Tag Archives: car

Mini road trip through Malmesbury

Mini road road trip
Returning from our little road trip to Riebeek Kasteel we headed towards the well-known farming town of Malmesbury (map).

In case you're planning a trip, perhaps it's worth noting that Malmesbury isn't really a town to visit on an outing - in my opinion. The town itself isn't very pretty and rather the kind of town that one passes though when heading up the West Coast, or when going to places like Riebeek West, or Ceres.

Please, I'm looking for someone to disagree with me - so if you're keen on Malmesbury, please do leave a comment to say why you love it. I'm just being honest when I say that although the countryside is extremely beautiful, I've never found the town very pleasant at all.

A Ford Fairlane and the old Immorality Act

Ford Fairlane
The sign on this Ford Fairlane (which can be found at Evita se Perron) reads:

"This Ford Fairlane once belonged to Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout's husband, Oom Hasie. In 1958, Dr J.J. de V. Bezuidenhout became a cabinet minister in the government of Hendrik Verwoerd. He held two portfolios: Minister of Water Affairs and Minister of Black Housing - and combined his portfolios into one by building a black township in a dam.

The two bullet holes in the front window are a reminder of the failed assassination attempt on his life at The Wolwekloof turn-off along the Warmbad road in 1959.

Dr Bezuidenhout was arrested in 1960 for breaking the Immorality Act. He was found on the backseat of this car in a compromising position with a Swazi waitress from the Laagerfontein Grand Hotel. After interventions by his wife and her powerful friends in the National Party, all charges against Minister Bezuidenhout were dropped. The woman disappeared."

Unfortunately the old Immorality Act wasn't enforced because the cabinet Minister was married - it wasn't that kind of morality that the government concerned themselves with. Isn't it weird now to think that there was once legislation that prohibited inter-racial romantic relationships?

Volkswagen aka (Our Beloved) Volksie

Volkswagen aka Volksie
This car is so unmistakable that showing only the corner leaves even the most car-illiterate person certain of the make. Clearly it's a Volkswagen Beetle, or as South Africans have come to know the vehicle, a Volksie.

There were for so long so many of these cars on our roads that it seems a rental company, Best Beetle, has bought up as many as they could afford and now specialises in hiring out these cars for long periods of time. Depending on how long use hire the car for, according to their website, one of these will cost you between R1950 and R1450 per month. The problem is, and I don't mean this about the hire-cars specifically, but the cars are getting on in years and, well, they're certainly not as reliable as the new vehicles you'd hire from, say, AVIS.

That said, there are many privately owned Volksies still running around just fine on our roads and I guess they are fun. Perhaps the reason is that they do have a very beach-going care-free-student feel about them - which does actually have some appeal.

Kfm and Mitsubishi

KFM's new Mitsubishi

Kfm is a local (as in "not national") radio station that plays mostly pop and commercial music, and seems to have wide appeal among Capetonians. In this photo you can see two of their new branded Mitsubishi "Ground Patrol" 4x4s, which roam the streets, handing out prizes to avid Kfm listeners. Click here to read more about them.

Another tough day in Cape Town

Camps Bay view
I'm sure we've mentioned this before, but I need to say it again: it's so HARD living in Cape Town. Really, you can't possibly understand unless you've spent at least a few weeks here. We've got this exquisite mountain, all these pristine beaches, gorgeous green forests, superb weather (if you don't count the wind), a picturesque harbour, breathtaking sunsets... *sigh*.

Being surrounded by all this beauty ALL THE TIME is such a burden. I do hope you feel sorry for us.

Cars and movies

Pontiac GTO

It's fairly well-known that many international movie producers shoot films in Cape Town, and to be honest, it's kinda weird seeing familiar sights in Cape Town represented as being in another country.

One of the tag-along industries that has developed alongside film-making is the rental of cars - specifically old cars like this Pontiac GTO. Who would believe that there's actually enough money to be made renting out old cars to support more than one such business? There's one business not far from where we live that does just this, and I just discovered Cape Cars who appear to have an assortment of cars specifically for film shoots! I wonder how many other businesses make their livelihood from Hollywood and Bollywood film shoots, and whether or not I should get in on some of the action... :)

The South African automotive industry

An old car

While driving on the N1 national highway, I passed this Mercedes Benz whizzing along at a comfortable 120km/h. Taking a photo while driving would have been tricky, so I handed my camera to Kerry-Anne who opened her window for this shot, almost losing my camera while doing so!

It may be of interest to you that the first Mercedes-Benz, the Benz Velo, arrived in South Africa in 1896, and in 1958 Car Distributors Assembly had the first Mercedes-Benz rolling off their production line.

In recent years our automotive industry has accounted for about 10% of South African exports and about 7.5% of our GDP. That makes the industry a huge contributor, providing stable income to thousands of people. The past two years have however been as difficult for the local industry as they've been for the global one. Fortunately however, the economy is turning and folk seem to be buying cars again... unfortunately I'm not one of those folk. :(

The infamous Volla

The Volkswagen Beetle

For many years the Volkswagen Beetle was a typical student car, and like most student cars, they have a reputation for not being the most reliable vehicles around.

