Pranc­ing Horse in SA

Fer­rari has a long and proud his­tory in this coun­try. Here we trace its jour­ney to be­com­ing Scud­e­ria South Africa

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY: Wil­helm Lut­je­harms Wil­helm­l_­car­mag PHOTOS (2 & 3): SEFAC

IT’S a lit­tle known fact, but Fer­rari has a long his­tory in South Africa. We were ac­tu­ally the sec­ond con­ces­sion­aire for Fer­rari out­side main­land Europe, with only the United King­dom of­fer­ing Maranello’s finest be­fore us.

The lo­cal dis­tri­bu­tion arm was a com­pany called TAK Mo­tors – the Transvaal Agri­cul­tural Koöperasie – which, given its name, makes you won­der how it im­ported Fer­raris. As it turns out, one its own­ers, Rai­mondo di Boyle, had come to South Africa from Italy af­ter World War Two to set up a busi­ness sell­ing trac­tor parts. He knew the Lan­cia brothers in Italy and, through that con­nec­tion, be­gan im­port­ing Lan­cias to SA. As the Lan­cia brothers were closely af­fil­i­ated with Fer­rari, one thing lead to an­other and Di Boyle also started im­port­ing Fer­raris, with the first ve­hi­cle be­ing a 1957 212 Barchetta race­car (chas­sis num­ber 0154).

As Luigi Vigli­etti, one of the brothers who would later be the of­fi­cial im­porter of Fer­raris in our mar­ket, puts it: “This makes South Africa an his­tor­i­cally im­por­tant mar­ket for Fer­rari. There were a lot of im­por­tant and unique Fer­raris here at one time, but be­cause of the crazy money they’d started to fetch, most of them left the coun­try for Europe or the USA.”

An ex­am­ple of this is the Fer­rari 625 F1 that won the Rand Grand Prix in Palmi­et­fontein in 1956 with Peter White­head be­hind the wheel.

At this, stage there wasn’t re­ally any other

deal­er­ship in the coun­try ex­cept for TAK.

With Luigi, his six brothers and two sis­ters, the Vigli­etti fam­ily has, of course, been closely associated with the brand for many decades. They rst opened a mo­tor-re­pair shop in 1972 and later got to know TAK Mo­tors, which then ap­proached Vigli­etti Mo­tors Pty Ltd about the pos­si­bil­ity of ser­vic­ing and sell­ing Fer­raris in Cape Town.

It was only in 1994, how­ever, that Vigli­etti was given the of cial agency.

Luigi ex­plains: “In 1994, TAK came to an end and Fer­rari was look­ing for a new im­porter. It ap­proached a num­ber of po­ten­tial com­pa­nies in Jo­han­nes­burg, but noth­ing came of it. You need to re­mem­ber that Fer­rari was con­ser­va­tive at the time; it wanted a small show­room with maybe three or four cars. Low-key stuff.

“Even­tu­ally, Fer­rari de­cided to take our of­fer, but we had a lot of work to do to com­ply. I trav­elled to Maranello for meet­ings and it was only around a year later that we could an­nounce that we were now of cially the lo­cal im­porters of Fer­rari in South Africa.”

One of the brothers, Carlo, still ser­vices and restores Fer­raris at a spe­cial­ist cen­tre in Jo­han­nes­burg and he re­calls some high­lights of the past 40 years: “There are so many mem­o­rable mo­ments, but a stand­out was driv­ing Jean Alesi’s 1991 For­mula One car here in South Africa, as well as still be­ing hands-on with cars such as early Fer­rari 250 GTES, right up to mod­ern day 458s.”

In the late 2000s, Vigli­etti Mo­tors sold part of the busi­ness and, a hand­ful of years later, the cur­rent share­holder took over the reins and Scud­e­ria South Africa was founded.

The CEO of that com­pany, Mervyn Ea­gles, ex­plains the rea­sons be­hind the name: “Her­itage is a hugely im­por­tant as­pect of the brand and Scud­e­ria refers to the badge and team of Fer­rari. I couldn’t think of a bet­ter way to tie our­selves to this brand.”

Three years ago, Scud­e­ria Dur­ban was opened, sig­nalling the third of cial deal­er­ship in the coun­try, along with lo­ca­tions in Jo­han­nes­burg and Cape Town. Today, with sales grow­ing, Fer­rari has never been bet­ter pre­sented in South Africa.

Car­mag.co.za

1 Pri­va­teer David Piper ex­it­ing Crowthorne in his 1963 GTO dur­ing the nine-hour race at Kyalami. 2 Gigi Lupini takes de­liv­ery of the first Fer­rari road car to be sold in SA, a 1957 250 Pin­in­fa­rina Spi­der Se­ries 1, one of only two RHD mod­els ever made. 3 A 1952 225S Spi­der Vig­nale raced by Lupini at the first nine-hour race in 1958. 4 The Œat-12 engine from a 312T, taken at the 1976 SA Grand Prix. 5 The 312T at the hands of Niki Lauda lap­ping Kyalami at the 1976 event. 6 Lauda cel­e­brates on the podium. 7 Gilles Vil­leneuve in his 312T4 at the 1979 SA Grand Prix.

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