in The Park 2004
dates : 22nd August 2004
26th August 2004
annual Cars in the Park meeting hosted by the Pretoria Old
Motor Club is the biggest gathering of collectible motorcars
in South Africa.
Held each year at the Pioneer Museum grounds in Silverton,
east of Pretoria, this year over 2 000 cars of all shapes,
sizes, ages and condition were on display.
here’s just one proviso for the cars at Cars in the Park –
they have to be unusual.
2004 show saw three classic marques reaching milestones in the
history of the motor car.
the most interesting display was that of the Citroen Club,
Citroen celebrating 70 years of front-wheel-drive at Cars in
The Citroen Traction Avant wasn’t the first car to use the
front wheels to transmit engine power, as this idea went back
almost to the dawn of the motorcar in the late 19th century.
But it was the first mass-produced car to use the system
The Traction Avant used a 1300 cc four-cylinder engine in its
pre-war guise and as it evolved to the Light 15, it stayed in
production until 1955.
Over 700 000 Traction Avants were produced and a number of
them were on display.
included in the display was the 2 CV or Du Chevaux, a car that
was launched in 1948 and has been described as a duck on
wheels or a mobile umbrella. This was the car that gave
mobility to France, much as the Volkswagen Beetle did for
Germany after World War Two.
There were interesting examples of the car that followed the
Light 15, namely the DS series cars. These amazingly
futuristic cars still look fashionable today and featured an
ingenious hydraulic suspension that only now is being emulated
by other manufacturers.
Rover, one of the few surviving pure British car companies,
was celebrating its one-hundredth anniversary this year.
Rolls Royce, that icon of upper-class elitism, is also in its
centennial in 2004. The Spirit of Ecstasy remains a standard
to which most of the world’s manufacturers still aspire.
The oldest Rolls was a 1915 Silver Ghost, built on an
Admiralty chassis with a Sporting Tourer body.
Cars in the Park is not only for stiff-lipped purists. Harleys
and V8-Chevy-engined motorcycles are welcome. Even their riders
are, tattoos, studs, leather and all!
Fords, classic Series 1 Land Rovers, Willys Jeeps and
Steyr-Puch Haflingers all make the annual trek to Pretoria. As
well as some amazingly rare war-time monster trucks from Chevy
And we thought Big Foot was a modern invention!
Interesting this year was a display of classic agricultural
pumps, such as Lancasters, Fuller-and-Johnsons, and Ruston-Hornsbys
– many of them single cylinder engines with open crank shaft
designs and drip oil feeds.
of unusual Italian classics were not to be denied. This Fiat
Abarth, based on a 600 sedan, was an outstanding performance
machine in the early 1960s and won countless races in Europe
and in South Africa.
It features an 850 cc engine with Weber carburetion, special
conrods, sump, camshaft and exhaust system as well as a
front-mounted radiator system.
For lovers of things Roman, how about an Alfa Romeo Giulia
Estate car, or a rally-bred Lancia Monte Carlo?
course, with Lance James crooning in the background, there was
plenty of fins and chrome for the Rock and Rollers who support
And who can forget the icon of South African jollerism
in the 1960s, the Ford Cortina GT?
The only criticism of Cars in the Park is that there is simply
not enough time to see everything on one day.
Perhaps next year the organizers will consider making it a
Car Torque is