HID­DEN TREA­SURES

Be­hind an in­nocu­ous garage door in Dur­banville, Cape Town, lies a won­der­fully eclec­tic Ital­ian-flavoured col­lec­tion of clas­sic cars

Car (South Africa) - - DRIVE - BY: Wil­helm Lut­je­harms Wil­helm­l_­car­mag PHO­TOS: Peet Mocke Petridish_­mooks

FROM the out­side, it looks like an im­pres­sive sub­ur­ban garage big enough for four cars … but that’s way short of the mark. The door opens to re­veal a cav­ernous space lled with a mouth-wa­ter­ing se­lec­tion of highly de­sir­able clas­sic and some more con­tem­po­rary cars.

This 30-year-old col­lec­tion is a mix of re­stored Alfa Romeos, some still with that won­der­ful patina of older cars in top nick, plus a few ex­am­ples still need­ing some at­ten­tion.

Although mod­ern sportscars such as a Mercedes-benz CLK63 AMG Black Se­ries and Fer­rari F430 are parked at the en­trance, Hannes Pien­aar ex­plains it was the older Alfa Romeos that laid the foun­da­tion for his pas­sion in cars.

“My fa­ther had an in­ter­est in ve­hi­cles and my love of Alfa de nitely comes from him, as well as my un­cle. The lat­ter par­tic­i­pated in ral­lies with Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lias and drove Al­fas his whole life. I still re­mem­ber the Gi­uli­etta Ti my fa­ther bought when he was a gen­eral prac­ti­tioner in Cale­don.

“My dad used to say, if I got my med­i­cal de­gree cum laude, he’d buy me a new Alfa. Need- less to say, I re­ceived a sec­ond­hand Alfa [chuck­les]. My rst one was a 1979 1500 Sprint I in­her­ited from him when I turned 21. It had 117 000 km on the odo but I im­me­di­ately took the en­gine out and in­stalled a Ve­loce pow­er­train. It then ran like the clap­pers.”

Keep­ing such a col­lec­tion on the road takes hours of com­mit­ment and hard work.

“I like do­ing ba­sic main­te­nance my­self,” he says, “but, these days, putting the time aside is a chal­lenge.”

His col­lec­tion of cars has also pro­vided Hannes with some spe­cial mem­o­ries, from a road trip around Le­sotho in a 1983 Alfa Romeo 2.5 GTV to ex­plor­ing the vast North­ern Cape in his unique Mercedes-benz W124 560CE.

That Benz is a fas­ci­nat­ing case. The only one of its kind, it was a spe­cial project by Mercedes-benz SA and AMG em­ploy­ees for one of the com­pany’s di­rec­tors, and has been veri ed at 310 km/h.

Over on the left are two Fer­raris that bridge two very dif­fer­ent eras in the Pranc­ing Horse’s his­tory.

“The love for Fer­rari owed from my in­ter­est in Alfa,” ex­plains Hannes. “I al­ways had a dream to buy a Fer­rari in the north and drive it back to Cape Town, and for­tu­nately that is what hap­pened. I pro­cured this 1989 328 GTB and drove it down; it was man­u­fac­tured in the nal year of pro­duc­tion and not as slow as you might think. Then, two years ago, I bought a 2006 F430 F1 from an Ital­ian guy and it re­ally is a fan­tas­tic car. This early pad­dle-shift F1 trans­mis­sion has its crit­ics but I don’t mind it. You just need to learn how to use it.”

These clas­sics are also no garage queens, as Hannes ex­plains: “Older sportscars need to be driven and ex­pe­ri­enced in the way their mak­ers in­tended when they were de­vel­oped.”

Although there is a wide va­ri­ety and dis­tinct pe­riod dif­fer­ences through­out the col­lec­tion, the com­mon theme is two-door cars of the sportier per­sua­sion: “I have a deep in­ter­est in all cars but sportscars and coupés are my main in­ter­est.”

There are even some ve­hi­cles parked off­site, in­clud­ing a 1958 Se­ries 2 Land Rover SWB and an even rarer, un­re­stored 1953 Mercedes-benz 170d bakkie that, un­til 2010, was ac­tu­ally do­ing farm du­ties in Namibia. The plan with this bakkie is to not re­store it, but just clean it up and pre­serve it.

“Apart from two-door cars, I en­joy the torque of­fered by large-ca­pac­ity en­gines, which is why I have sev­eral V8s in the col­lec­tion. But, you’ll no­tice they are all Euro­pean V8s and not Amer­i­can V8s...”

We’ve been run­ning this se­ries for a cou­ple of years but never be­fore have we seen such a var­ied col­lec­tion, a true tes­ta­ment to Hannes’ love of cars.

The door opens to re­veal a cav­ernous space filled with a mouth-wa­ter­ing se­lec­tion of cars

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