Over the last few months my opportunities to see interesting cars have been limited to what I find on my weekend cycle rides around my neighborhood. Covid restrictions have damped my enthusiasm for driving around Cape Town, and it’s been a tiring scramble at work to just stay in the game. Nevertheless, I have some finds to share, let’s go!
This CI Explorer motorhome on a Mitsubishi L300 chassis is in incredibly good condition. It looks original and unrestored. I’m not sure of the year though the L300 generally lasted globally from ’79 to the mid, late ’80s. Info on local on-sale dates is very sketchy. Bloubergstrand is the name of the beach, translated from Afrikaans it literally means Blue Mountain Beach.
A badge on the back names Kennis Garages as the dealer. I looked them up, they have been in business for 52 years, and have an ’87 L300 WJ Companion motorhome for sale for R144 950, around USD 8785, white with black, yellow and orange stripes.. that’s from the ’80s alright!
Mmmm.. quick, name 5 things one can tow with a Chevy Spark? I see this coffee and ice cream vendor regularly, I’m sure he does brisk business. Exercising on the beachfront is a big thing currently. While wearing a mask outdoors is mandatory, we have a rule where, when exercising, we don’t have to if we keep 3 metres apart.
I’ve always thought the Spark well styled for its size, and it looks great with this wheel and colour combo. The grey box between car and trailer is the compressor, placed away from the car.
There is a thriving economy going on down at the beach, the guy in the orange vest is a car guard, Aunty Poppie is selling ice cream, and in the background guys are making and selling the bead and wire giraffes. The informal economy is a big deal in South Africa. We all have to hustle, as our formal economy is not a good jobs provider.
‘Tannie Poppie se roomys lorrie’ translates as Aunty Poppie’s ice cream lorry’, or truck. This is a 2.3 litre 5 cylinder model. Note the South African 5 cylinder models had deeper side windows. I was checking my spelling of roomys and I spotted something interesting. In front of the Volksiebus script on the back there are a pair of veldskoen shoes. Anyone know what that’s about? Any of you who are South African and over 40 will be able to answer me immediately.
The guy with the hat was showing his sand art, I feel terrible as I took a photo without giving a contribution as requested on the board. I only read the message when I got home. One of the downsides of trying to do cycling and photography at the same time is that sweat was streaming down my face, making wearing glasses pretty impossible, all while trying to stop my belly peeking out of my cycle shirt.. don’t worry, I’m much less self conscious than I used to be, it comes with age..
Oooh! A 1941 Chev I believe. I love it. The script on the bonnet says Master Deluxe. I’ve seen one other ’41 here in S.A..
The Chev and the Daihatsu Sirion are good colour mates in a sea of white and silver cars.
Hey! This Landy is perfect for a calm summer’s day. There wasn’t any wind this morning, a relief after the 50 KPH winds of last week, and a huge relief for the vendors as high winds equals no customers.
In case you are wondering, that is an oil rig above the Landy’s windscreen, just stopping by in Table Bay for provisions and repairs.
But Officer, I’m sure that roundabout wasn’t there last week! This Haval H1 ploughed through a roundabout and about 30m up a sand dune. Ouch! Maybe it had been stolen, as there wasn’t a soul around.
And here we have a lovely locally produced early ’70s 1600L Beetle. The wheels are the correct type, but not the finish, they should have the black and silver Rostyle look. These are both practical daily drivers and much loved classics here. We all grew up with a Beetle story!
Hope you’ve enjoyed the ride!
How DO you get all that magnificent light into the photos, sir? Your pics always project out into the room in 3D clarity (well, almost!). Impossible not to really stare at them.
The sweet Beetle – which looks forlorn, like it was eager to go for a surf – is noticeable for those SA-only elephant’s foot lights on the older guards, which can’t help but look like they’ve slid down hot panelwork to an outsider.
In fact, they look to me like a few different potential body bits that start to lose the fight with gravity as one ages, but I am not too normal.
Great work, Mr P, as ever.
Much agreed about the photos. I always look forward to these, especially in our dark and gray winters. I want to be there right now, and I almost feel I could walk into the photos.
Yeah, those tail lights are definitely low riders. And the painted base for them are a bit odd too. I would have kept the older style, if it had been up to me!
Thanks Mr B! Our sunlight is very bright, and colours are naturally vivid, no special effects here today! I guess every country gets to think of their Beetle as the only Beetle, and I’m learning here and quite surprised by all the comments and questions. Even after 50 years those rear lights still dont look quite right to me. I’m adding a pic of the model before this one with the smaller lights.
Do the S.A built VWs have IRS or Swing Axle rear suspension? Great, pics, would love to take that Rover for a spin around the beach there!
I suspect these later ones did have IRS, but info is sketchy. But here’s what’s really odd about them: They had the big curved windshield like the Super Beetle, but the traditional torsion bar front suspension and pointy front end. In other words, they grafted the curved windshield unto the standard Beetle body.
They also have – and this either just looks off or leaps straight out from Pikesta’s pic depending on whether the viewer knows it already – the “elephant foot” taillights without the modified rear fenders meant for them, with unique metal bezels that are larger versions of what ’50s/60s cars had.
I am totally sure ourBeetles had swing axles up till the end, that all changes were just cosmetic.
That Land Rover is the best, and in the best colour, just timeless!
Still had the old wide 5 lug pattern wheels as well. But the wheel design is like the early ’70’s 4 lug special stamped steel wheel design.
Weren’t those wheels offers on US Beetles (Super Beetles?) in the all-silver color? I just finished reading Trevor Noah’s memoir/autobiography about growing up in Johannesburg and his mother’s Beetle plays a small but key role.
Great pictures, as usual!
I love the Mitsubishi-based motorhome — it’s in remarkable condition. And it’s amusing to me that the L300 looks great as a motorhome cab; much less awkward than the actual van.
I’d love to buy ice cream from a well-maintained VW like Aunt Poppie’s — for some reason, many of the ice cream trucks around here are in really decrepit condition, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence as far as the food goes, in my opinion.
Thanks Eric! Yes, when I did the maths I was taken aback at how old the Mitsu is.
These were quite popular, and were about as big as motorhomes got here in S.A. back in the eighties.
Feeling the urge to fly to South Africa.
I’ve copied a couple of pics for use as wallpaper on my laptop. Just looking at the Land Rover and Beetle I get all warm inside. As Paul said, the pics will be great on a dull, grey Canadian winter day.
Re: Haval H1: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/12/south-african-crash-test-for-dummies/
Oh, you’ve hit on a hot topic! Questionable new car safety on some models in South Africa. In the quest for affordability some manufacturers have put cars on sale which local car magazines are very critical of. The Renault Kwid sells very well here, but Car Magazine, in its summary of all cars on sale says; Good – design and specification. Bad – unstable on the road. Summary – we’d recommend a second hand [Renault] Sandero. Nuff said! Avoid.
What a cool selection of cars on your bike trip. The colour of that 41 was outstanding.
Seconded on GaryM – Was -4 and windy today in Ottawa….Looks like you have a much much better view!!!!
To be honest though, the first thing that hit my mind when I saw these pics of the beach was – wow, that’s South Africa??? I can’t say I had a specific vision of what the coast was over there, but not that. Looks like the sort of beach I could spend some time at!
I also thought it was very cool about it being called Blue Mountain beach. I spent a few years living in Wasaga Beach out here in Ontario and right beside it, is the famous Blue Mountain (and it’s Ski Resort). So there is a neat Summer/Winter connection with the Blue Mountains!
I always enjoy international car photos and would love to have one of those giraffes shown in photo 6….very cute!