Made with elbow grease
Father and son turn barn-find to elegant ride
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.