Our January newsletter featuring the following articles: Horses, cars and fashions, More visitors than before, Collection in action – M, Extended opening hours and more.
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Once again Cape Town kicked off a New Year in high style with the running of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (LQP) at Kenilworth Racecourse on 9 January.  Hot summer weather favoured a sell-out crowd who attended South Africa’s leading weight-for-age horse race, which brought together the country’s top 16 thoroughbreds competing for a R1 million purse. This year‘s race was the 155th running of the event and sponsored for the 11th time in succession by L’Ormarins. Over 5 000 attendees kept with tradition by donning their finest blue-and-white fashions to help create a colourful setting to the activities both on and off the track, the latter including the LQP prop merry go-round.
According to LQP’s Coordinator Katherine Gray, the internationally-recognized L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate is considered to be the Cape’s most prestigious horse racing and social occasion. Of the numerous other races on the days’ card, as well as the LQP, the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (Grade 1) are the only South African races that allow their winners entry into the elite Breeders’ Cup Mile in the USA, as well as the Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Stakes (Grade 2) in the UK. The latter is a ‘swop’ with Goodwood’s revered race, with LQP also having its own race run at Glorious Goodwood annually.

But the LQP is the premier event and spectators were on edge when the field bolted from the starting gate on the season-opening 1 600-metre flat race. Just over half way, champion jockey Anton Marcus thrilled punters when he edged outsider Legal Eagle into the lead and comfortably held on to win the prestigious race by one-and-a-half lengths from Legislate and Noah From Goa. Legal Eagle is owned by Markus and Ingrid Jooste and trained by Sean Tarry.

As has become the custom, FMM was an integral part of the occasion with a display of some thoroughbreds from its own stable – but four-wheeled rather than four-legged... This year the museum joined forces with BMW SA – which will be celebrating its centenary in March – to put on an impressive display of horseless carriages that attracted much attention from both the regular racegoers and the many fashionistas. The model line-up from FMM’s collection began with a 1926 Austin 7, the likes of which formed the basis of BMW’s first car, called the Dixie. Also exhibited was a 1938 BMW 328, 1953 BMW 502, Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Mandela Day School Library Project 760iL Security and the BMW-powered McLaren F1 road car designed by South African Gordon Murray. As part of the BMW Group, Rolls-Royce was represented by a majestic 1928 Phantom 1. By contrast to these classics, BMW displayed some of its latest range of cars with the main focus on the new 7 Series.
Among the international celebrities and punters who were present was ex-F1 team boss and grand prix pundit Eddie Jordan, and managing partner of Coys of London, BBC Channel 5 Classic Car Show presenter and FMM’s international consultant Chris Routledge. Other sporting personalities included, from the UK, legendary professional jockey Lester Piggott and racehorse trainers William Haggas and Ed Dunlop, SA’s surfing star Jordy Smith with his wife Lyndall and ex-Kaiser Chiefs goalscoring ace Maps Maponyane. Also amongst the celebrity guests were media personalities Nomzamo Mbatha and Jen Su, singer Danny K and wife Lisa Koppel, actress and TV star Minnie Dlamini and model/TV presenter and 2002 Miss South Africa Cindy Nell along with John Ferguson.

Fashion also forms a highlight of the day’s proceedings and prizes were sponsored by leading accessory manufaturer Cartier. The Best Dressed Lady prize was won by Naledi Mabuso, who will be flown to the Glorious Goodwood event in August. Jorge Mavova was voted Best Dressed Man and received a Cartier wallet, while the Best Hat winner was Carolyn Steyn whose prize included a Cartier bag. With so many stylish ensembles around, selecting the winners was a challenge for the judging panel, which comprised of last year’s Best Dressed Lady Deborah Calmeyer, internationally-renowned fashion design duo Errol and Gloria Arendz, the designer of luxury Okapi handbags Hanneli Rupert (daughter of Johann and Gaynor Rupert), and style icon and official LQP spokesperson Bonang Matheba.

Back on the course, the museum sponsored Race 11, the Franschhoek Motor Museum MR 85 Handicap over 1 600 metres, which was won by Vilakazi, ridden by C Orffer and trained by Brett Crawford. After the dust had settled on track, the action moved to the stylish Stud Club where top SA DJ, music producer and radio presenter Euphonik headlined an exhilarating after-party, which went well into the night. Certainly a great day at the races, its success proven by #LQP2016 being the country’s number one trending hash tag over the weekend. MM


party time
The month of December is FMM’s major visitor period and each year the number increases. In 2015 we broke previous year’s attendance record of 9 329 with a fantastic total of 11 490 visitors. The museum’s team worked their tails off to meet everyone’s needs and I would like to commend them all for the effort they each put in. And apart from the record total, for the first time since FMM has been operating we had more than 1 000 visitors in a single day. It is extremely gratifying for me to know that there is still such a great following for South Africa’s motoring heritage and that FMM is such a major tourist attraction, both locally and internationally. Thanks everyone! WH