Of course, students might have conveniently used the "my Volla broke down" line as an excuse for not attending lectures... and for only being able to get as far as the nearest watering hole. Be that as it may, the Beetle holds many memories, both good and bad, for the majority of those who were at one time or another varsity, technikon, or college students.

And, in case you were wondering, the title of this post makes reference to the Beetle as the Volla (pronounced for-lah) - an affectionate Afrikaans abbreviation for Volkswagen, and specifically this Volkswagen.

Pimped-out Citi Golf

Pimped out Citi Golf

In my previous article I mentioned the end of an era, the end of the Citi Golf Mk1, as well as how the Citi Golf is loved by many, and pimped out by many. I found this Golf parked near the one in my previous article - the rims were so awesome that I just had to take a photo! :)

Do you see what I mean about people loving their Citi Golfs? I mean, who would do this to a Fiat Uno, Honda Jazz, or some other small car? Probably very few. In Cape Town you'll often find guys driving Citi Golfs that have been uniquely customised. When I see these cars, I catch myself thinking, "why not just buy a nicer car instead of spending so much money on pimping out your Golf?". I've however come to believe that it must simply be a matter of perspective, the sense of unique identity that it gives, and a love for the car that causes people to spend thousands of rands adding these kind of trimmings to their Citi Golf.

Goodbye to the Citi Golf Mk1

The last Citi Golf Mk1

South Africa's been producing Volkswagen Citi Golfs since 1984, and has since that date made about 377,000 of the little beasts. The last Citi Golf Mk1 rolled off the production line on 2 November 2009, and while it's a dream come true for many who dislike these old cars, it's the end of an era for many people who love them.

The Citi Golf became something of a cult car in South Africa. It seems like those who've owned one have fallen in love with the car, and talk fondly of memories that they've shared with this vehicle. If you were to ask current and past owners for a single word to describe the car I think the most frequently used word would be "dependable".

To celebrate the Citi Golf, and commemorate the many years of production, Volkswagen took this car (the last one to come off the production line) on a tour of South Africa, inviting fans of the brand to leave a short message and signature on the bodywork.

Wherever in the country this Golf went, fans were sure to follow, standing in long queues to get a chance to make their mark on the car. Indeed, it's the end of an era, and although production has now stopped, I assure you that based on morning rush-hour traffic it seems as though there are still around 377,000 of them on the road! Farewell Mk1! :)

See a few more photos of the signing of the Citi in our photo album.

Goodwood in the ’70s

Voortrekker Road in Goodwood

As a comment on my previous article, Jonathan suggested that Voortrekker Road is reminiscent of something out of the 1970s... and I do believe he's right. Were it not for the more modern cars in the photo you'd easily mistake this for a photo that my mom or dad may have taken.

I mentioned previously that I have lots of memories of Voortrekker Road - one of these is that I bought my first car from "Lekker Lieg Motors", which is just a little further along this road, on the right. "Lekker Lieg" is our interpretation of the letters that make up the name of the dealership. Roughly translated, the Afrikaans word "Lekker" means "Nice" and "Lieg" means "Lies". Put them together and I'm sure you get the idea. ;)

Voortrekker Road, Goodwood

Voortrekker Road, Goodwood

If you live in Goodwood, or perhaps did at some time in your life, I hope that you'll forgive me for saying that it's not the prettiest suburb.

I have lots of memories of the area, though, from visiting girlfriends and skateboarding with my cousin to going to see the annual Christmas-time parade in this, Voortrekker Road. Today the area just looks old and run-down, and from Monday to Saturday during business hours you'll always find the area heavily congested.

However, even though Voortrekker Road in Goodwood isn't the prettiest place to be, it sure is filled with an assortment of interesting small shops (and FAR too many used car lots!). If you don't live in Cape Town and find yourself here on holiday some day, and if you'd like to experience a little more of what tourists often don't see, pick an afternoon and take a drive down Voortrekker Road. Don't expect to drive fast, remember to keep your cool in the traffic, and I guarantee that you'll see plenty of interesting things. :)

Bendy-man at Renault

Bendy-man at Renault

Sticking with the French theme of the past two posts, let me present Renault, a genuine French icon, and Bendy-Man, who I don't think is much of a French icon.

The yellow man in the photo consists of few tubes of plastic with a high-powered fan below. The fan blows air through the tubes, keeping the guy standing. It's helluva amusing to watch him in the wind, because as much as the fan blows to keep him standing, the wind kinks the tube causing him to bend in all directions. Click here to see another photo.

I can imagine that if someone were to make an evil bendy-man with a terrifying scowl on his face and lights that cause his eyes to glow it would it eerily scary - especially on a dark, cloudy and windy evening. You need only to have stood and watched one of these for a while to know what I mean. :)

The Old’e English Shaving Shop

Old'e English Shaving Shop

The Old'e English Shaving Shop sells old-style English shaving brushes, razors, creams and after-shave lotions. While they do have a small shop (in Maitland, just outside of Cape Town), they also have an online store and a genuine old-style barber shop, Mr Cobb's, at the V&A Waterfront.

