This meticulously restored 1958 Pontiac Bonneville scooped the overall prize. Picture: SUPPLIED
This meticulously restored 1958 Pontiac Bonneville scooped the overall prize. Picture: SUPPLIED

An extremely rare 1958 Pontiac Bonneville coupé was adjudged Best Overall Car on Display at the 2019 Knysna Motor Show, held at the Knysna High School Sports Fields on April 28.

It was a huge achievement for owner Kobus Mostert, as 2019’s show had attracted an extremely high standard of invited cars, among them no less than five Mercedes-Benz 300 SL models from the 1950s, the biggest single gathering of these iconic sports cars yet seen in SA.

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“I have rarely seen a car in this level of originality,” said chief judge Wayne Harley, curator of the Franschhoek Motor Museum. “Even the original labels, wire-fixed to hydraulic hoses, were present.”

The Best Old Car Trophy was a hugely popular choice, with the accent on “huge”. The sight of John White manhandling the 1928 Bentley 4½ litre into position in front of the podium recalled Ettore Bugatti’s famous remark about these giant 1920s British sports racers resembling “flying lorries”. The 91-year-old Bentley was one of more than 20 classic Bentleys that celebrated 100 years of the famous British marque at the show.

 “The amount of passion, dedication and attention to detail that is lavished on these fine old classic cars is what has really impressed me,” said Carl Roothman, CEO of Sanlam Private Wealth, the show’s headline sponsor.

Best Classic trophy went to this 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, one of five iconic 300 SLs at the show. Picture: SUPPLIED
Best Classic trophy went to this 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, one of five iconic 300 SLs at the show. Picture: SUPPLIED

The trophy for Best Classic Car went to a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, owned by Rick Garret and shown by Andre du Toit. It was one of five SLs at the show that were also backed up by 10 Mercedes-Benz 190 SLs from the same era.

Other impressive gatherings at the show included an excellent display of Morgans celebrating the marque’s 110th birthday, and a selection of pristine original Mini derivatives.

In anticipation of Mini’s 60th birthday, which takes place later in 2019, a contingent of three Cooper S models from the 1960s were driven from Johannesburg to Knysna to join a similar Mini grouping from Cape Town and the other marvellous Minis on the field.

The level of originality of these cars was particularly impressive, paying tribute to the show’s philosophy of keeping display cars on an “invitation-only” basis.

The Motorcycle Room Trophy produced a somewhat surprising winner in the form of the unusual customised modern BMW 1200 RS adventure bike, built to a level of showroom excellence by Wilderness custom bike builder Corrie Venter. This award was judged by visitors to the show.

The key elements of the show were the diversity of cars and motorcycles on display, and the level of presentation. The Garden Route Motor Club, which once again ran an excellently organised event, was particularly keen to showcase modern iconic machinery as well as cars and motorcycles that dated back more than 100 years.

“We had some extremely rare supercars this year which appealed to the younger enthusiasts,” said chief show organiser Peter Pretorius.

“We had the only Pagani Zonda in the country, one of three Lexus LFAs, a Lamborghini Aventador, no less than 10 Ferraris, a McLaren, Aston Martins, a Maserati and Porsches ranging from the 1950s to the latest 911 Carrera GTS model, and not forgetting a well-selected group of familiar sports car brands such as Austin Healey Triumph, MG, Sunbeam, Lotus, Jaguar and many more.”

Another rare Lamborghini was the 1965 350 GT, owned by Alex Dunford. This model was the very first motorcar built by Ferruccio Lamborghini to take on the majesty of Ferrari, and this example is believed to be one of just two existing in SA.

Show organisers said they had raised more than R500,000 for local charities in past shows over the years, and the Garden Route Motor Club will once again donate a significant amount of money to charity in 2019.