collection in action i
An alphabetical series of short driving impressions of some of the museum’s car collection. This month we downsize to an Austin in disguise and its place in a Cooper’s tale.
Without doubt, the Mini ranks as one of the world’s most influential cars. Not simply because it made motoring affordable to so many when it appeared in 1959, but in doing so it set some trends that reinvigorated an industry that globally had only just got back on its feet after the war years. Front-wheel drive with the gearbox mounted underneath, Hydrolastic suspension, minimalist interior with a centre-mounted speedo – the Mini was compact and cute and destined to become an automotive icon. And it did not take long for there to be a desire to make it go faster, led by one of UK’s motor sport heroes, John Cooper.
Cooper was a co-founder, with his father Charles, of the Cooper Car Company and became an auto racing legend with his rear-engined chassis design that would eventually change the face of the sport at its highest levels, from Formula One to Indianapolis. As a friend of the Mini’s creator, Alec Issigonis, Cooper saw the car’s potential for competition and although Issigonis was initially reluctant to see the Mini in the role of a performance car, Cooper appealed to BMC’s management, leading to the two men collaborating to create the Mini Cooper in both Austin and Morris derivatives in 1961.
BMC’s A-Series 848 cm3 in-line four from the Morris Mini-Minor was given a longer stroke to increase capacity to 997 cm3. The race-tuned engine featured twin SU carburettors, a closer-ratio gearbox and (uncommon at the time in a small car) front disc brakes. The car was an instant success and in 1962, Rhodesian John Love driving a Mini Cooper became the first non-British driver to win the British Saloon Car Championship. South African Tony Maggs was also a works driver.
The 997 appeared in SA in 1962 and was only available in Palm Green (close to British Racing Green) with a white roof and gold-painted wheels. The instrument panel boasted additional gauges for oil pressure and water temperature and a remote gearshift was adopted. The car was an instant success and, incidentally, helped create motoring history when East London service station owner Des Ally became the first Coloured person to participate in a national race meeting, winning the Group N race at PE’s St. Albans track on 14 March 1964 in his 997 Cooper.
In 1963, the engine bore/stroke was altered to achieve a 998 cm3 capacity but the following year this, too, was replaced, this time by a 1071 cm3 unit, which launched the second Cooper model to carry the S suffix. The second? Well, yes, because in the UK there was a short production run of a 970 cm3 Cooper S model that preceded the 1071, but it never came to SA although some local tuning shops made copycat engines. The 1071 Cooper S was launched here in July 1964 in both Austin and Morris guises and were assembled from CKD packs (Completely Knocked Down) as opposed to being manufactured, and as a sop to the country’s local content programme of the time, these cars boasted unique locally-made front bucket seats amongst a few other small home sourced items. The 1071 lasted a year before the 1275 cm3 Cooper S arrived in July 1965, of which FMM’s model is an example – but with a twist...
In comparing notes with SA’s ‘Mr Mini’, Ryno Verster, it appears as though FMM’s car is a 1967 Morris Cooper S. As no records from Leyland’s Blackheath plant survive, Ryno has over the years compiled his own records (and written an excellent book titled A South African Mini Story). Given the car’s body (C-A2S7 – 892853) and engine (9F-SA-Y 42820) numbers, the car is a Morris version with the 'smiley' grille, and Morris bonnet, boot and steering wheel badges but in all other specs similar to Austin 1275 units. It features the famed SA bucket seats, wind-up windows (referred to as Australian windows and introduced in January 1967) and twin tanks, which were standard on all 1275s. Other identifying components include the ‘wet’ Hydrolastic suspension and an oil cooler fitted horizontally behind the grille in front of the distributor.
According to the UK Heritage records of CKD units exported to South Africa, 12 CKD 1275 units were dispatched to Blackheath on 15 September 1966 with body numbers ranging from 892844 to 892855. The FMM car number 892853 is indicated as an Austin unit but on the same date, seven Morris units were also shipped to Blackheath – an anomaly that cannot be explained. From Verster’s register of 42 Mk.1 1275 units, only five were numbered with the international body prefix code for 1275  Morris Cooper S units, namely K-A2S4. All the rest used the C-A2S7 international Austin body prefix. In the Heritage records of the 264 Mk.1 units sent to South Africa, 71 were Morris 1275 Cooper S units and the remainder were Austins.
So, the FMM car’s credentials are somewhat intricate but, bottom line, it’s a pukka S and as SCC badging on the fenders proudly displays, at some point the car achieved 104,251 mph (167,775 km/h) at a top speed day at the old Kyalami. The car still has plenty of go and brings a smile to the faces of everyone who drives it. Although the gearshift is a bit clunky (early Mini remote shifts were renowned for being problematic), frequent cog swopping to keep the motor buzzing is not necessary because the legendary roadholding is so good that tackling the twisties requires only occasional lifting off the accelerator. This car has the period mod of a dropped steering column angle, which complements the low-set local bucket seats that, although small, give adequate body support.
For anyone long-legged like me, the driving position is a bit ‘sit up and beg’ – but who cares? The S goes where you point it and although it may be a tad raucous and the Hydrolastics provide a surprisingly soft ride for something as sporty as this, even today old Minis are a hoot to drive. Cooper and Cooper S derivatives were driven to competition successes around the world for many years and left a legacy to be proud of.
MM – with grateful thanks to Ryno Verster for sharing his expertise on South African Minis.


A reminder that up to 31 March the museum will be open a little longer than usual. Check the ‘Where, What Times and How Much’ panel below for details. MM


In the February/March issue of Classic & Performance Car Africa there is a feature on FMM’s Lincoln Zephyr V12.   


January 29-31: Passion for Speed series racing, Zwartkops
February 5-6: Passion for Speed series racing, Killarney
February 7:  Crankhandle Club Kalk Bay Veteran Run
February 8-10: SAVVA Veteran National, Slanghoek Mountain Resort, Worcester
February 12-13: Passion for Speed series racing, East London
February 12: SCOCC Veteran Tour, George
February 13-14: George Old Car Show
February 14: American Day, Pretoria Old Motor Club clubhouse
February 20: Power Series Round 1, Killarney
February 20: EP regional and club championship racing, Aldo Scribante
February 27: Africa Endurance Series 6-Hour, Welkom
March 5: Inland Championship racing, Zwartkops
March 11-12: VVC Durban-Johannesburg Motorcycle Run (the DJ)
March 19-20: O D Inggs Memorial Run

(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.

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