Our July newsletter featuring the following articles: Wayne drives Ferrari at Kyalami, National concours update, Collection in action – S, Shelby Mustangs are here again, In Memoriam, Exhaust blips, Dates to diarise and more.
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An opportunity to attend this year’s SEFAC Ferrari Track Day was not to be missed because it was held at the newly-reopened Kyalami race circuit. Stuart Mackay-Davidson kindly sent me an invitation not to only attend the event but to offer me the drive of a lifetime in his 450kW Ferrari 458 Speciale.
Arriving at the totally renovated circuit, straight away you notice the new entrance and almost immediately you now pass under the track at the Crowthorne end of the circuit.  Everything just looks so fresh and first class! You then turn left and up the hill to the new pit complex, which is a glass and aluminium structure similar to those at some of the world leading race venues. It certainly is very impressive.
After completing all the necessary forms to safeguard Kyalami, SEFAC etc and paying attention at the drivers briefing, it was off to the cars and on to the track in our respective groups. I was surprised to learn that the track 4,522 kilometres long and boasts 16 corners. And man-oh-man, the surface is stunningly smooth. However, grip is a little lacking as, naturally, very little rubber has been laid down and the 458 Speciale was on road tyres, so it was caution caution all the way. Also, some of the kerbs are rather large and unforgiving and if you are tempted to cut a corner you could write-off a rim. But as it was my first time around this impressive complex and the fact I was driving my host’s pride and joy, no limits were tested.

The Southern Equitorial Ferrari Automobili Club had almost 200 cars attend the event, including Dinos, 308s, Testarossas, F50, 360s, 430s and 488s. Just before lunch, Pablo Clark and a few other braver drivers did a racing demonstration that was very entertaining and provided the spectators with a good idea of what the new Kyalami will soon be offering. My special thanks to Stuart for the invitation and to Giorgio Cavalieri for his hospitality, as well as everyone at SEFAC for an awesome day. WH


Along with the participation of FMM curator Wayne Harley(!), the only BMW 2002 Turbo that exists in SA will be star attraction at the Concours South Africa 2016 to be held at Sun City on September 9-11. The 2002 Turbo was Europe’s first turbocharged mass-production car and this example was formerly owned by Nicky Oppenheimer. Just over 1 000 all left-hand drive examples were built.
As for Wayne, he will be one of the celebrity concours judges along with 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 the two events, the organisers have catered for approximately 160 entrants. For car clubs who wish to make the trip to Sun City, special parking areas will be allocated for club displays and individual specialist cars outside the hotel in the general parking area.
The following categories have been identified for the inaugural Concours South Africa and
Show-n-Shine events:

Leisure & Utility pre-1980
Leisure & Utility post-1980
Sports cars pre-1980
Sports cars post-1980
Luxury saloons pre-1980
Luxury saloons post-1980
American Muscle
Supercars pre-1980
Supercars post-1980
For more information on Concours SA and how to enter your car, go to www.concourssa.co.za.  Entries close on 31 July 2016. MM


An alphabetical series of short driving impressions of some of the museum’s car collection. This month we symbolize S with a model that was a part of an ongoing life-line for one of America’s independent automakers.

Studebaker is one those American car companies that tried hard to stay independent but, through circumstances often beyond their control, fell by the wayside in an attempt to stay with the Big Three – Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. Yet Studebaker, whose origins date back to 1852, had a proud history and was not short on innovation but simply could not sustain itself despite an early reputation for quality and reliability.

