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George Car Show 2005
Part 1

Broadcast dates : 27th February 2005
3rd March 2005


It started on local enthusiast Paul Fickís farm as a social event, and this year the ninth annual George Car Show attracted over a thousand cars from all over the country.

Organised by the Southern Cape Old Car Club, itís held in an idyllic setting with a mountain backdrop and this year, in glorious summer sunshine.

The major car clubs, such as the Volkswagen Club, turn out in force for the show, and itís the sheer diversity of the cars on display that takes your breath away.
Perhaps most impressive of all is the turn-out of vintage, veteran and post-veteran cars, in other words, the real old-timers.

The vintage and veteran cars on show dated back to 1901. That was just a few years after Oom Paul Kruger, President of the Transvaal, gave the first car in South Africa a run on the Berea Park soccer field in Pretoria.

In George some rare marques popped out of the woodwork to rub fenders with the better known names.
On show were Hupmobiles, Packards and Maxwells, as well as Buicks, Dodges, Rolls Royces. And of course, dominating the vintage and veterans section in terms of numbers, the immortal Model T Ford.

Talking of parts, the show also included an auto-jumble, just in case you needed a tail-light for a 1958 Ford Zephyr or a master cylinder kit for an Austin 10.

And how about a Morris speedometer, circa 1960 or so, low mileage, only been around the clock twice?
One of the most noticeable aspects of this 1911 Ford Model T is that it is painted in bright red. The old joke about Henry Ford and his Model T was that you could have the car in any colour you liked as long as it was black.

The reason was that the various paint coats used at that time took a total of 30 days to dry.

And with production up to a thousand cars a day, black was chosen because it dried quicker than any other colour.
Another American icon, the Cadillac, is one of the oldest names in the history of the motor car. The first Cadillac was built in 1902, designed by Henry M. Leland, and just three cars were built that year. From the outset Cadillacs were cars of very high quality and equipment levels. In America in the early days this was appreciated immediately.

By the time this 1904 Model B was launched, annual sales figures had jumped from three to 2497 cars. An improvement of eighty-thousand per cent!
The 1901 Benz Ideal was the oldest car on the show, built well before the tie up between Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler would create the famous Mercedes-Benz brand.

This tiny little buggy is, like many early cars, constructed mainly of wood with steel underpinnings. The single cylinder engine produces four and a half horsepower, and uses a three-speed chain-type gearbox and a drum and slipper-belt clutch. 

Just about all the working parts are exposed, except for the cylinder and piston. And the lubrication system is a total loss. The oil runs through the top of the engine and drops out onto the road!
No self starters in those days. Or perhaps the driver would be described as a self-starting type of person!

While most of the early cars resembled miniature horse buggies in terms of accommodation, many mechanical systems were under consideration.

Should the buyer choose an electric, steam, or petrol car? Should the steering be a tiller system as used on boats, or a steering wheel? Was a single-cylinder engine more reliable than a twin cylinder? Were rubber tyres, rather than plain steel wheels, really necessary?

Journeying through the history of the motor car at the George Show, many of these questions would be answered.

Click here to see the George Motor Show part 2

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