Back in September, start of Spring season here in Cape Town, we travelled an hour north to the small farming town of Darling for the Darling Wild Flower Show’s 100th year celebration.
In Spring the West Coast to the north of Cape Town briefly bursts into colour with wild flowers before the summer heat and winds take over. The previous year, my first visit, I was expecting not much beyond spending time with friends, flowers, a beer tent and food stalls, so finding a bunch of classic cars was a huge bonus. Its a South African thing, we can’t keep shows to one theme.
This Austin Marina panel van was not part of the show, it was a traders vehicle I found in the car park. Seems if these Marina’s didn’t fall prey to tin worm they can go on forever.
This Austin FG lorry started life at the AECI explosives factory in Somerset West here near Cape Town. When it was decommisioned the wooden load bed was destroyed due to the danger of explosive particles being embedded in the wood. It was in constant use up until 2009, its last stint was spent carrying the apple harvest out of orchards in Grabouw, and it’s now still earning its keep, see below.
The FG series was built from 1960 to 1968 and has a 2.2 litre diesel engine. The cabin doors are angled three quarters to the back, unfortunately I didn’t take a picture.
Beaded Flamingos, lions and toilet paper holders, you can get the most amazing handmade items here.
I’m not sure if these two were placed next to each other on purpose but the Silver Cloud makes the Messerschmitt look even more dinky than it normally does.
This is a KR200 Kabrio. they were built from 1955 to 1964, and had a 191cc single cylinder two-stroke engine.
A lovely Jaguar Mark 2 3.4 litre.
And now something rather different, a 1951 Bentley with special bodywork, see the story two pictures below. Here the car is about to leave to make it back to Cape Town before sunset, note the drivers flying goggles.
The detailing on the car is superb and the sound it made on its way out of the paddock was a throbbing roar.
The Bentley has had quite life, and has a lot of life left in it.
A grand old Mercedes 250S. This car still has the original white on black number plate, It looks like it’s travelled on gravel Swartland roads all it’s life, the hubcaps have amazing patina from flying stone chips. The Swartland is the name of the surrounding wheat farming area.
An Alfa Romeo Guilia Sprint GTA. At the time of the show I didn’t realise the GTA was made in really limited numbers, 450 to 500 per series, and I’m not sure if this is one of these or not.
Inside the hall flower specimens were on show. The Cape floral kingdom is a World Heritage Site and is by far the smallest and richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms. 70% of the Cape’s 9600 plant species grow nowhere else on earth.
A Volkswagen Caddy being used as a mobile bank, South Africa is Volkswagen country, oh, and Toyota.. and Ford..
A lovely Sunbeam Alpine. I met the owner, Hazel, briefly at our street’s street party at New Year. She arrived in this car. Hazel is involved in classic car events and I gather was part how these cars came to Darling. I asked her if she had another car, expecting her to say “Ford Fiesta’ or similar. “Yes, a Sunbeam Rapier, I couldn’t imagine having a modern car.” was her answer, that’s the spirit..
There was an impressive collection of old farm machinery at the show, I’ll include a few, see a Model A John Deere above.
Here are the stats, built between 1934 and 1952, impressive.
And here’s an even earlier John Deere, see stats below.
Built between 1923 and 1953, wow! How are you doing understanding Afrikaans?
Here we have a Thames Trader truck built by Ford of England from 1962 – 65, with a 5.4 litre 6 cylinder diesel engine. The Massey Ferguson tractor in the background is known here as a Vaaljapie [grey Jim or Jack, translated from Afrikaans], my Dad had one, they were everywhere once.
On the back of the Thames is a Caterpillar 22 dated 1937 with a 4.1 litre 4 cylinder engine.
Time for an ice cream, or how about the excellent local Groote Post wine from around the corner? You are not wrong thinking everything looks a little dusty, it was. we are still experiencing a terrible drought.
After a long hot day everything went back into and on to the Marina.
..and we hit the road back to Cape Town. I’ll definitely return come next spring.