Cars in the Park 2024 at Zwartkops is just one month away

Cars in the Park 2024 at Zwartkops is just one month away

Classic car owners in the Gauteng and Pretoria regions have just one month to prepare for the biggest car show of the year. The 42nd running of the Cars in the Park takes place at the Zwartkops Raceway outside Pretoria on Sunday August 4, 2024 and promises to be yet another blockbuster event.

Over 2 500 classic and vintage cars and a sprinkling of motorcycles are expected at the racetrack venue from 6 am and well over 100 car clubs have booked special space in lots around the circuit. And, as is now traditional, there will be a mouth-watering array of Special Interest vehicles in the pit area. This year the organisers, the Pretoria Old Motor Club, are concentrating on pre-World War Two classics, vintage and veteran cars, for models built between the early 1900s and up to the early 1940s.

“The war broke out in 1939 and after that all car manufacturers switched their efforts to building military transport, so there is a natural cut-off date,” says POMC’s Emil Kuschke, who is tasked once again with organising the special invite cars. Kuschke adds that there may well be a few cars from the early 1940s, as some production did extend in America into the early war years.

Chief organiser Frik Kraamwinkel of the POMC says that interest from stall holders and clubs has never been higher, and that this year there will be over 140 stall-holders selling their wares at the event, which is expected to attract up to 10 000 visitors. There will also be a number of special entertainments at the event, including a mini rally stage on the Zwartkops karting circuit.

Kraamwinkel says the parking access for visitors has again been improved, and there are exit routes once again on the old drive-in side of the circuit to the Erasmia Road. Traditional access to the circuit is via the R55, which runs between Kyalami and Laudium.

This year a number of car makes and models are celebrating anniversaries, notably the Ford Mustang, which turns 60 this year. A very interesting “birthday” is that of Chrysler, which celebrates 100 years in existence in 2024. The first car branded as a Chrysler went on sale in 1924, although the Chrysler Motor Company was only formerly established in 1925.

Chrysler products have a long history in South Africa, and include the Plymouth, De Soto and Dodge nameplates, as well as, more latterly, the Jeep brand.. But the most memorable model to most old car enthusiasts was that of the Valiant, which was a top seller from the mid-1960s through to the early 1970s.

The Valiant model was launched in 1960 and at first it was identified as a Plymouth Valiant, being the company’s new compact-size vehicle. In South Africa, Valiants were seen as medium-to-large cars and as the ensuing newer-generation models were launched in the 1960s with their slant-six-cylinder engines, they became appreciated as a huge motoring bargain.

In 1966 the Valiant went to the top of the sales charts, outselling much cheaper cars like the Ford Cortina and the Volkswagen Beetle, and in 1968 Valiants began being assembled at the massive Chrysler factory in Silverton. Today that factory still exists as the Ford South Africa plant, where the highly successful Ranger bakkie range is produced.

The Valiants were admired for their good looks, reliable and powerful six-cylinder engines, and most of all, their wonderfully-smooth three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmissions. They were priced in line with some of the more exclusive four-cylinder cars on the market, and offered exceptional value and reliability.

Another marque celebrating a milestone this year is Fiat, which is 125 years-old in 2024. The Fiat club is planning a big turn-out of cars at Cars in the Park, and will also be celebrating the Abarth performance brand which has long been associated with Fiat. Fiat Abarths were highly sought after small performance cars in the early 1960s, and many were raced successfully here, as well as in Europe, where they were giant-killers in the 1 000 cc class. The evocative Scorpion Abarth badge has always stood for something very special in the performance car field, and Fiat Abarths were World Rally Champions in the early 1980s with the 131 model.

The first Ford Mustangs to be produced were actually marketed as 1965 model-year cars, but the first examples went on sale in April 1964, and this Ford sporty car set global first-year sales records, and is credited with the most successful launch of a new model in motoring history.

Mustangs were only produced in left-hand-drive form, but keen customers in South Africa could acquire them through a special promotion organised by Ford South Africa in 1965. Each year enthusiasts privately imported a number of examples of the early Mustangs, through the years 1965 to 1973. After that, Mustangs were downgraded with less performance due to the international fuel crises which began in 1973, but in the late 1980s and 1990s Mustangs made a performance come-back.

The Mustang is today regarded as the world’s most popular sports car, and this year the company entered three examples in the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race, and they achieved third and fourth places in the highly competitive GT3 class. Since late 2015 right-hand-drive Mustangs have been available for sale here through Ford’s dealer network.

“It is great having these special anniversaries to celebrate, as it gives each year’s show an added focus,” says Frik Kraamwinkel. “Of course there are over 100 clubs that will be represented, and for these guys, all their cars are special.”

Non-club-affiliated owners of classic cars 30 years and older will gain free entry to the show, where they can park their cars in the general display areas. The classic car owners will also gain free entry for one passenger for the event. The Cars in the Park event is a fantastic showcase for the wide diversity of old cars that have been available in South Africa, ever since the first car arrived in South Africa early in 1897 (it was a Benz Velo single-cylinder, and was shown at the Berea Park Soccer ground).

American cars were very popular in our country in the early days, as the cars were built ruggedly to deal with dust road conditions that were very similar to ours in the years between 1900 and 1930. But British, German, Italian, French and Australian cars also made their mark here, while from the late 1950s the Japanese cars began arriving in increasing numbers.

The Cars in the Park event is also be notable for the many defunct makes that make their appearance each year, such as the German DKW and Borgward examples, of which an astounding number have been preserved, even though these two makes disappeared from the global car market in the early 1960s.

Expect to see many Volkswagen Beetles and Kombis, MGBs, a massive number of Mercedes-Benz examples and a host of be-finned American cars from the 1950s. The dedication that owners of all these very old vehicles demonstrate, in keeping them on the road and preserving them as a national heritage, is to be much admired.

This year the Cars in the Park gates at Zwartkops will open at 6 am on Sunday August 4 for the admission of old car owners to display their cars. Classic cars for display need to arrive before 8.30 am. The general public will be admitted from 8.30 am onwards. The show will end at 4 pm on Sunday.

Tickets are available through iTickets at R120 for adults, while children under-12 are admitted free. Tickets bought at the gate will cost R140 for adults.

For more information visit the Pretoria Old Motor Club’s website on or visit the club’s Cars in the Park page on Facebook.


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