Packard convertible
Packard convertible

Packard Convertible One Twenty 1941 part of upcoming Heritage Tour

By Thandile Konco Time of article published Sep 18, 2021

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Cape Town - The Southern Cape Old Car Club (SCOCC) Heritage Tour supported by Recollection Rides, is exhibiting one of South Africa’s oldest automobiles, the Packard Convertible One Twenty 1941 in an upcoming Heritage Tour.

The tour which takes to the road from September 23, will be showcasing the car which is one of the most revered and anticipated vehicles of the event’s participating automobiles. It has been 80-years since the classic automobile became the last of its kind to roll off the production line.

Mike Alexander, Chairman of the SCOCC said that the club was excited to be hosting their first event since the beginning of the pandemic; about 24 cars across a variety of brands ranging from the early 30’s to the 80’s will be part of the tour.

“The tour is put together by a committee of efficient people under the club that makes the experience very interesting. The routes are unique and venture to the most beautiful, hidden places that you would not commonly see,” he said.

The tour lasts for four days and three nights, venturing from George, passing through Franschhoek and Oudtshoorn, stopping at various sites, landmarks and hotels along the way.

The tour caters for everyone from vintage car fanatics, road trip lovers, families, local travellers and promises to be a real adventure.

Sep Serfontein who acquired his first Packard One Twenty Sedan in 1982 was so smitten with this rare collector’s item, that he decided to focus on Packards and their preservation.

Serfontein, the registered restorer of the Packard Convertible along with his son Louis Serfontein, said it was a 40-year voyage for him going as far back as the mid-1980s when the classic car was discovered in a Cape Flats garage.

Serfontein explained that the car was originally found by renowned vintage-car collector Bertie Bester, who is rumoured to have swapped the wreck for an already restored 1938 Dodge coupe.

“We acquired the Packard during a consequent and complicated exchange in 1987, after which it spent a quarter century in storage in Pretoria.”

The search for parts in South Africa and the US was a quest that lasted decades. It was made all the more challenging by the fact that President Roosevelt donated a vast quantity of Packard bodywork castings and parts, to his wartime ally Joseph Stalin who was a Packard enthusiast.

Serfontein said that thereafter, several unsuccessful attempts were made to start restoring the car. A number of 1941 sedan wrecks were bought for their parts and stripped; a roof frame was only tracked down in 1991 and the engine was rebuilt by Pretoria-based connoisseur Jan Snyman during in 1998.

As a result, Serfontein and his collaborators had to physically recreate some of the parts over a twenty-year procurement process. The Packard finally made its way to Wilderness in 2009, to form part of a collection of contemporary vehicles, all dating back to the 1940s.

Weekend Argus

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