For the most part, however, the company operated under financial difficulties and weak sales in 1938 looked ominous. To turn matters around, the following year the first-generation Champion was launched and hopes rested on its success. A ‘clean sheet’ design, the Champion was conceived partly with the aid of market research and its most notable feature was weight – it was one of the lightest cars of its era. The Champion was a success thanks to its low price (US$660 for the base model two-door business coupé), robust engine and good looks, the latter the work of renowned French-born industrial designer Raymond Loewy. Powered by a compact side-valve, four-bearing 2 692 cm3 straight-six engine that was to last another 25 years, the Champion also proved to be economical, winning the Mobilgas Economy Run. During the war years when petrol was rationed, the car’s fuel economy, which was around 8,6 litres/100km, was a major plus-point. It was the company’s best-selling pre-war model.
After the war, Studebaker built a limited number of Champions based on a more streamlined 1942 first-generation body shell, called Skyway Champions, before its replacement appeared 1947. It was one of America’s first post-war models and body-wise was all-new, with flat front fenders a notable feature of the time. The two-door cars featured a wraparound rear screen and the models later became known as Starlight Coupés. Inside there were such niceties as automatic courtesy lights and back-lit illumination for the gauges. The engine had been enlarged to 2 784 cm3 and delivered 60 kW, which was increased to 63 kW in 1950. At launch, a three-speed, automatic transmission was also offered for the first time. The new Champion was a success and accounted for 65% of the total sales for the automaker in 1947.
At a time when the Big Three restyled their cars every couple of years or so, like most smaller independent manufacturers, mostly suffering from a shortage of funds, Studebaker could only afford facelifts. In 1953, designer Bob Bourke of Raymond Loewy’s studio penned a sleek new coupé and Studebaker quickly asked that the new look be adapted to all 1953 Champion body styles. The two-door was tagged Starlight while the hardtop coupé was called Starliner. Studebaker billed the low and striking Champion’s looks as European, and it was certainly distinctive. The previous model’s 63 kW engine was retained.
But after years of financial problems, in 1954 the company merged with luxury carmaker Packard to form the Studebaker-Packard Corporation and hopes for the company’s future were revived. The same year, a two-door station wagon called the Conestoga was added to the line-up and all models boasted a new grille. In 1955 the Champion’s engine was further enlarged to 3 028 cm3 and delivered 75 kW at 4 000 r/min. The lock-up torque converter autobox was considered to be the most advanced at the time. The grille was changed again the following year, and a wraparound windscreen was introduced while Starlight/Starliner was dropped.
In 1956 the Champions (the coupés were now known as Hawks) were facelifted with different front and rear bodywork, the front fenders boasting eyebrows over the headlights and rear fenders now sporting fins. Electrics became 12-volt. FMM’s four-door sedan featured here is one of these and was first purchased in 1956 by a D R Pretorius from Broderick Motors in Vereeniging. It was built in Uitenhage by SA Motor Assemblers and Distributors Ltd (SAMAD), which also assembled Volkswagen Beetles from 1951 onward.

The car is in an original, well worn condition. It is an attractive ’50s design with fairly balanced proportions, interesting swage lines over the front and rear wheelarches, and a chrome bodyside strip that mimics the kinked waistline and separates the two-tone paintwork. The rear doors are nor particularly wide, though, making entry and exit a bit of a squeeze. Three-abreast bench seats front and rear are trimmed in simply pleated two-tone leather and lift the ambience of what is a light and airy cabin.

This car has a three-speed manual transmission with optional overdrive. It fires readily on the button and the 1 260 kg sedan pulls away with ease. For tall people, limited rearward travel of the front seat means depressing the floor-mounted pedals is ankle-challenging and the column shift gate’s 1st/reverse plane is very close, but once on the move these minor complaints fall away. The big steering wheel is handy when manoeuvring at low speeds but, typically, once on the move the effort required lightens up. Independent front suspension with wishbones and coil springs and a rear axle suspended on leaf springs provide a stable ride with no undue body roll or float. Hydraulic drum brakes proved to be very effective.
But it is the instrumentation that really catches the eye, literally and figuratively. Known as the Cyclops Eye, the speedometer is a horizontally-revolving drum mounted– along with the odometer and indicator warning lights – in a pod on the edge of the dashboard directly above a quartet of dials for amps, temp, fuel and oil. Dials? Well, instead of conventional gauges the dials showed either a green bar if all is well, which changed to red if things were not so good. Space age stuff, but I cannot help but wonder if such innovation did not work against the car’s appeal – a lot of American cars failed simply because they dared to be different. 
Sadly, Studebaker's financial problems started to nosedive and the Champion was phased out in 1958 in preparation for the introduction of the new. But by this time the company had been placed under receivership while it attempted to return to a profitable position. Despite a last-ditch effort to rejuvenate the company with the radical Loewy-designed Avanti, the South Bend, Indiana plant ceased production on 20 December 1963 and the last Studebaker automobile rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario assembly line in Canada on 16 March 1966.
Studebaker deserved to be around longer than it did because it was more than a run-of-the-mill motor company. Its products were contemporary and seldom short on innovation yet despite the best efforts of the Champion model, sadly it simply could not survive in the shadow of the Big Three. MM


Now that Ford’s new Mustang is on sale in South Africa, a specialist conversion operation has been launched here that makes available one of the most iconic performance car partnerships that has ever existed during the last 50 years. Two of this country’s leading performance car builders, champion racing driver and powerboat pilot Peter Lindenberg and Hi-Tech Automotive founder Jimmy Price, got together and, with the full approval of Shelby America, Shelby SA was formed to carry out the conversions locally.

Initially, three conversion kits are available: the car is provided by the customer and both the four-cylinder 2.3T and 5.0 V8 Mustangs are catered for. Prices start at R665 000. Shelby SA’s headquarters, conversion and merchandising centre is at Crossley & Webb’s showrooms at 15 Solan Street, in Cape Town. The workshop is run by Lindenberg’s race engineer Remia Brynard. Servicing partners to Shelby SA include Jimmy, Justin and Nicholas Price, long-time racing and performance specialists Rob and Steve Green – whose RGM Motorsport business will handle Shelby servicing in the Gauteng area – and Castrol. On the motorsport front, Shelby will undertake a limited number of diverse motorsport events. The full launch story will be found in August Classic Car Africa and September TopCar magazines, but for more info, logon to www.shelbysa.com. MM


July was a tragic month with the passing of some of South Africa’s motoring legends. First, two of South Africa’s motorsport legends, Don Philp and Piet van Niekerk, passed away within a day of each other.

