Johannesburg - One of South Africa’s most respected and accomplished motoring journalists leaves Independent Media this week after 26 memorable years in the driver’s seat.
Denis Droppa has been the face of motoring in IOL and its sister print titles for as long as many can remember, having joined the company as a writer at the beginning of 1992, before shifting across to the Motoring Editor’s chair after Steve Kealy handed the keys over in 1994.
Droppa went on to win numerous accolades, including two SAGMJ Motoring Journalist of the Year awards, and soon became known for his witty yet brutally honest writing style.
When it came to car reviews Droppa continued Independent Media’s proud tradition of telling it like it is, ruffling more than a few car manufacturer feathers along the way and no doubt falling off many a Christmas card list. His colleagues will remember him as professional, fair and generally a very nice guy to work with.
Droppa fondly remembers his first car launch, the ‘dolphin shape’ (E36) BMW 3-Series, for which BMW flew its media guests from Johannesburg to Cape Town in a Concorde. Quite fittingly, his final gig for Independent also included some fast flying, albeit this time it was around Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in the latest Lamborghini Huracan and Aventador supercars.
There were in fact plenty of driving adventures in between, the most exhilarating of which was piloting a Renault Formula One car around the Paul Ricard Circuit in France back in 2007 - something he described as motoring’s equivalent of summiting Mount Everest.
Yet whether it was driving humble Chana bakkies through the world’s highest tarred border post in the Himalayas or spinning an Audi R8 at 260km/h on the Haksteen salt pan during Speedweek, he always came home with an interesting story to share with his audience.
Yet Droppa was never afraid to face the serious side of the industry, penning many a hard-hitting piece on issues affecting motorists, from fuel quality to adverse law enforcement. Particularly memorable was his interview with a convicted car hijacker, which gained valuable insights into this horrible scourge.
Droppa will continue to be involved in the motor industry and we wish him all the best in his new chosen adventure. Tramp that pedal!