I'm not sure how comfortable you guys are with having a stranger toy with a cut-throat near your neckline... but I'm not convinced that I'm quite ready for the experience. I mean, what if the barber has some kind of alter-ego Mr Hyde-like personality? Scary stuff man, scary stuff!

An old car?

On old car

We found this old car on the De Vallei wine farm's grounds. At first I thought that perhaps someone was trying to refurbish it, but on closer inspection I noticed the roll cage inside the cabin and realised that it may be used for stock car racing!

When I was in school, friends often spoke excitedly of the stock car races that they'd been to. I've never been to a race, but Kerry-Anne on the other hand seems to have been something of a regular visitor - dragged along to the noisy events at the Goodwood Showground (which no longer exists) by her mom and dad. She swears it was loads of fun.

The Tygerberg Raceway, a proper oval dirt race track, is still in operation and in fact will be hosting a race on 17 October and 7 November this year. Contact details and information about the events seem to be fairly scarce on the web, but if you're interested in attending a race, this page has a contact number that you could call to find out more about dates, times, and cost.

An old, old car at Wijnland Auto Museum

An old, old car

This is the third photo in the set taken in Joostenbergvlakte. (If you've missed the previous two, click here and follow the trail back to them.) We thought we'd take a drive out to this remote suburb to visit the Wijnland Auto Museum - which, from the outside, looks more like a scrap yard, or an auto graveyard.

Sadly, we failed in our objective. We took a quick look around and decided that we'd rather return with a group consisting of other photographers, perhaps, and two or more people dressed up and ready to be models. The museum apparently has one of the largest collections of rare cars in the country, and old (perhaps deceased) cars like these make a great backdrop for a modelling shoot - don't you think?

You'll find the museum by

  • driving along the N1 (with Cape Town at your back)
  • taking exit 34
  • turning right at the first opportunity
  • driving to the end of the road (past the nursery on your right)

Strangely the Wijnland Auto Museum has no website or email address, but they can be contacted by telephone on +27 21 988 4203. The museum isĀ open daily until 16h00 (including Sundays) and charges R50 per person.

Back to the future in a Kombi


Remember the 1985 movie Back to the Future, with Michael J. Fox? That's the one where he managed to use a DeLorean DMC-12 (that's a car) to go back in time to 1955. This Kombi made me feel like we were heading off to the 1960s...

This was the vehicle that I referenced in the posts about our wine trip. I'm sure now you're able to see why it was so much fun. The "tour operator" is the brightly coloured lad (thanks, Charl) in the photo who took us from farm to farm, restraining his tasting to ensure that we'd arrive alive.

The trip in the flowerful and music-filled VW Kombi was a stack of fun - in fact, it was so much fun and so retro that we felt like we'd gone back to being students again. ;)


Small Poison-apple

As I walked past this car I had to smile at the sticker on the rear window. The word "gifappeltjie" can be translated as "small poison apple" - which I guess could refer to the small car on which the sticker finds itself, or perhaps even the driver.

What I found interesting about a "gifappel" (of the genus Solanum) is that it's known by the names "Apple of Sodom", "Devil's Apple", "Poison Apple" and a variety of others. Some sites indicate that it's a treatment for all kinds of ills, while others claim it can be used to poison arrows. I even came across articles claiming evidence that it can be used to fight skin-cancer.

It seems as though the exact effect is determined by the species of Solanum. So, unless you know exactly what you're doing, I don't suggest that you go experiment with the medicinal properties too readily. ;)

Fuel Tanker

Petrol Tanker

In yesterday's photo I drew attention to one of many pieces of litter littered about in a nearby field. Today our photo focuses on a different, and possibly more damaging, form of environmental damage. Yes, you have it, fossil fuels. This fuel tanker was headed for the Caltex oil refinery in Milnerton where it was presumably to pick up a consignment of diesel or petrol.

What I've always found strange is that for years we've all heard about hydrogen-powered cars and cars powered by water, but it seems as though petrol- and diesel-power still flourishes. For years the world has voiced concern over the environmental impact of fossil fuels, but clean-energy vehicles never seem to take hold. Even vehicles like the Toyota Prius aren't great for the environment... well, at least not the first few iterations (read more here).

Perhaps one day it won't be all about the money.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Car

With the way that flower wholesalers increase prices over the days leading up to Valentine's Day, I guess I'm lucky that Kerry-Anne doesn't like red roses. :)

I'd hazard a guess that Valentine's Day needs no introduction to most of the people reading this blog, so I'll not get into explaining its origin, except to mention that it has a definite Catholic heritage. What many will be surprised to know is that in Japan it's traditionally the woman's responsibility to give her partner hand-made chocolate on this day, whereas on White Day (14 March) the man traditionally reciprocates with gifts that are usually more than just chocolate!

For those of you who left messages to my dire plea for suggestions of what to do this evening, thank you! I ended up making a simple (really simple) dinner (twice), and setting the table with a single long candle and a hand-picked assortment of flowers. Later in the evening we got all dressed up and went out to a party at a friend's house in Cape Town. It was plenty of fun. :)