South Africa's biggest auto show

11 years, 6 months ago - 28 July 2011, Wheels News
South Africa's biggest auto show
It was back in 1982 that the Pretoria Old Motor Club (POMC) organised the first edition of what has become the biggest car show in South Africa.

On August 7, 2011 the 29th Cars in the Park event will showcase nearly 3000 vintage, veteran, post-war, classic and special-interest cars.

The event will once again be held at the Zwartkops Raceway on the R55, south-west of Pretoria, near Laudium. Action from about 6.30am until 4pm. 


The charm of this event, attended by all the major car clubs in South Africa, is that it attracts all manner of cars and not just those of the vintage and classic variety. Here you can see old Mk I Ford Cortinas turned into off-roaders, Mitsubishi Colts from the early 1970's sporting turbocharged engines with 250kW on tap, and perhaps even a speedboat that has been road-registered, fitted with four wheels, lights and mirrors.

POMC’s chief organiser of this year’s event, Theo Stander, is understandably excited. "The decision to open up the event to special-interest cars and motorcycles was taken some years back and the event has never looked back."

But while this years show is certain to attract its fair share if dragsters, stock-cars from the Mahem Raceway just over the mountain, and droves of Datsun 1200s able to out-accelerate Ferraris, the vintage and classic-car fans will be out in full force too.

Last year there were a number of cars built between 1900 and 1910; this year there is likely to be a very strong contingent of Ford Model Ts. Built from 1908 to 1927, the famous Tin Lizzies put America and a large part of the world on wheels, thanks to pioneering mass-production of automobiles, and many Model T owners will be celebrating the more than 100 years of this car’s existence.

Other pre-war beauties will include a number of Ford V8 phaetons from the 1930s, numerous Buicks and Cadillacs, and some rare French, German and Italian makes.

For fans of post-war classic racers, a big attraction will be a shoot-out between two huge V8-engined historic racers. 

The 1959 Plymouth, fettled in the Nascar colours of the famous Petty racing family in America, will take on the mid-1960s Chevelle in an on-track “shoot-out”, adding a dynamic element to this year’s Cars in the Park.


And even more exciting for some will be the drifting competition, featuring hordes of Supercharged Nissan 350Zs, Chevrolet Luminas, turbocharged BMWs and Mazdas all intent on one aim – to light up their rear tyres and create as much noise and smoke as possible.

A feature of Cars in the Park is that it attracts numerous barn-finds that are transported to the show in the hope of finding buyers intent on restoring them. Hot rods mingle with massive "Big Foot" Chev pick-ups riding metres off the ground, while post war classics will be out in their hundreds, even thousands. English favourites as Austins, Morrises, Vauxhalls and Jaguars rub mirrors with Mercedes, BMWs, Volvos, DKWs, Renaults and hordes of fast Fords from the ‘50s, ‘60s and '70s.

And expect more than 200 early VWBeetles, Kombis, Karmann Ghias and Beach Buggies to stake their claim that "the best VWs are air-cooled VWs".

The great thing about Cars in the Park is that while more than 100 clubs are expected, non-club owners of special and classic cars are just as welcome.

Owners of classics and special-interest cars will be allowed access to the circuit proper and spectators in "normal" cars will have to park outside the track. A number of club officials and traffic cops will be on hand to enable easy access to the circuit all day.

Zwartkops Raceway is on the Kyalami-Laudium road, marked as the R55, south-west of Pretoria. The event can also be accessed from the Randburg area by travelling north on William Nicol which becomes the R511 and then the M26, with a secondary entrance just after the Erasmia township before the road intersects with the R55.