Our September newsletter featuring the following articles: Film night at FMM, Museum Meanders 2, Abarth Time, Collection in action – U, Oily rag run, Artist around the bend, Buick, cadillac, oldsmobile, pontiac, Exhaust blips, Dates to diarise and more.
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The first Motor Movie Festival @ Franschhoek Motor Museum will be held on 22 and 23 October. Few places other than Anthonij Rupert Wyne’s L’Ormarins estate allow for the friendly meeting of cars and wine, and at MMF@FMM car lovers and movie fans can combine their passions and relive the drive-in (indoors!) experience by watching motor-themed movies while seated in a classic 1930s, ’40s or ’50s car from the museum’s famous collection.

The two-day festival includes four movie screenings, presented in a way that could only be possible at a motor museum on a wine farm. Festival goers will get to view the automotive exhibition – including a display of cars with links to well-loved movies – taste wines from the Anthonij Rupert range, enjoy a movie screening from the seat of a special car (glass of wine in hand) and round off the experience with a roadhouse burger and gourmet milkshake in the museum’s Pitstop Café.

The movies selected for screening are:
  • The original The Italian Job (1969), loved for its car chase involving three Minis and starring Michael Caine and Noël Coward.
  • Vanishing Point (1971) that brings together Barry Newman, a collection of counter culture characters and a white Dodge Challenger in an epic 15-hour race.
  • Midnight Run (1988) features a host of American cars, from a Ford Crown Victoria to a Chevrolet Caprice, in a caper starring Robert de Niro as a bounty hunter on a trying assignment.
  • Thelma & Louise (1991), in which a fishing trip gone wrong sparks a flight from the law in a ’66 Ford Thunderbird. Star-studded with Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, Brad Pitt and Harvey Keitel.

For the lunch-time event, festival-goers arrive at 10h00 to view the museum’s cars as they taste Anthonij Rupert wines. At 11h00 the movie starts with everyone seated in a car. Afterwards, there’s the roadhouse meal at the Pitstop Café to look forward to. The evening event follows the same format and commences at 16h00 with the screening at 17h00.

Bookings are through www.webtickets.co.za . The ticket price of R395 includes the movie, the road house meal, a tasting of various wines and a visit to the motor museum. 
Book ticket now


Following on from Wayne’s Working Wanderings in the August newsletter, FMM’s curator convinced Chris Routledge to go with him to the small town of Lier, which is about 16 km outside of Antwerp in Belgium, to visit the Abarth Works Museum owned and run by Guy Morenhout. Guy and Wayne had been communicating beforehand and had set up this visit. Guy had visited FMM just after it had opened so it was good opportunity for Wayne to do likewise and visit his museum.
“After a somewhat lengthy drive from Schloss Dyck we arrived in the pleasant little town and set about finding the museum,” explains Wayne. Thanks to ‘Becky’, Chris’ phone navigation app, they drove straight to the museum, only to find it was closed. “I was totally gutted. Travelling all this way after months of waiting and planning and it’s closed! We were just about to go when Chris noticed an elderly gent packing goods into a car at the side of the museum. I approached the old guy and explained my plight in a mixture of English and Afrikaans that Guy had invited me to visit but had obviously forgotten I was coming.
“No problem,” said the old man. “Come in.” He did say his name but it was lost in translation… He led us in through a side door and then simply left us to go off and explore and enjoy.
“I was blown away! There is no way to explain it. Abarth after Abarth – 750TC, 1000TCR, Zagatos, double bubbles, 131 Abarth works rally cars, 1000SPs, 2300 Abarths and on and on. And as if that wasn’t enough, there is floor to ceiling shelving  stacked with engines, body parts, wheels, transmissions – you name anything Abarth you will find it, recounts Wayne. “After finally getting over the initial shock I started to enjoy this Aladdin’s Cave of Abarths. Then we walked around a corner and came face to face with Dakar Lada Niva’s, Polski Fiat rally cars, Seat Abarth rally cars, Lancia Monte Carlos and Delta Integrale HF rally cars, also not forgetting all the team back-up vans and estate cars. We must have spent two hours there and I’m positive that we didn’t see everything.
“However, it’s not a museum in the true sense of the word, rather a massive collection that can be viewed on appointment. There are few information boards to read, and if you are not an Abarth fundi you may find your visit very confusing and repetitive as many of the models look similar with no explanation as to their differences. Even I have unanswered questions. As fun as it was to be let loose in this Abarth candy shop, I would love to have had a guide to explain more about these cars that punched so well above their weight in their glory days. It was over all too fast for me, but we had a schedule to keep and had to move on as we still had to visit the Louwman Museum that afternoon, which I will relate in the next newsletter. WH.


