VINTAGE AND CLASSIC CARS SOUTH AFRICA

Aston Martin - DB 4 GT - 1961
ASTON MARTIN - model: DB 4 GT -year: 1961

Production of the Aston-Martin sports car commenced in 1913. Its founders, Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, had sold Singer, Calthorpe and GWK cars until after World War I. (The Aston part of the name is derived from the Aston Clinton Hill Climb. Bamford had been very successful there, driving a Special with a Coventry-Simplex engine installed in an Isotta-Fraschini voiturette chassis).

During the mid-1950’s, technical director John Wyer started the design of a new model, provisionally calling it Project 114. A new body was designed by Carrozzeria Touring, who licensed Aston Martin to produce the car at Newport Pagnell. With the new engine designed by Tadek Marek, the DB4 made its debut in September 1958 at the Paris Motor Show. A more powerful version, the DB4GT with cowled headlights to distinguish it from the less powerful DB4 was introduced with the vantage engine developing 302hp (225kw). The Vantage engine developed 302 BHP (225 kW).

Bugatti - Type 49 - 1931
BUGATTI - model: Type 49 -year: 1931

Resembling the lordly Type 41 Royale, the Type 49 (1930-1934) was both a comfortable carriage and a lively sports model. It could maintain a cruising speed of over 120 km/h on France’s Routes Nationales, but could also easily crawl through traffic. Its particularly attractive alloy wheels were similar to those used on the Type 41. The Bugatti Type 49 was the last single-cam produced - this particular car being bought new by a Czech who had a custom-built body fitted in Czechoslovakia.

Chevrolet - Universal Series AD Six - 1930


CHEVROLET - model: 'Universal' Series AD Six - year: 1930

"A Six for the price of a Four" was the sales slogan of the new Chevrolet Six of 1929 - introduced in December 1928. Ford was still the top seller in 1929, but by 1930 Chevrolet became the best-selling car in the world, occupying first position in sales until the 1970's. Its six cylinder engine was known as the 'cast iron wonder' or 'stove bolt six' because of the likeness of the bolts to those used on coal stoves.
Chrysler - 72 Six Roadster - 1928
CHRYSLER - model: Series 72 Six Roadster -year: 1928

In 1928, the Chrysler Corporation was very much on the move with the introduction of the new low-priced Plymouth and a corporate take over of the Dodge Company. On the race track, Chrysler achieved third and fourth places overall at Le Mans, competing against the likes of Bentley and Stutz. In this same year, Gerry Bouwer and Emil Millin drove their Chrysler from Cape Town to Cairo in just 93 days. Once in Cairo, Bouwer’s wife joined them to drive on to London. Their return trip to Cape Town took them a mere 40 days!

DKW - Reichsklasse F5 Cabriolet - 1938
DKW - model: Reichsklasse F5 Cabriolet (4 seats) -year: 1938

DKW's Accessible Style Capitalising on the racing successes of Bernd Rosemeyer and Ernst von Delius in their Auto-Union Grand Prix racing cars, even low-priced DKW marketed their cars successfully, stating that the bodies of the more expensive open models were built in the same Chemnitz factory as the expensive Horch. 

FORD MODEL T - Speedster - 1916

FORD MODEL T - model: Speedster - year: 1916

This is a typical “Bitza” to car restorers - having a little bit of this and a little bit of that. This particular car is by no means authentic and is probably the work of an Englishman, who got hold of an old Ford Model T chassis and the engine of a later Model T (hence the different chassis and engine numbers). This car enthusiast tried to create a vehicle never marketed by Ford, a so-called “Speedster”, which resembled those built by the likes of Hudson, Mercer and Stutz. Even more spurious is its grafted on, three-speed gearbox of quite a modern design! Restoration will cost a great deal – more than the current market price of restoring a complete, fully authentic Model T of the same era. This vehicle was part of the Patrick Chapman Collection.

HUPMOBILE - Eight - 1929
HUPMOBILE - model: Eight - year: 1929

In 1908, the Hupp Corporation was founded by Robert C. Hupp - a previous employee of Oldsmobile, Ford and Regal. The Hupmobile wasn’t the prettiest car to come out of Detroit but was so tough as to be described as “unbreakable”. Hupmobiles became very popular where roads were bad, such as South Africa, Australia and South America.

By 1928 one could buy a pretty Hupmobile. Amos Northup - responsible for the design of some of the most beautiful cars of the 1930’s like the Willys-Knight Great Six, Reo Royale and the Graham Blue Streak - designed very attractive bodies, making the new models look more expensive than they were. The 1930’s hit Hupmobile very hard and by World War II, car production was terminated. The Hupp Corporation still exists today as a major manufacturer of sealed units for refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners.

Le Zebra - Type A - 1909
LE ZEBRA - model: Type A - year: 1909

This French car was designed by Jules Salomon who later designed the first Citroën. The first 50 cars were manufactured in 1909 for Le Zébre at the Unic factory in Paris, a well-known manufacturer of taxis and, later, heavy trucks. The Le Zébre is a car with a musical connection. The owner of the factory, Jacques Bizet, was the son of Georges Bizet, composer of the opera Carmen. A few were imported into South Africa before World War 1. They were produced from 1909 to 1931.

Protea - 1957
PROTEA -  Model: Protea -year: 1957

John Streeter and Ivor Smith produced a handful of crude cycle cars in 1913. These are generally regarded as the first cars to be built in South Africa. Sales were limited to three units only. The next effort to produce a South African car occurred 40 years later. Roland Fincher, Alexander Roy, John Myers and Miriam and Robert Hudson built the Protea. 20 units were produced and the company was incorporated in November 1956. The Protea made its debut at the Rand Spring Motor Show in 1957. Although the Protea won the Pietermaritzburg Six Hours’ Endurance Race, Myers and John Mason-Gordon driving, it was not a financially viable car.

STUDEBAKER - Hawk Gran Turismo - 1963
STUDEBAKER - Model: Hawk Gran Turismo -Year: 1963

Extensive car design changes were common in the United States in the 1960’s. The basic designs created by Raymond Loewy’s studios for Studebaker were still soldiering on after a decade. In 1962 the coupes had acquired a squared-off roof section to provide better accommodation for rear seat passengers. Brooks Stevens and his small team of stylists were responsible. The Hawk grille had been adapted to create a car that was truly elegant and fast. It was however let down by its somewhat antiquated running-gear and poor marketing.


Peugeot - Racing Special - 1948
PEUGEOT - model: Racing Special - year: 1948

This is a good example of the Specials to take part in races on the old Palmietfontein, Grand Central, Eerste River and Pietermaritzburg race tracks. Built by local enthusiasts, they used a wide variety of chassis although a wider variety of engines and gearboxes were used. It created unusual racers like John Hanning’s Aston-Nash and this Peugeot Special, built by John Tout in 1948 and 1949. The basis was a 1939 Peugeot 402 which he bought from a scrap dealer. The body was removed, the chassis shortened and the springs changed from semi-elliptic to quarter-elliptic. A neat body was made by an expert panel beater and the engine was reconditioned. Tout raced it without success and sold it. Thereafter it was raced in hill climbing events in the 1950’s.