts. All along the way, spectators watch and wave as the riders pass by. It is a stunning experience.” MM

MOORE VISIT

Following on from Ken Stewart’s visit to FMM back in January, UK-based Simon Moore and his wife Elly paid a visit in March. Once described as motoring’s Sherlock Holmes, amongst his many motoring and historical achievements, Simon is renowned for writing the definitive histories on vintage Alfa Romeos and Maseratis to which Ken made some valuable contributions. Simon and Elly regularly holiday in SA and make a point of visiting Ken and his wife Jenny and now include FMM in their itinerary. Simon and Elly joined Mike & Wendy Monk and curator Wayne Harley for an afternoon walk through the museum and chat about ‘old car stuff’ before heading for the airport to catch their flight home. MM    

JAN THE BEETLE

Volkswagen’s automotive museum, AutoPavilion, has recently had an upgrade and one of its new displays is Jan the Beetle. In 1971, VWSA and Wheels magazine held a competition to find the oldest Beetle in South Africa. The winner was David Rubin of Middelburg, who received a brand-new 1300 Beetle in exchange for his car, Jan the Beetle, which was built on Wednesday 14 September 1949 in the original VW factory in Wolfsburg. Jan went on display around SA before coming to rest at the VW factory in Uitenhage where it was left in storage as his condition had deteriorated and could not be displayed. That changed when his condition was brought to the attention of Jan at VW, namely Jan Schiedek-Jacht, the Head of Product Engineering.

Schiedek-Jacht, who is a classic car enthusiast and expert offered to give Jan a new lease on life. Soon, highly qualified engineers from Product Engineering offered to help. "The team under the leadership of Jan Schiedek-Jacht donated their spare time to fully restoring Jan and the task took seven months. It was decided that Jan would be restored to his original condition and colour. As many original components as possible were repaired and restored, and only where required were new components sourced from special dealers in SA, Germany and the US.

Jan is now the jewel of the AutoPavilion vehicle collection in Uitenhage and in February successfully completed a 600 km round trip to the George Motor Show exactly 67 years 4 months 10 days after he was built

COLLECTION IN ACTION

Last month we concluded the alphabetical series of short driving impressions of some of the museum’s car collection. So while another theme is being put together, an opportunity to drive something special from Stuttgart was far too good to miss...
 
The latest addition to the FMM fleet is a highly desirable one-owner 1979 Porsche 930 Turbo. The 930 was given just to the Turbo model in the first-generation 911 numbering sequence, which runs:
 
Porsche 911 (1963–1989)
Porsche 964 (1989–1994)
Porsche 993 (1995-1998)
Porsche 996 (1999-2004 – all-new body and water-cooled engines)
Porsche 997 (2005-2011)
Porsche 991 (2012-2014)
Porsche 991.2 (2015-)

As can be seen, the 911 was introduced in 1963 and has been steadily developed ever since. A successor to the 356, it has become one of the world’s most iconic cars, even staving off an in-house threat from 1976 to 1995 by the front-engined 924/928/944/968 evolution as the company’s staple sports car offering. Despite having gone upmarket to make room for the more affordable Boxster/Cayman in the corporate line-up, the 911continues to thrive and there is no sign of any imminent demise.
 
The 930 was Porsche’s first turbocharged road car. Because of the changes made to the basic floorpan, it was given its own series number and was in production for no less than 14 years, from 1975 to 1989. The bodywork included the impact-absorbing bumpers that were adopted to meet US safety legislation in the USA, where the car was as much of a success as it was in Europe until emission laws forced its temporary withdrawal in 1980.
Using technology learnt from the 917/30 CanAm race car project, Ernst Fuhrmann began developing the Turbo motor in 1974 using a KKK turbocharged fitted to the fuel-injected Carrera RS 3,0 single overhead-cam flat-six engine. It delivered 191 kW at 5 500 r/min, compared with the 169 kW of the naturally-aspirated 2 994 cm3 motor, while peak torque was 354 N.m at 4 000 r/min. To handle the increased outputs, a revised suspension and larger brakes were added to the package as well as a stronger clutch and gearbox. But to the dismay of many, it was four- rather than five-speed. The now infamous ‘whale tail’ was adopted to improve air flow to the engine as well as adding some aerodynamic downforce and acted as a pelmet to massively-flared rear wheelarches. The car was launched at the Paris Motor Show in October 1974. Performance figures suggested 0-100 km/h in 5,5 seconds and a top speed of 246 km/h. It is thought that no other production car accelerated as quick.
 
