The annual Cars in the Park motoring spectacular is back at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria after a three year break.
The organiser, the Pretoria Old Motor Club, was all set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Cars in the Park in 2020, but the Covid-19 lockdown put paid to events. So now, in 2022, Cars in the Park is celebrating the 40th running of the biggest car show in Africa.
“There has been huge interest in the event, which is being run on July 31,” says chief organiser Frik Kraamwinkel.
“We are expecting no less than 150 clubs, who will stake out their spots around the race track, and interest from stall-holders has been immense.”
This year the event will be run on the last Sunday in July, instead of on its traditional date on the first Sunday in August. The reason is that the first Sunday in August falls over a long weekend, which would severely affect attendance as many people would be heading for far-flung destinations.
Recent Cars in the Park events have attracted over 2 500 classic and special-interest cars, and up to 12 000 spectators. With the pent-up demand for car shows after two and a half years of lock-down, the organisers are expecting one of the biggest turn-outs ever.
This year Lazarus Motor Company is celebrating its 65th birthday at Cars in the Park and will be hosting a huge display, consisting mainly of classic Fords and a few special Jaguars.
“We plan to bring at least 20 classic cars to the event, and if we can get an early-production example in time, we also plan to show the all-new Ford Ranger pick-up there,” said Colin Lazarus.
Among the special Fords Lazarus will be displaying includes a 1957 Thames Trader transporter that has been converted into a race-car carrier, a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, and three spectacular Ford GTs. Lazarus owns the only 2020 latest-generation Ford GT in the country and this car will be flanked by a 1966 continuation series Mk 1 Ford GT, and a 2005 Ford GT.
The latest version of the Ford GT has a rated top speed of 350km/h!
Other notable cars on display from Lazarus will be a recently-restored 1960 Jaguar XK150S, some early Land Rover Defenders, and a mint, completely original Ford Mustang Mach 1 from 1972 with less than 40 000km on the clock.
The Austin 7 Car Club will be celebrating the centenary of this remarkable little English car at Zwartkops on July 31.
The Austin 7 was announced in July 1922, and this tiny 750cc four-cylinder car transformed the British motor industry in its 13-year production life.
Some 290 000 were produced and many found their way to South Africa.
It is interesting that when the famous Issigonis-designed Mini was first announced in 1959, the Austin version was at first known as an Austin Seven.
The Morris version, all-but-identical, was known as the Morris Mini Minor, and in 1961, both Austin and Morris versions were then known as Minis, as this is what the public at large was calling them!
In the Special Vehicles section of Cars in the Park, housed in the pits at the Zwartkops track, a very special and rare 1922 Ford Model T pick-up will be displayed. This vehicle is 100 years old, and genuine Model T pick-ups are extremely rare.
This one is owned by Andre Wessels of Wellington in the Cape, who will be transporting the car all the way to Pretoria to be part of the big Ford presence at Cars in the Park this year. Wessels will also be showing a 1914 Ford Model T Speedster, a racy version of the Model T.
In the early days of production Model Ts were imported to this country. However, Ford Model Ts were the first cars to be assembled in South Africa in significant numbers, local production starting in February 1924 in converted wool shed in Port Elizabeth. American production of the Ford Model T ran from 1908 to 1927, during which time an astounding 15-million cars were built. The Model T truly was the car that “put the world on wheels”.
A much lesser-known Ford will be shown in the Special Vehicles section, and like so many cars at Cars in the Park, it has an intriguing history, as does its owner.
Bobby Scott was the South African Formula 2 hot-rod champion in 1972, and in 1975 he won the South African Formula Ford championship and spent the following year racing single seaters in Europe. He also finished second to Ian Scheckter in the Formula Atlantic championship in South Africa in the late 1970s.
Some 42 years ago, Scott bought a 1959 Thames 10/12 panel van from his friend, Jannie Stander. Bobby had worked for Jannie in his motorcycle shop, Racing Motors, in the 1960s and always lusted after the van, which was Ford’s British-built answer to the VW Kombi. Bobby used the van for trips to the Kruger Park, before parking it, where after it stood for over 20 years.
Recently he has been restoring it back to its absolute original condition. It still runs the original Ford Consul 1,7-litre engine, albeit with a Weber carburettor and branch exhaust. The restoration will be completed just in time for July 31 and the big day at Zwartkops.
With 120 car clubs exhibiting, you can be sure to see your favourite classic car on display at Cars in the Park.
Fans of Volkswagen Beetles and Kombis, Ford Cortinas and Escorts, rumbling V8-engined Mustangs, Camaros and Chargers, and all sorts of other weird and wonderful machinery will be on display.
No cars will be allowed to drive around the track during normal show times, due to safety considerations.
The sheer volume of classics and other special-interest vehicles at Cars in the Park means that it is essential to get to Zwartkops for the opening time at 08:00, if you want to see the whole show.
Spectator entry fees are R120 per person (R100 if booked through iTicket). Children under 12 are admitted free.
Drivers of classic cars built before 1985 are admitted free of charge and are advised to get there early, with gates for exhibitors opening at 06:00. The show runs until 16:00 on Sunday
For more information, o the Pretoria Old Motor Club’s website at https://www.pomccitp.co.za or visit the club’s Cars in the Park page on Facebook.