The Independent on Saturday found three car owners with significantly modified cars and asked them just what it meant to be a car enthusiast and what drove their passion.
Rinesh Manilal, 33, owns a Hyundai Getz and is a driving instructor, and his brother Sumeet, 21, owns a Fiat Uno and is graphic designer.
The car fanatics from Phoenix have spent a considerable amount of time and money on their vehicles.
“Durban has a great number of car enthusiasts," said Rinesh. "I’ve been on the car scene since 2002 with my Fiat Uno, which had a wall with four 12-inch Calibra subwoofers. In 2005 I had an E36 BMW that was customised. And now I’ve made a show car out of my own driving school car (Hyundai Getz). As a car enthusiast, I’ve never been able to keep a car standard for more than three months.”
He said car enthusiasts didn’t usually calculate the costs of what they spent on modifying their vehicles.
Rinesh has a custom body kit on his, the interior is done in red suede with black leather and has a custom wall consisting of six 12-inch audiobank subwoofers which replaced the rear seats.
“Durban has some of the best show cars on the road, whether it’s stance, performance or sound, Durban delivers,” said Sumeet.
“I grew up around cars as my dad is a Fiat Uno specialist, which is probably why I am car crazy. I guess it’s in my blood to have a show car.
“My father gave me this car as a bare shell, and it was built up from scratch. My brother is responsible for the interior roll cage, back-seat replacement, and boot set-up. It didn’t matter what the costs were, as long as everything was done to perfection - with no shortcuts. However, the air-ride suspension (about R27000) was one of the most expensive modifications.”
Sameet said he entered a lot of motor shows, not for competition but for the love of the car scene.
“It’s all about chilling with your friends who share the same passion. Luckily for me I’ve bagged 27 trophies in 30 shows. I haven’t entered a show since July, but I will be back in the car scene this year.”
“Having built the car from scratch, every part is precious to me, I can just stare at the car for hours. As my first car, I’ve made my childhood dream a reality, especially with the air-ride suspension.
Sumeet said Durbanites, who turned up at car shows in their numbers, helped the car scene grow.
"Yet some make bad comments and send the police to shut down shows. I don't blame them - there’s always those guys who rev their cars until the engine gives up, or they spin their car and put innocent lives at risk.
“Some people see modifying cars as a waste of money.”
For most, though, it’s about meeting new people, sharing modification ideas, helping friends with alterations, and most importantly, showing others that they are capable of competing with cars abroad.
"We Durbanites have the potential to have our cars in shows such as the international Sema motor show,” said Sumeet.
Another car enthusiast, BMW owner Kershan Marimuthoo, 30, from Phoenix said he had always had a passion for cars and had found a job in the motoring industry.
“I paid R80000 for my car and the vehicle was stock, then I spent more than R60000 on modifications. I changed the wheels and added a full M3 kit and custom sound.”
His car was featured in Ryki’s music video Please Try.
“I love BMWs. I have two, and to own this model and have it in the condition it’s in, makes me happy.”
SATURDAY ON INDEPENDENT