Cape Town – Neither scorching heat nor drought-borne dust kept petrolheads from as far away as Michigan in the United States away from the 18th annual IPA Classic Car and Bike show at Timour Hall Villa in Plumstead at the weekend.
Both exhibitor and visitor numbers were up over the previous two years, including a number of rare and unusual vehicles not seen before at Timour Hall.
They ranged from a couple of old school custom-built motorcycles, one based on a Royal Enfield Bullet, but with a style all its own, to vintage military vehicles on the Heritage Group stand (including an ex-Wehrmacht field kitchen nicknamed the Goulash Cannon that was serving delicious German sausage rolls) to a perfect running replica of a 1967 Ferrari P4 endurance racing car.
Other notable rarities included the world’s one and only right-hand drive Lancia Thema 8.32, the only known example of a Vootrekker motorcycle (hand-built in Pretoria in 1916), and a 1917 Indian PowerPlus which, when the owner started it, idled evenly with a very un-vintage-like absence of mechanical clatter.
It was the first time that I had attended the show as an exhibitor, and I was surprised at how important the social aspect was; in addition to hundreds of enthusiasts who were there to visit old friends both human and mechanical (“I had one of those, back in the day…”) there were children of all sizes, peering into the old cars, asking unexpectedly pertinent questions and showing enormous interest in how their grandparents got from A to B.
Future cars may well drive themselves, and be powered by fuel cells, but a ride on a 1901 Benz Ideal, quietly chuffing uphill with two adults and a child aboard, will teach that child far more about the history of transport, and why today’s cars are built the way they are, than any website could.