Made with el­bow grease

Fa­ther and son turn barn-find to el­e­gant ride

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

THE 40th edi­tion of SA’s long­est-run­ning mo­tor­show this year moves to the Gold Cir­cle race horse train­ing cir­cuit in Ash­bur­ton, less than 20 min­utes out of Pi­eter­mar­itzburg’s CBD.

Or­gan­is­ers ex­pect more than a 1 000 cars at this year’s ruby event — a far cry from the few cars that were on show at the first event that was held in Fe­bru­ary 1976. Apart from cars, trac­tors, steam en­gines and mo­tor­bikes will also form part of the show, with lots of en­ter­tain­ment for the child in ev­ery­one.

Mo­tor­bike rid­ers and their pil­lions en­ter free, although a do­na­tion for Hospice will be ap­pre­ci­ated at the mo­tor­cy­cle dis­play area. Adults pay R40 to en­ter, with chil­dren un­der 16 and pen­sion­ers pay­ing R20.

Mem­ber of the 100s rid­ers club Neville Hen­der­son pre­dicts it will be a bumper show and re­minds the fans to bring sun block, as the train­ing ground does not have the trees that gave shel­ter at the show’s pre­vi­ous venue, Alexan­dra Park.

The show starts at 7 am and fin­ishes at 4.30 pm. The spec­ta­tor’s gate closes at 3.30 pm. • To get to the Gold Cir­cle train­ing cir­cuit, drive east on the N3 from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg to Ash­bur­ton. Take of­framp 69 and fol­low the sign­posts to reach it. The cir­cuit is 17 km from the City Hall.

Woo­ing a wrench, in­stead of a wench

One of the ex­hibitors at Car in the Park, The Wit­ness jour­nal­ist Amil Umraw, will be show­ing off the div­i­dend from the litres of el­bow grease he and his fa­ther Allen in­vested in an old Ford Pre­fect for al­most a year.

Amil re­calls how he came to spend most nights and week­ends woo­ing a wrench in­stead of a wench to get an old 1 200 cc car back on the road af­ter 50 years.

“A flat bed rolled into our drive­way with what looked like a Lon­don cabby that had taken a fare to hell and back.

“Un­der patches of 60-yearold paint and rust glim­mered a 1946 Ford Pre­fect. My fa­ther had pur­chased it from a farm owner in the Al­bert Falls area, where for many a year it was home to rats and spi­ders.

“We started by strip­ping the en­tire car — re­mov­ing what­ever could be de­tached.

“We then gave the en­gine a swing. Lo and be­hold, af­ter three or four cranks, the rust-bucket started up and we made it all the way to the top of the drive­way be­fore we re­alised the brakes didn’t work. We then set about re­mov­ing and strip­ping the en­gine, clean­ing ev­ery in­di­vid­ual nook and cranny.

“The seats and in­te­rior trim­mings were sent for re-up­hol­stery, all the metal trim­mings were sent for chroming, the car was sanded down and a few tack-welds were made here and there be­fore the body was primered and sent in for paint­ing (which hap­pened in our back yard, much to my mother’s de­light).

“What emerged was a splen­did dash of gun­metal grey with a si­lent blue un­der­tone. No bad at all for an old barn-find.”

The devil is in the de­tail

Amil said re­pair­ing a 50-year-old car was not all fun and games.

“Find­ing a ra­di­a­tor hose and the orig­i­nal lights (which the finest R50 LEDs from a lo­cal rac­ing shop were sourced from) were a ma­jor prob­lem. Tyres as well.

“An orig­i­nal 16-inch Jeppi tyre costs R2 400 th­ese days. So we opted for 15-inch wheels of a VW Bee­tle. Tyres aside, the old Pre­fect is al­most back to show­room con­di­tion. It’s not ready for the likes of Pearl Beach, but I think the old jalopy will en­joy sun­ning her gun­metal flanks at Cars in the Park this week­end. It re­ally feels splen­did, putting a car that was forgotten back on the road where it be­longs.”


Lov­ingly re­stored: The 1946 Ford Pre­fect be­fore and af­ter it was made as good as new by Allen Umraw and his son, Wit­ness jour­nal­ist Amil. Look for the Pre­fect in its gun­metal fin­ish among the more than 1 000 other clas­sic cars that will be on show at Cars in The Park at its new venue at the Gold Cir­cle train­ing cen­tre on Sun­day.

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