Throughout my youth I had a dream garage in my head. With a maximum of five cars allowed, a revolving stream of exotica came and went, with only one car a constant, the Lamborgini Espada. Maybe its time to revisit the garage and shake things up a bit..
Here we have the Maserati Kyalami, launched at the 1976 Geneva Motor Show. This model was essentially a reworked De Tomaso Longchamp, with a styling makeover by Pietro Frua. The Kyalami was the first Maser developed under the ownership of Alejandro de Tomaso.
Built from ’76 to ’83 the Kyalami was launched with a Maserati four overhead cam 4.2 litre V8, enlarged to 4.9 litres in ’79. The Longchamp had used USA sourced Ford V8 engines.
The Kyalami is named after the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit here in South Africa, where a Maserati-powered Cooper T81 won the South African Grand Prix in ’67. Only 210 Kyalamis were made, making this a rare sighting, and this being a right hand drive model rarer still.
This car was parked outside Crossley and Webb, a classic car dealership, and I snapped the hell out of it. I guess I was trying to get my head around the design, and falling in love with it at the same time.
In the first photo you may have noticed smoke billowing in the background. It was coming from a fire on the slopes of Table Mountain. After shooting the Kyalami I worked my way up to Oranjezicht, a suburb high on the slopes, to get a closer look. The helicopters, as always when there is a fire on the mountain, scoop water from a dam just across from the green house.
Parked slightly to the right of the action was a wonderfully patinated old Ford truck. They were sold here but you don’t see them often. When I was a teenager we had one very briefly; the high petrol consumption saw to that..probably also the reason they are scarce now.
Around the corner I came across this wonderful DS, with it’s Jaguar 420 companion. The DS production ended in ’75, the 420 in ’69, so they would have shared roads with the Kyalami back in the mid ’70’s. Each had a really strong national flavour, a wonderful thing.
Here’s an Austin Healey 3000 come to look at the helicopters scooping water from the dam. Fires on Table Mountain are a regular occurence in Summer, and with high winds and steep mountain sides making it dangerous for fire fighters on foot, using the helicopters is a safe and effective method.
I couldn’t get the Kyalami out of my head and returned another day to take more pictures and see if my feelings had changed.
I’d seen my first Espada earlier this year, its innards out, at Auto Azzuri, and had been taken aback at how low it was, as in impractically low, dangerously low in Cape Town’s dense unforgiving traffic. Unlike the lovely Kyalami, which is the perfect man-about-town express, not showy, just masculine, authoritative and quite timeless.
I seldom take pictures of car interiors in the street. Here in Cape Town, looking inside someone else’s car isn’t cool. It will get you a dirty look or worse. the Kyalami’s dash is a nice squared up affair, which looks like its topped with suede or Alcantara.
My Dream garage will remain just that, a dream, but it needs an update. This Kyalami elbows out the Espada, as it is such an elegant car in the flesh, and is a great 2018 garage addition. I was lucky enough to see it in action too, and the way it hustles up the road carried on its deep V8 woofle had me completely smitten. The rest of the garage? another conversation another day…