Cape Town Crankhandle Club's 1901 Benz Ideal is the oldest working car in South Africa. File photo:

Cape Town - With its mechanical presentation of the past, the present and even a glimpse of the future, the 2017 Killarney Motor Show is going to have it all.

Currently celebrating its 70th anniversary, Killarney is the oldest motorsport venue still operative in South Africa. The Cape also had the honour of hosting the first motor race in the country, way back in 1903 at the old Green Point Track. The competing cars in that inaugural meeting were sent off on an oval track with a gravel surface that had been laid out for cycling and athletic meetings.

But it was only the development of the Killarney complex that got the sport revving freely. And old timers will be pleased to hear that the genuine duplicates of many of the models that competed in those events are going to be on display at the motor show next month.

One of them is the oldest car in South Africa, a 1901 Ideal Benz that is still in perfect running condition. However, it has a rather complicated starting system that is prone to occupy considerable time before it is able to prove it really is in perfect running condition.

It has a single-cylinder engine with a leather clutch linking it to a three speed gearbox that those who drive it describe as being: slow, very slow and hardly moving. Defying that description, it was still able to set the pace when it featured as the lead car in the 1930 UCT varsity rag procession through the Cape Town CBD.

Swallow Sidecars' 1936 SS100 was the first car to bear the Jaguar name. File photo: Dave Abrahams

Then the classic Jaguar SS100, a model distinguished by headlamps that look more like searchlights, will be among a host of others from a later era. First launched in 1936, the SS100 is still widely considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing Jaguar cars. It is also one of the rarest and Killarney visitors will be fortunate to be able to view at least two of them.

Incidentally, the “100” signified it could attain a speed of 100mph (160km/h). Finally, instead of the restrictions imposed

Cape Argus

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