In 1978 the engine capacity was increased to 3 299 cm3 and an air-to-air intercooler added under the slightly raised and re-profiled whale tail. With up to 1 bar of boost, peak power was raised to 224 kW, still at 5 000 r/min, and torque to 407 N.m, also at the same revs. To cope with the improved performance, the cross-drilled ventilated disc brakes were upgraded too. Wheels were enlarged to 16-inch.  Although the changes increased the car’s weight (to around 1 310 kg), the benchmark 0-100 km/h time dropped to 5,3 seconds while top speed was raised to 260 km/h, figures that many of today’s performance car’s would be pleased with. The extra mass and its location had more of an effect on the handling...
 
All 930s are left-hand drive and typically the floor-mounted pedals are offset to the right, but the slightly skew driving position is not that apparent once behind the fixed, padded three-spoke steering wheel, which sits close to the full-width facia. Although there is plenty of seat adjustment, for someone as tall and long-legged as me the position is a tad compromised yet somehow not too problematic. Five dials house the comprehensive instrumentation, which includes a central rev counter red-lined at 7 000, a 300 km/h speedo and a boost gauge. Oh, and there is an original Porsche-branded radio/cassette player.
 
It fires up with a long turn of the key and settles into an easy idle. The gearbox on this 150 000 km car is a bit slack so care will be necessary not to hook the wrong gear when pressing on. Pottering around is no real hardship except for the steering which is ‘sticky’ because of the grip of the tyres. Quiet and civilised. The leather seats have integral head restraints: the +2 rear seats with fold-down backrests are more akin to a child’s seat than anything an adult would fit into.
 
Like any performance machine, driving the 930 quickly requires concentration. All-independent suspension gives a naturally stiff ride around town but as speed rises it combines with the steering to give plenty of valuable feedback. On a clear stretch of tar, select third, press the accelerator and watch the revs rise as the notorious lag preludes the infamous kick and, sure enough, at 4 000 the boost comes on strong and immediately the 930’s raison d’être is apparent. The whoosh effect is electric and as max revs approach, shift into top for uninterrupted urge. Brakes are very effective.
Ah, but that is only part of the story. Twisties approach and the 911’s notoriety for being a ‘widow maker’ spring to mind as gear, turn-in and acceleration need to be balanced to make the 930 go where you want it to rather than kick ass and spin you off into the scenery. But those big tyres and wide tracks manage to compensate for the 911’s short wheelbase and increased rearward weight bias output more than I expected.
 
It is not even a case of ‘slow in, quick out’ because the laws of physics will apply if there is too much too early. It is all about balancing steering lock with application of the right foot. Find some quiet space to find the limit. Quick application of opposite lock will counter rear waywardness, but the steering is heavy and unless you really want to play hooligan there is more satisfaction to be gained by staying on or close to the limit – not over it. By today’s standards it is a handful when approaching the limit: no plethora of driver aids to act as a guardian angel here. Why, it does not even have ABS... But it does provide A Brilliant Sensation.

CONCOURS SA UPDATE

The second Concours South Africa will be held at Sun City alongside the Gary Player Country Club from August 3-6. Among the judges for this year’s event are FMM curator Wayne Harley, who will be joined by two international motoring aficionados with South African links, namely Chris Routledge and Robert Coucher.

Chris is the CEO of one of the world’s best-known classic car auction houses, Coys of London, and has in recent years also become known to a far wider audience thanks to his work as a presenter on BBC TV’s The Classic Car Show, which has also been shown in SA. He has a wealth of experiencing in judging concours d’elegance events at locations all over the world. His link with SA goes back to 2008 when he began a close relationship with the Franschhoek Motor Museum. “Chris is a sounding board for many of the decisions we make at FMM,” says Wayne, who is Chief Judge, a role he fulfilled admirably at last year’s inaugural event. “What I really admire about Chris is that he is not only one of the world’s great car experts, but an academic as well. He interacts with the owners of some of the greatest car collections in the world.”