Coincidentally, thanks to the kind offices of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles SA group, FMM currently has an Abarth 500C 1.4T 595 Turismo on short term loan and I recently had the privilege of using the car for a return trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth to research some old cars. Sparkling in its Red Cordolo Tri-coat metallic paint, the car certainly drew admiring glances everywhere it went – especially from owners of Fiat 500 models. This particular car was in 500C guise, which means it features a fully-retractable fabric roof offering either snug or al fresco motoring in equal measure. 
Upgrades over the Fiat 500C upon which the Abarth is based include a more sporty suspension system featuring Koni shock absorbers with Frequency Selective Damping technology, and upgraded brakes with ventilated and perforated front discs. Other standard improvements consist of a new 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, leather upholstery, Xenon headlights and 17-inch alloys. This car is fitted with an optional 5-petal design, shod with 205/45 rubber.
The engine, too, is uprated, the turbocharged, twin-cam, 16-valve inline-four delivering 118 kW at 5 500r/min and a healthy 230 N.m of torque at 3 000. Gearbox is a five-speed manual (MTA auto is available) and the claimed benchmark 0-100 km/h time is 7,4 seconds and the top speed is 210 km/h. From outside, it sounds throaty through the twin exhausts. Official combined cycle fuel consumption is 5,4 litres/100 km.
Depending on the size of the front seat passengers, the Abarth is more a 2+2 than a four seater, but for those up front the seats are comfortable and supportive, hugging the torso. Boot space is a meagre 185 dm3 but with the split back seats folded down, space increases to 550 dm3.
Electric Dualdrive power steering has a Sport mode that allows the driver to exploit the car’s excellent handling characteristics to the full. For such a small car, the turning circle of 10,6 metres makes it less manoeuvrable than one would expect. The suspension is firm but without being harsh, so although the car bobs and wriggles over bumpier surfaces the effect does not jar the passengers. It can get tiring over time though.
My wife, Wendy, and I both enjoyed the car’s easy-going nature and sprightly performance. Only negatives are the placing of the handbrake right next to the (rather flimsy) driver’s seat height adjustment lever, and the too small sun visors. Over the 1 512 km round trip with air-con operating at all times, the Abarth achieved a real-world consumption of 7,78 litres/100 km that combined with the 35-litre fuel tank does necessitate frequent fill-ups.
Abarth prices start at R362 900 for the tin-top 500 manual reaching to R430 900 for the fabric-roof 500C automatic. A 3-year/100 000 km maintenance plan is included in the pricing. Abarth badging comes at a premium, but it is on par with competition and for enthusiasts and anyone looking to be a little different, it is an attractive proposition. MM   


An alphabetical series of short driving impressions of some of the museum’s car collection. This month we borrow and take a ride in the L’Ormarins Estate’s Unimog fire tender.

With such a large of land to maintain and protect, it is hardly surprising that the L’Ormarins Estate has a fire tender as part of its fleet of maintenance vehicles. It is based on a 1974 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 416-162 chassis that was originally made into a Bosvark, an armoured personnel carrier used by the South African Army during the Border War. The Bosvark offered limited landmine protection to the crew, but compensated for this with good off-road mobility. The Bosvark was replaced with an improved version called the Buffel in 1978, but the fire tender is one of the original 54 chassis that were converted into Bosvarks.
The name Unimog  is an acronym for the German "UNIversal-MOtor-Gerät", Gerät being the German word for device, also in the sense of machine, instrument, gear, apparatus. Production began in 1951.
Engine is a Mercedes-Benz OM352 5,7-litre six-cylinder naturally-aspirated diesel developing around 80 kW. Gearbox is a four-speed with high and low range with a separate lever for selecting reverse. There is also a diff lock. Riding on its 11-inch wide rims shod with 12.5 20 10-ply tyres, top speed is around 80 km/h with the heavy duty truck-derived motor turning at just 2 800 r/min. A hand throttle helps when slow but steady progress is the order of the day. But no matter at what speed you are travelling, the Unimog’s forward control configuration means that half of the engine protrudes inside the cab under a basic cover so the noise level is deafening. Sound deadening is non-existent, panels fit where they touch and the number of exposed metal catches, latches, levers and handles would make Ralph Nader and all subsequent safety-conscious promoters cringe in absolute despair. The only crumple zone in a Unimog is your own body...  
The fire tender is equipped with a giant water tank and generator-powered hose equipment and its all-up weight is 3 430 kg. High ground clearance and a relatively flat undercarriage add to the Unimog’s go-anywhere attributes and its turning circle is remarkably small. It has been used on occasion to put out small fires on the estate, but thankfully the occasions have been few and far between. I wonder what Fireman Sam would make of it? MM


