Words: Stuart Johnston Communications
The 36th running of the annual Cars in the Park at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria looks set to break all previous records in terms of the number of cars and spectators attending.
Last year over 3 000 classic and special interest cars showed up at venue and there were over 15 000 spectators, the biggest crowd that he Zwartkops Raceway has hosted for any event. This year, with interest in classic cars at a fever pitch thanks to the proliferation of television shows publicising the “old-timer passion”, the organisers are catering for an even bigger turn-out.
Extra car park areas and access roads have been created to cater for the increased traffic. Over 100 car clubs have booked special areas. And as far as commercial interest is concerned, over 150 stall holders will be displaying and selling goods at the venue.
The 3 000 cars that have shown at Zwartkops for the past few years vary widely in type and form. The basic rule to conform to a classic is that the car should be 30 years and older, but Cars in the Park also caters for various other types of special interest cars such as muscle cars and hot rods.
SPECIAL INVITE CARS AT THE HUB AT THIS YEAR’S CARS IN THE PARK
Each year the Pretoria Old Motor Club sends out Special Invites to specific car owners to form a display in the centre of the venue at the pit area. This year the accent is very much on cars that are over a century old, although there are a couple of exceptions.
With a number of special invites going to the owners of very early Fords, it will be possible to trace the lineage of “the car that put the world on wheels” right back to pre-Model T days.
The Fords scheduled for display are extremely rare. There are two Model N cars whose owners have accepted invitations, and these are the only two Model Ns in the country, both pre-dating the Model T and produced in 1907.
Also pre-dating the T is the very dainty Ford Model S, again being produced in 1907, and this is the only known example in South Africa.
There will be two Ford Model Ts, one a 1912 model and the other a 1912 Model. The Model T was produced from 1908 to 1927, and over 15-million were built under the guidance of the man who transformed the world’s motor industry, Henry Ford.
After the Model T came the Model A, and there is a pristine 1927 Roadster example coming to Cars in the Park from the West Rand. Another special invite from the Ford stable will be the first V8 that Ford produced, a 1932 V8 Phaeton.
Also amongst the Special Invites are a 1912 Buick, a 1937 Packard (one of only seven that exists in the world) and a 1913 Cadillac.
The 1913 Cadillac is one of the most interesting cars in this section as it was the car that introduced the electric starter to cars for the first timer. Prior to this, cars had to be started by hand with a crank-handle.
In addition to these cars that pioneered motoring in South Africa, there will be thousands more to drool over, ranging from Maseratis to Daimlers to Alfa Romeos to Bentleys and even to giant off roaders such as Unimogs. It is believed that the biggest gathering of classic Unimog all-terrain vehicles will take place at this year’s Cars in the Park.
The gates to the venue open at 6 am for exhibitors and drivers of classic cars will gain free entry. Spectator gates open at 8 am. Entry fees for adults is R100 and children under-12 will be admitted free. The Zwartkops Raceway is located on the R55, west of Pretoria. The show will last all day, but to see the best entries it is advisable to get there early, as some of the “old timers” begin leaving at about noon.