Were you one of the almost 6 000 people who visited the Knysna Motor Show this weekend?
If not, you missed out on one of the most exciting events on the Knysna calendar for the year, with spectacular modern supercars on show, and classics restored in such a way it looks like new – not to mention the vintage and custom motorcycles on display.
'Testament to SA workmanship'
One exhibit that stood out was the 1951 Bentley Mk VI “Speed Six Special” of Martin Hess. Hess is originally from Germany but has lived in Cape Town for a number of years.
This vehicle started its life out in Bletchley in the UK in 1953. According to Hess, it changed hands a few times over the years until it was left to a South African woman living in Umdloti, KZN South Africa in 1969.
Long after that, said Hess, it was stripped down completely, rebuilt and reupholstered in the early 2000s by a man in Durban, after which it made its way to Cape Town in 2010 to be fully restored.
“I eventually acquired the vehicle in 2014. I had it converted into a Speed Six Special with a 4.9 litre F-head straight six engine by Charles Goodman Auto Restorers in Johannesburg. It was a three-year project, and the vehicle is a testament to what can be done in South Africa,” he said.
Built during WWI
For those who love vintage motorcycles, you definitely missed out on a treasure. The 1914 Clyno owned by Steven Helm was a sight to be seen, and also won the award for the Best Motorcycle.
This motorcycle was originally built at the start of the First World War and still runs today.
Helm said he drove his Clyno from Johannesburg to Durban and all the way to the Knysna Motor Show, a distance totalling 2 000km one way. He started his journey on Wednesday, April 26.
“We only finished building on the Clyno two weeks ago, and what a journey it was to get it to where it is, all thanks to Piet Maas – without him there would have been no motorcycle to ride here,” said Helm.
He said he found the Clyno without wheels and a whole bunch of missing parts in Rosettenville, Johannesburg.
“The owner at that time wanted to trade my Indian motorcycle for it and I really wanted the Clyno. With the help of some friends who had a few bits and pieces here and there we were able to get most of bike built. Then we completed the sidecar and the stainless steel exhaust,” said Helm.
“When you ride it you think to yourself that this bike shouldn’t work, but it does and that’s so cool,” Helm added.
In the April 27 edition of the Knysna-Plett Herald (KPH), readers could only see a photo of this futuristic vehicle designed and built by students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, fully covered and in action.
The ultra-light, carbon-composite car powered by a fuel-injected 125cc 4-stroke engine was however “undressed” for the show, which gave visitors a close-up look at the inner workings of the vehicle.
The team of students responsible for its design and build were kept busy all day long with questions from curious car lovers. The most frequently asked was, “What are you going to do with the car now?”
Team member Martin Badenhorst said the plan is to keep developing and improving the vehicle. “At the moment that is all we are doing. We want to reduce the weight and increase the fuel efficiency more. The results will then be used and applied in different areas of study or production,” he added.
A family of racers
With a collection of four highly powered vehicles at the Knysna Motor Show, and a total of six that are set to take part in the Simola Hillclimb from May 4 to 7, the members of Lindenberg Racing had quite a popular stand during the show.
Peter Lindenberg, SA racing car hero, told the KPH that his team will be entering four classic and two modern vehicles for the Hillclimb. He will be one of the drivers for the team, as well as his daughter Paige.
“Hopefully we will pick up a top place in one or two of the events. The cars we are competing against are mostly circuit racing cars, so it will be difficult. But we do it for the fun of racing; we are either passionately stupid or stupidly passionate,” he laughed.
The classic cars being entered by the Lindenberg’s team comprise a 1972 Capri Perana, a ’65 Shelby GT 350, a ’68 Fairlane 500 and a ’65 Shelby Daytona Coupé. They will also be entering a 5-litre V8 supercharged 2016 Shelby Super Snake and a Ford Ranger bakkie with the same type of engine – a first for the Simola Hillclimb.