Stellenbosch-born Don began racing in various motorsport events in 1947 and was particularly with Cape crowds. He drove a number cars, many of them ‘specials’, including a Singer and an MG. Don also built a 1475cm3 Quodra-Climax but the majority of his many successes was with a potent 1660 cm3  Cooper-Climax in which he finishing fifth in the 1960 (6th) SA Grand Prix. The same year the broke the Killarney lap record by four seconds and won the Rand Winter Trophy race. He was runner-up in the SA Drivers’ Championship. Don took part in the 7th and 8th SA Grands Prix, retiring in both but was the leading local driver in the former.

Piet grew up in South West Africa but after moving to Cape Town in the mid-1950s became involved with the development of the GSM Dart and Flamingo, working with  Bob van Niekerk (no relation) and Willie Meissner. Although Piet had no engineering qualifications, his ‘feel’ for a car’s ride and handling characteristics played a generally unheralded but significant part in the success of the iconic South African sports car. A GSM closed down in 1965, Piet became actively involved in the GSM enthusiasts’ club, a task he carried out with enthusiasm throughout his life. Apart from GSM, Piet went on to race a variety of cars including a race début of the Mini Cooper in South Africa. He also drove Volvos, Mazdas, Peugeots as well as a Lotus 18 in the Natal GP. In March 1964, Don and Piet raced together, sharing a GSM Flamingo in the 1964 6-Hour at Pietermaritzburg, finishing second on scratch.
Don Philp
Piet van Niekerk
Later in the month came the shocking news that Jan Hettema had been fatally shot during a robbery at his smallholding in Tweedracht, near Pretoria. His wife, Elsa, and a worker survived the ordeal. Known as SA’s Rally King, Dutch-born Jan participated in the Monte Carlo Rally six times (including sipping champagne with Princess Grace after one event), the RAC Rally of Britain twice, was the first winner of the Roof of Africa Rally (1967), won the SA Rally Championship five times, the international Total Rally four times and every other major national rally at least once. Sarel van der Merwe remembers Jan as an “old enemy, mentor and friend”, and their tussles on rally stages and race tracks are the stuff of legends.

Then, shortly afterwards, we learnt that three-time SA rally champion Gugu Zulu had died while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Gugu was with his wife Letshego and project leader Richard Mabaso as part of the Trek4Mandela team of climbers that was due to summit the mountain on Mandela Day. Over the past couple of years, Gugu and his wife have been unofficially tagged as SA’s ‘outdoor couple’. Gugu’s last post on his Facebook page stated, “Made it though day 2. My wife is doing fabulous, she has even learnt the local language. Am having flu-like symptoms and struggling with the mountain but taking it step by step!! Today we managed to see our destination and our camp is literary above the clouds!!” Sadly, Gugu then suffered respiratory problems and despite being put on a drip and returned to camp, he did not survive.
Jan Hettema
Gugu Zulu
Everyone at the Franschhoek Motor Museum extends their sincere condolences to the family and friends of all of these great characters who contributed so much to South Africa’s motoring heritage. To those who passed on, may they all Rest in Peace. MM


In the the August issue of TopCar magazine (already on sale) there is a feature story on FMM’s Alfa Romeo ‘Monster’ SZ and RZ.

In the upcoming August issue of Classic Car Africa magazine there will be an extended feature on FMM’s 1956 Studebaker Champion featured in this newsletter.

The 37th Cars in the Park in July 31 marks the 50th anniversary of the Pretoria Old Motor Club (POMC).


Jul 30: Historics Tour Round 3/Regional Round 5, Scribante Raceway, PLZ
Jul 31: POMC Cars in the Park, Zwartkops Raceway
Aug 6: Power Series Round 6, Killarney Raceway
Aug 6: Historics Tour Round 4, Kyalami
Aug 7: POMC Cars in the Park, Zwartkops Raceway
Aug 9: Extreme Festival Round 8, Zwartkops Raceway
Aug 9: Welkom Cars In The Park, Bloemfontein
Aug 11-14: POMC/SAVVA Magnum Rally, Hazyview, Mpumalanga
Aug 12-13: Motoring Festival, Scribante Raceway, PLZ
Aug 13: Crankhandle Club annual book sale, Wynberg clubhouse
Aug 20: Regional races Round 4, East London
Aug 20: Track Day, Dezzi raceway, Port Shepstone       
Aug 28: Ferdi’s Swap Meet, Midrand
Aug 31-Sep: 4SA 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 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
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
Sep 25: Whales and Wheels Show, Hermanus

(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, 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.

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