The most amazing sights and sounds will be shattering the pre-dawn calm on the R55 south west of Pretoria on Sunday, August 6, 2017. When was the last time you saw queues of 1950s Ford and Chevrolet V8s jostling with 1960 Ford Anglias, Minis and Cortinas? Couples wrapped up like polar bears against the chill in open Lotus 7 and Cobra replicas? And stupefying classics like supercharged Aurburns and Model A Fords from the 1930s all lining up to gain entry into Petrolhead Heaven?
That is what the scene will look like from 6 am at the Zwartkops Raceway on Sunday, August 6, 2017. It will be the 38th running of the Pretoria Old Motor Club’s annual Cars in the Park extravaganza, a motoring tour-de-force that has seen this event become the biggest car show of any type in Africa. For this year’s event close to 10 000 spectators are expected, as the classic car movement in South Africa gains ever-increasing momentum.
The gates open to admit the classics from 6 am, and POMC organiser Frik Kraamwinkel is hoping to have most of the 2 500 classics parked around the race track by 8 am. “Obviously we will admit classic cars all day, “ says Kraamwinkel. “But the idea is to get them in as early as possible.”
As for what defines a “classic” The POMC crew are instructed to admit any cars older than 1985 models, while special concessions will be made for newer exotics like Ferraris.
“We also have over 100 clubs coming, and some of these guys drive newer cars, but the driver will have to bring proof of club membership along. Otherwise they’ll have to park in the public parking areas,” says Kraamwinkel.
The driver of a classic car will be admitted free of charge, along with one passenger. Any additional adult passengers loaded in an old Zephyr or Pontiac or what-have-you, will pay the full admission price of R100, while children under 12 will be admitted free of charge.
One of the special attractions at the Cars in the Park is that each year previously-undiscovered classics emerge from lock-ups from around the country and head for this giant motoring celebration.
The cubs displaying the members’ cars range from the genteel, like the Mercedes-Benz, Lancia and Alfa Romeo clubs, to the imposing, such as the Buick and Cadillac club, to the rough and ready, like the stock-car-racing banger display from the nearby Mahem raceway. Garishly-painted hot rods mingle with cars in muted pastel colours from the dawn of motoring, and it is expected that in the Special Invites section in the pits will include some of the earliest Fords seen in South Africa from 1903 onwards.
The theme for the Special Interest Invited cars this year is “Zero to 100” and cars from each decade from the 1900s to the 2010s will be represented by special Fords. “This Ford theme is also in honour of our association with the Lazarus Motor Company for this year’s event, which started in 1957, and started selling Fords as early as 1961,” says Kraamwinkel.
The Lazarus Group is celebrating its 60th anniversary at Cars in the Park this year, and the company, which holds franchises for Ford, Mazda, Jaguar, Land Rover and Kia, will also be showing its own special collection of classics, as well as the exciting Roush Mustang.
There will be well over 100 stalls selling motor-related paraphernalia, food and drinks, and there will be special entertainment for children as well as adults.
The SABAT POWER WHEELCHAIR RACE is scheduled to start at 2 pm on the kart race circuit next to the Zwartkops pits. Says Ari Seirlis, CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa:
“This year’s Cars in the Park promises plenty of fun and entertainment on the day. The pride of South Africa’s national vintage and classic cars, a glittering parade of shiny muscle cars and motorcycles will be on display. As an event, the SABAT / QASA Race Day is unique and a fine example of meaningful hands-on corporate social responsibility. There is a genuine relationship between our organisation and the team from SABAT.
“SABAT has provided our members with free batteries for powering wheelchairs over many years and you cannot put a price on the importance of mobility. But it is so much more than that. The SABAT Retail Agents link up with our members around the country and go out of their way to support their mobility needs.”
The gates to the public open at 8 am, and the show will run through until 4 pm.
This year the organisers have organised a special additional spectator car park outside the Zwartkops grounds on the R55, to ease congestion. Traffic flow has improved tremendously at this event over the years, and in 2017 it once again will be run by the Traffic Free Flow organisation. The organisers also encourage people travelling from the West of Johannesburg and West Rand to use the newly finished M26 road, accessed off the William Nichol extension road and the Sandton turn-off from the N14 Krugersdorp-Pretoria highway.
For more information on The Pretoria Old Motor Club’s Cars in the Park, hosted at Zwartkops Raceway west of Pretoria on August 6, 2017, visit the Pretoria Old Motor Club website on www.pomccitp.co.za. Or go to the Cars in the Park Facebook page, on https://web.facebook.com/POMCclub/ or https://web.facebook.com/POMC-Cars-in-the-Park