The 41st Cars in the Park – petrol-head heaven

By Angus Mackintosh

This incredible celebration of motoring over the years was held at Zwartkops Raceway on Sunday, 6th August 2023.  I arrived early to miss the mad rush at the entrance and was lucky enough to find a convenient parking spot close to the main entrance.

From classic vintage to modern, the cars on display around the track and in the pit area were an assault on the senses.  The cut-off date for classic-car admission was 1997, 100 years since the first motorcar to arrive in South Africa drove around the Berea sportsground in Pretoria.

Hosted by the Pretoria Old Motor Club, the day was organised beautifully, with a flea market, catering popups and, of course, cars of all flavours up the yin-yang.

It was a pleasure to gaze in wonder at the variety of classics, some in pristine condition, others intentionally grunge and steampunk, but all of them just looking great.

There were the British cars, including Mini Coopers, Triumphs, Jaguars, MGs, a couple of Rollers and even a Zephyr and a Humber or two.  The MG display in the pits was fantastic, showing off the TC, TD, A and B marques, all beautifully restored.

Naturally, this being South Africa, there was a huge turnout of American cars, from massive “Yank Tank” Cadillacs (think tailfins) to the classic “American Muscle” Mustangs (think Steve McQueen in Bullitt), GTOs  and, of course, a large contingent of Cobras.  A couple of Studebakers were also on display.

Wandering around the track, the brands were grouped together in their clubs; BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Alfa Romeo, VW, Morris, Jeep, Land Rover, Chrysler, Unimog, Lotus to mention a few.  The list seemed endless...

Of course, no car show would be complete without the hot-rods and over-the-top modifieds, with engines exposed and chromium galore. 

From the sublime to the ridiculous, a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II on one side of the track at the pits and, on the other side, a display of microcars, some so small that Tyrion Lannister would have a problem getting behind the wheel.

Every car on display was, for me, an absolute joy to behold.  What struck me was the pride and joy the owners radiated, and rightly so.  Thanks to them and the Pretoria Old Motor Club, we can relish this window into motoring history.

There weren’t any EVs there.  I wonder why…