If you love driving , you’ll love the Garden Route, and its neighbour, the Klein Karoo – for this is one of the most scenic areas of South Africa, boasting first-class highways and country roads, and some of the most awe-inspiring mountain passes you’re ever likely to see. Anywhere.
This wonderful network of roads – all just begging to be explored – could be one reason why the region has become the epicentre of classic car and classic motorcycle collections in South Africa.
Another, though, must be the astonishing array of services available to old car enthusiasts – particularly in Knysna.
Range of Services
Restoring, rebuilding, remodelling, or repurposing: there’s a whole spectrum of workshops and skilled artisans and engineers to serve the classic car enthusiast. And there are a number of motor car and motorcycle dealers in Knysna who specialise in the sale, export, and import of motoring’s historic treasures, too.
Given the rare and unusual nature of many of the requirements of restoration, the range of services on offer is exceptional: from auto-electricians to machinists, from woodworkers who concentrate on vehicle framing, wood-spoked wheels, and interior panelling, to artists who specialise in recreating even the most unusual mouldings and castings. And there are the all-important body shops, detailing specialists, and upholsterers, too, of course.
Remodelling and repurposing
One private collector (whose collection is unfortunately not open to the public) has been remodelling and repurposing classic cars since 2012. This gentleman and his small team of self-taught mechanics have conducted extensive research and experimentation into how to repurpose old cars for the 21st Century – both to preserve the heritage of the past while making the cars safe and reliable for modern driving, and to fulfil the requirements of the regenerative economy by reusing existing goods and materials as far as possible.
With the establishment of a new Skills Training Centre in Knysna – a project led by the private sector Business Fund that was established to rebuild the local economy in the wake of the Knysna Fires of 2017 – this knowledge will be transferred to a new generation of youngsters from the beginning of 2021.
If you’re interested to see how one collector tackles the restoration of classic motorbikes, visit The Motorcycle Room in Thesen Harbour Town, where the restoration bays are visible from the exhibition floor.
Help and Information
Local knowledge is best!
Members of Knysna’s three active motor clubs are available for advice and personal introductions for enthusiasts looking to have specific work done on their vehicles.
Contact the clubs via their websites or on Facebook:
Garden Route Motor Club
MG Car Club South Cape Centre
Triumph Sports Car Club of South Africa Garden Route Centre
- Contact: triumphclubsa.com
Some Useful contacts
- Autoboss – Undercarriage and exhaust specialists; servicing, 3-D wheel alignment, shocks, brakes, clutches, performance exhausts, running gear.
- Bodge Engineering – Service and restoration mainly of English sports cars of the 60s: Jaguar (E-type specialists), MG, Triumph, Austin Healey. Performance upgrades; brake upgrades; engine tuning; Weber & SU Carburettor overhaul and tuning; Suppliers of top quality imported indoor and outdoor car covers, boot racks, badge bars, fire extinguishers, seat belts, battery chargers.
- Briden Engineering (Telephone: +27(0)44 382 1295) – Re-boring, crankshaft regrinding, general automotive machining.
- Ricky Cooper Classic Car Storage – storage, restorations, vehicle maintenance, roadside assistance.
- Classic Dash Automotive Woodwork (Telephone: +27(0)82 922 6106) – All woodwork for vintage and classic cars: ash framing, dashboards, door caps, veneer repairs, refinishing.
- Frost Brothers Classic & Vintage Cars – Sales and export of classic and vintage cars.
- House of Classic and Sports Cars – Cars Sales including restored vehicles and project cars (for enthusiasts who want to undertake their own restorations)
- Jeeves Towel Rails – Custom-made stainless steel luggage racks and badge bars for MGs and other classics
- Knysna Motor Strippers – Service; roadside assistance; vehicle transport.
- Vogue Body Worx – Restoration and cosmetic work; body shop.
- Sedgefield Classic Cars – Classic and vintage car sales.
- Knysna Radiators, Knysna (Telephone: +27(0)44 382 4302) – Radiator cores for classic cars; MG classic radiators in stock
- Andre Contē (Telephone: +27(0)44 382 4302) – Urethane mouldings and castings. Re-creates plastic mouldings, engine mountings.
- Spotless Classics – Classic car restorations and showroom; panelbeaters; valet services.
- Stander Hydraulics & Spares (Telephone +27(0)44 382 7742) – Supplies hydraulic fittings, oil filters, tools, etc. Also a full range of metric and Imperial-size nuts and bolts.
- Steyn’s Refinishing (Telephone +27(0)44 382 2422) – Paint supplies, colour matching, touch-up paint, fillers, abrasives, etc.
- Ted’s Motor Spares
- Nikki Lutita Upholsterers (Telephone: +27(0)73 160 6747) – this business is run by people who are deaf. Please contact them via Whatsapp text message.
- Blue Planet Power – Automotive batteries (including 6 volt batteries).