One of the highlights of the 2020 Knysna Motor Show will be a special display of Austin Healey sports cars. Picture: SUPPLIED
One of the highlights of the 2020 Knysna Motor Show will be a special display of Austin Healey sports cars. Picture: SUPPLIED

Taking advantage of the Workers’ Day long weekend, this year’s Knysna Motor Show will be held on Sunday May 3 at the Knysna High School sports grounds on Waterfront Drive.

“We moved the event from the last weekend in April to take advantage of the Worker’s Day public holiday that falls on the Friday,” says Peter Pretorius, chief organiser of this event, which is being presented for the ninth successive year by the Garden Route Motor Club.

Past shows have seen displays of 400 vehicles of the highest quality featuring veteran, vintage and classic cars, as well as a selection of rare modern supercars and an increasing number of vintage and classic motorcycles. This year, there will be a similar number of vehicles, all of top-drawer quality.

For the fourth year running, Sanlam Private Wealth will be the headline sponsor.

“We are delighted to be again sponsoring the Knysna Motor Show, one of the most prestigious events on the auto show calendar in SA,” says Leon Strümpher, portfolio manager at Sanlam Private Wealth.

“Many of our clients are passionate classic car collectors, not only as a hobby but as an alternative investment class which can deliver notable returns. We encourage all classic and vintage car enthusiasts to make the trip to Knysna — regarded as the classic car capital of SA — to see some of the best classic vehicles our country has to offer,” he says.

Austin Healeys on the lawns at Knysna

One of the highlights of the 2020 Knysna Motor Show will be a special display of 50 Austin Healey sports cars. It will include all models manufactured through the years, along with a Concours display of selected models. This contingent of Austin Healeys and their owners, including six from overseas, will take part in the Austin Healey Club’s 2020 national tour — the Knysna show is seen as the highlight of the Healey event.

The big brother Austin Healey is a sports car produced in England between 1953 and 1968 — many were assembled in SA. The classic Austin Healeys featured large-capacity four-cylinder engines in the early 100 Series cars, and potent 3.0l six-cylinder engines in the later 3000 Series cars. The display will also include the smaller Austin Healey Sprite models, along with a unique rolling chassis of a racing model with a strong SA history.

Another special display will honour the Mercedes-Benz Pagoda, the stylish German sports car built from 1963 to 1981 that has gained in collectability over the past few decades. These cars were available in 230, 250 and 280 SL guise over the car’s lifespan. They were noted for their extreme practicality, superb build quality and fine cruising ability, and their cache among enthusiasts has grown incrementally over the past few years.

The Pagoda series has a distinctive removable hardtop roof. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Pagoda series has a distinctive removable hardtop roof. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Pagoda name derives from the shape of the hardtop roof which was supplied with this car, along with a soft-top roof. In summer months, owners tended to store the Pagoda roof in the garage, but had the benefit of the soft-top in case of a sudden shower.

A host of specialist car clubs will be represented at the Knysna Motor Show. The organisers have again invited a selection of rare modern supercars, as these appeal particularly to young people. They will include models rarely seen by the public.

There is also a strong interest in vintage, classic and racing motorcycles in the area, and the motorcycle section has been growing in numbers and importance in recent shows. The organisers are expecting an interesting variety of special motorcycles this year.

The Garden Route Motor Club is again limiting the number of vehicles to 400, to retain the high standard of machinery that has become this show’s hallmark.

“The cars and motorcycles on show will again be there by special invitation only,” says Pretorius. “We aim to ensure that the cars on display measure up to a certain standard in terms of presentation and rarity. This also enables us to plan the display areas in advance, as we know exactly what will be arriving on the day.”

Owners of rare vintage, veteran, classic and super cars, and motorcycles should register by e-mailing Peter Pretorius at

Attendance of the Knysna Motor Show has grown to surpass 5,000 spectators in recent years. The 2020 show will be held on May 3 from 9am to 4pm.

Admission prices for spectators are R60 for adults and R20 for children aged 12-18 years. Children under R12 enter free of charge. Food and drink stalls will be plentiful, and best-of-show awards will be announced from 12pm onwards.

The Garden Route Motor Club has in the past raised more than R600,000 for charity through the Knysna Motor Show. This year’s beneficiaries will include Hospice, Animal Welfare, Famsa, E-pap (a feeding scheme for needy children) and a number of other charities.

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