This year’s Oily Rag Run – ‘to celebrate and acknowledge The Survivors’ – will take place on 9 October and entries are open for cars up to 50 years or older in unrestored condition. The vent starts at FMM and finishes at Crossley & Webb’s showroom in Cape Town CBD. Entry fee is R350 which covers refreshments at FMM, lunch at Crossley & Webb and other goodies. Non-competitors can also join in the before and after activities. For more details contact Dickon Daggitt on 083 6254 8678 or 021 790 2672. MM


Before Dakar there was the Safari, a rally that tested man and machine against the clock in some of the harshest conditions East Africa can provide. Naturally there are many tales to tell of the glory years from 1953 to 1972, and a book recently published by Mike Norris recalls the background to the event and a look at each of the rallies – but in a different way to the norm. Norris was born in Mombasa, Kenya and as a child watched the rallies taking place, later helping out at control points. He then combined his love of the sport with a talent for art and set about producing oil paintings representing each of the rallies, reproductions of which the now-retired Norris has made available in a full colour, 230x170 mm hard-cover book.
Each event is covered in double-page spread that features a full-page image of one of the competitors opposite a brief story of what took place. Some of the event’s influential individuals are also covered. From Goss and Gales’ Ford Consul Mk.1 to Hillyar and Birley’s Ford Escort 1600RS, the cars are depicted in action and convey the spirit of an event that was as much an adventure as a competitive rally. “A wonderfully unique, concise and very readable history of that period of the Safari Rally,” says 1969 winner Robin Hillyar.
The 1972 rally was won by Mikkola/Palm, the first internationals to do so, and such was its standing that it became part of the WRC and, consequently, far more commercial. But it was the earlier events that set the stage and this book is a reminder of those brave screws who faced everything from deep sand to flash floods in what were basically strengthened road cars. The book sells for R300. Copies can be purchased from FMM reception. Enquiries and orders can be e-mailed to the author at norris.mikeh@gmail.comMM


The annual Western Cape gathering for all Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Pontiac owners takes place on 23 October. The event will be based at the Croydon Winelands residential estate, near Kuils River.  MM


In the October issue of TopCar magazine (already on sale) there is a feature story on FMM’s Honda NSX.
Oct 1: Whales and Wheels Show, Hermanus
Oct 1: Cars in the Park, Welkom
Oct 2: POMC Air-cooled Motor Show, Silverton, Pretoria
Oct 2: Classics in the Bay, Hout Bay
Oct 8: Historics Tour Round 6, Zwartkops
Oct 8: Top End Run, East London GP Circuit
Oct 8-9: Mega Motor Show, Bredasdorp
Oct 9: Oily Rag Run           
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 15: Kun-en-Kultuur Fees, Prince Alfred Hamlet
Oct 16: Crankhandle Pre-1946 Run in the South Peninsula
Oct 22: Extreme Festival Round 11 and GTC, Kyalami
Oct 23: Triumph Club Classic Centenary Run, Century City, Cape Town
Oct 23: Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Pontiac Gathering, Croydon Winelands, Kuils River
Oct 29: Classic Cars at the Mall, Tshwana Chinese Mall
Oct 29: Crankhandle Houw Hoek Rally
Oct 30: Studebaker Show Day, Irene
Nov 5: Inland Championship races Round 9, Kyalami
Nov 6: Cape Motor Show, Killarney Raceway
Nov 6-8: Fairest Cape Tour
Nov 12: Africa Endurance Series Round 6 and Power Series Round 9, Killarney Raceway
Nov 13: Japanese Classic Car and Bike Day, POMC Clubhouse
Nov 19: Historics Tour Round 6, Kyalami
Nov 19: 3-Hour and Border Historics Tour Round 5, Scribante Raceway
Nov 19: Track Day, Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone
Nov 26: Extreme Festival Round 12 and GTC, Zwartkops


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.

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