Wayne points out that Chris’ presence at Concours South Africa 2017 will impart a wealth of knowledge to local enthusiasts who are entering their cars at this prestige event. “Rather than playing the role of a celebrity, Chris will be able to guide our local collectors on world trends in terms of what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong as far as their classic car collections are concerned.”

UK-based motoring journalist Robert also boasts a wealth of judging experience: he has been a judge at the famous Pebble Beach concours in Monterey, California, the Salon Prive in London, and currently sits on the Concours d’Elegance Selection Committee for the Windsor event in the United Kingdom. What many don’t know is that he cut his motoring teeth in South Africa, as he was born and bred in the mother city, Cape Town.

After completing his schooling at Bishops, he obtained a BA degree at the University of Cape Town before doing military training at Voortrekkerhoogte. He later worked for advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather it what was then its Transvaal office. Robert emigrated to the UK in the late 1980s, and became a journalist and then editor of Your Classic magazine, then edited Thoroughbred & Classic Cars in which he detailed his adventures in cars with a South African provenance in the “our cars” section of the magazine. In 2004, Robert became the founding editor Octane, for whom he now occupies the post of International Editor. Robert still has classic cars at the family home in Constantia and is toying with idea of a drive from Cape Town to the Reef to take up judging duties at Concours SA.

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 www.concourssa.co.za. This year’s event will start with an international conference on value in the classic car market to be held on Thursday 3 August. Final judging will be held on Sunday 6 August, when the winners will be announced at a glamorous prize giving.

For more information on How to enter Concours South Africa 2017, logon to www.concourssa.co.za or e-mail organiser Paul Kennard on paul@concourssa.co.za or call him on 082 851 3300. MM
The CEO of Coys of London, Chris Routledge
Robert Coucher with his Jag XK140 at Blenheim

SA’s COTY

The Opel Astra took top honours in the 2017 WesBank South African Car Of The Year contest. Facing tough competition in a 10-vehicle strong line-up the Astra impressed the COTY Jury with its roadholding and build quality. Each vehicle’s final score was determined by points awarded for Exterior Design & Styling; Interior Use of Materials; Interior Layout; Technology; Engine Performance; Gearbox & Transmission; Engineering Integrity & Build Quality; Ride Quality & Refinement; Steering & Handling; Affordability; Value for Money; and Overall Excellence.
 
Already a multiple award-winning car, the Opel Astra is the fourth Opel to have won since the SA COTY began in 1986. MM

EXHAUST BLIPS

Look for a full write-up of FMM’s Porsche Targa in the April issue of Classic Car Africa magazine, along with a feature on a remarkable 1938 Buick Century Sport Coupé.

DATES TO DIARISE

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: Power Series, Killarney Raceway, CPT
Apr 8: Regional races, Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone, KZN
Apr 8: Border races, East London GP circuit, EC
Apr 16: Classic Motorcycle Century Run, Durban
Apr 21-22: Motorsport Festival, Kyalami, JHB
Apr 22: Power Series, Killarney Raceway, CPT
Apr 22: Regional Extreme Festival races, Phakisa, Welkom, FS
Apr 22: Regional races, Scribante Raceway, PLZ
Apr 29: Regional races, Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone, KZN
Apr 29: Historics Tour, Phakisa, Welkom, FS
Apr 29: Regional Extreme Festival races, Redstar Raceway. Mpumulanga
Apr 30: Knysna Motor Show, Knysna
May 5-7: Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, Knysna
May 6: Highveld Old Motor Club Show, Middelburg, Mpumalanga
May 7: Buick/Cadillac/Oldsmobile/Pontiac Concours, The Country Club, Auckland Park, JHB
May 13: Mopar SA Endurance Championship & SA GT Challenge, Killarney Raceway, CPT
May 13: Phakisa 2-Hour, Phakisa, Welkom, FS
May 19-20: Fragram Natal Classic/Classic Motorcycle Cub, Durban
May 20: National & Regional Extreme Festival races, East London GP circuit, EC
May 20: Regional races, Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone, KZN
May 21: Pietermaritzburg Cars In The Park, Ashburton

(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:
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: fmm.co.za Web: www.fmm.co.za
 
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Newsletter text by Mike Monk.

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