It’s not only South Africa’s biggest classic car show; it is also the single most-popular motoring event on the calendar of any type. The Pretoria Old Motor Club’s annual Cars in the Park event at Zwartkops Raceway takes place on August 6, 2017 and the organisers are expecting in excess of 2 500 cars and a crowd of over 12 000 people.
“The interest has never been higher,“ says POMC’s chief show organiser Frik Kraamwinkel. “We have 107 clubs that are officially entered, and of course every year more and more classic cars that we didn’t know about come out of the woodwork. This is a chance to see the phenomenal variety of classic and special-interest cars that we have in the Gauteng area, all in one place on one day!”
This year will be the 38th annual running of the Cars in the Park, an event that began with about a dozen classic, vintage and veteran cars at the Pretoria Old Motor Club’s premises adjacent to the Pioneer Museum in Silverton, in the early 1980s. The huge success of the event forced the club to find bigger premises and over a decade ago the Cars in the Park moved to the Zwartkops Raceway, west of Pretoria on the R55.
This year, the Lazarus Motor Company of Centurion is a featured partner in the event, as the company celebrates its 60th anniversary. And Pretoria FM radio is the official media partner in the 2017 one-day extravaganza.
“Apart from all the cars, we will have 120 stall holders selling all types of items,” says Kraamwinkel. “And there will be plenty of dedicated entertainment for children, as well as adults.
“On the go kart track in the morning we will be offering laps in karts for both adults and children. From 12 noon until 1 pm, SABAT is hosting an hour of track time for their clients on the go kart track, and then at 2 pm SABAT is sponsoring a special Wheelchair Race held in association with the QuadPara Association of South Africa. This is an event that the quadriplegic people hold dear to their heart, as they have had many similar races in the past, and we are delighted we can host them at Cars in the Park 2017.”
One of the big attractions of Cars in the Park for classic car owners is that if you arrive at the circuit between 6 am and 8 am in your classic, entrance to the event is free for the driver and for one adult passenger. Any additional adult passengers will have to pay the full admission price, which is R100 per adult, while children under 12 are admitted free of charge.
The cut-off year for what is acceptable as a classic car is 1985 and earlier, so all cars admitted to the display area have to be 32 years and older.
“There are exceptions to this rule,” notes Kraamwinkel. “If a driver of a car newer than a 1985 model can prove he is a member of one of our participating clubs, then free admission will be granted.
“We also make allowances for newer cars of interest. For instance, if the driver of a Ferrari arrives, this car will be considered a special interest car. But if the driver of a VW Golf or Toyota Tazz from 1990 wants to try and gain free entry, this won’t be allowed, unless that person is a member of one of the clubs participating, and can show proof of that. Our team of POMC officials at the gate are very clued up on all cars, and they know who to allow in. Of course this applies to classic trucks and motorcycles as well,” says Kraamwinkel.
The POMC will have a special display of its members’ vehicles in the pit area, while, in pride of place in the pits will be the Invited Special Interest cars section, now a tradition with Cars in the Park. For 2017, the theme of the Special Iinvite Cars will be “Fords: Zero to 100” marking over a century of Ford cars on sale here in South Africa. It is expected that a replica of the very first Ford Motor Car ever produced –the first Model A of 1903 -will be on show at this year’s Cars in the Park. Representative Fords from each decade since 1903 will form part of this display and these includes icons such as the Ford Model T, the first Ford V8, the Galaxie, Anglia, Cortina, Capri, and the Mustang.
The Lazarus Motor Company, which has an association with Ford going back to 1961, will also display many iconic Fords in its own area, as part of its 60th Anniversary display. Lazarus started off as a small motor dealership in 1957 with a Mercedes-Benz agency in Bronkhorstspruit. Since acquiring the Ford agency in 1961, it has expanded to include the marques of Mazda, Jaguar, Land Rover and Kia in its group.
Another big dealership to have a presence at this year’s Cars in the Park will be Subaru Centurion.
“One of the reasons for the success of Cars in the Park is that, many years ago, we allowed enthusiasts of all types of special vehicles to display their cars at our show. In other words, we weren’t restrictive, insisting that the cars on show stuck to strict vintage or veteran or classic criteria.
“So this is why visitors can see hot rods, muscle cars, modified turbocharged street racers, custom Harleys, drag racers, racing cars, off-road racers and even stock cars from Mahem at our show. We also cater to clubs such as the Unimog Freunde Club, which show these giant Mercedes-based commercial and off-road vehicles each year. In fact the Unimog Club is celebrating 70 years of the marque this year at our show.”
The Pretoria Old Motor Club, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, is based in Silverton, Pretoria and enjoys a vibrant membership today. The club meets on every first Wednesday evening of the month, and on every second Sunday of the month it hosts a special themed car show at its premises adjacent to the Pioneer Museum in Silverton.
For the 38th running of the annual POMC Cars in the Park, the gates to admit classic and special-interest cars at the Zwartkops Raceway will open at 6 am, and the organisers encourage all classic cars to be on display by 8 am. The gates to the public open at 8 am, and the show will run through until 4 pm.
This year the organisers have organised a special additional spectator car park outside the Zwartkops grounds on the R55, to ease congestion. Traffic flow has improved tremendously at this event over the years, and in 2017 it once again will be run by the Traffic Free Flow organisation. The organisers also encourage people travelling from the West of Johannesburg and West Rand to use the newly finished M26 road, accessed off the William Nichol extension road and the Sandton turn-off from the N14 Krugersdorp-Pretoria highway.
For more information on The Pretoria Old Motor Club’s Cars in the Park, hosted at Zwartkops Raceway west of Pretoria on August 6, 2017, visit the Pretoria Old Motor Club website on www.pomccitp.co.za. Or go to the Cars in the Park Facebook page, on https://web.facebook.com/POMCclub/ or https://web.facebook.com/POMC-Cars-in-the-Park