Visitors to Sunday’s Cars in the Park might even find a cop car lurking in the exhibit, like this 1950s Studebaker. Picture: STUART JOHNSTON
Visitors to Sunday’s Cars in the Park might even find a cop car lurking in the exhibit, like this 1950s Studebaker. Picture: STUART JOHNSTON

The annual classic car spectacular organised by the Pretoria Old Motor Club is almost upon us. On Sunday August 4, the annual pilgrimage to Zwartkops Raceway, west of Pretoria begins, with collectable cars of all description.

“We encourage owners exhibiting their classic cars to arrive as early as possible. The gates for classic cars will be open from 6am, while paying spectators will be allowed access from 8am,” says Frik Kraamwinkel, the POMC’s chief organiser for this mammoth annual event.

This year will see the 39th running of Cars in the Park in the Pretoria area, with the first event taking place nearly four decades ago in Silverton, attracting some 15 cars. For the past few years up to 3,000 classic, vintage and veteran and other specialist collectable cars have filled the Zwartkops racetrack.

Spectator interest is once again expected to be huge, as the show caters for motoring enthusiasts from all ages.

For instance, at this year’s event, the Special Invites in the pit area will include a 1903 Peugeot, a tiny single-cylinder car not much bigger than a motorised lawn mower. It is believed this is just one of four such baby Peugeots in existence, and the only one in Africa. It is owned by Allie van Jaarsveld of Johannesburg.

At the other end of the time scale, Lazarus Ford of Centurion will be showing the latest Bullitt version of the Ford Mustang. This metallic green beauty was specially built based on the latest Mustang to commemorate the 1968 Mustang GT used in the film Bullitt starring Steve McQueen, which features one of the most famous car chase sequences in cinematic history.

A highlight for two-wheel enthusiasts will be the display of vintage motorcycles. Many of these machines are veterans of the famous DJ Vintage Motorcycle run for bikes built before 1936, an annual run from Durban to Johannesburg that commemorates the original road race held between the two cities prior to World War 2.

There will be a number of Dodge Chargers on display this year, as the Chrysler brand, or “Mopar” as it is known among hard-core enthusiasts has been enjoying increasing popularity among the muscle car fraternity.

Muscle cars, hot rods, classics from Britain, Germany France, Sweden — the list simply goes on and on at Cars in the Park, which this year has attracted some 120 car clubs to the event.

A rare car that is listed among the special invites is the 1931 Nash Tourer that is travelling all the way from Potgietersrus in Limpopo.

The Pretoria Old Motor Club will also be displaying just some of its membership’s vast array of beautiful classic, vintage and veteran cars. One of these will be Emil Kuschke’s Ford Model T which is more than 100 years old, while a dramatic salmon pink 1955 Ford Thunderbird belonging to Albert Etsebeth will also be making a welcome appearance.

The Franco Scribante Racing collection will also be a huge attraction for spectators young and old in the pit area.

A large contingent of giant 4x4 Unimogs is again expected at Cars in the Park, as are a collection of similarly huge Volvo military-orientated off-roaders from a bygone era.

Other rare cars will include first series Lotus Elans, Morgans, Jaguar XK150s and E-Types and a massive display of classic Mercedes-Benz cars from the Mercedes-Benz Club. Always popular are the Microcars from the 1950s, including Messerschmitts that resemble miniaturised World War 2 fighter planes on three wheels, and the Isetta BMW-engined bubble cars.

Expect to see Minis by the dozen as the marque is celebrating its 60th this year. Another car celebrating a birthday, its 50th, is the Ford Capri.

The Cars in the Park regularly attracts upwards of 10,000 spectators and a fun day will be in store for everyone. Admission is R100 for adults while children under 12 get in free.

There will be dozens of stalls selling clothing and car-related goodies, as well as plenty of food and drink. Open fires are not allowed on the infield at Zwartkops, but classic car enthusiasts displaying their cars are permitted to bring gas braais and cooler boxes for their day in the sun.

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