Two days of Petrolhead Heaven – The Classic Car Show 2024, Nasrec, July 6-7

Two full days of petrolhead heaven are on offer at The Classic Car Show, incorporating the German vs Jap show, at Nasrec Expo Centre on July 6 and 7, 2024. Thousands of traditional classics and modified modern classics are expected at the event, which last year drew record crowds at Nasrec as a one-day event.

“We are once again going to have our special classic exhibits in Hall 5 at Nasrec, and as this is now  a two-day event, owners of the topflight exhibiting cars will be able to leave their cars in complete safety at Nasrec,” says organiser Paulo Calisto, who organised the first Classic Car Show south of Johannesburg back in 2012.

Owners of special classics are requested to deliver their cars to Nasrec on either Thursday July 4 or Friday July 5, where they will be exhibited under cover and with a full security staff providing safety for these valuable exhibits.

Classic car owners who would only like to have their cars (40 years and older) on show for one day in the area outside Hall 5 can arrive on the Saturday and Sunday, as has been in the case in the past with the one-day shows at Nasrec.

However, the special German vs Jap display cars will need to be delivered to Nasrec Expo Centre on the Thursday, July 4 and on Friday, July 5. There will be a special media day where members of various media will be able to photograph a mouth-watering display of modified cars without having to negotiate the crowds of spectators expected on the Saturday and the Sunday.

The unique format of hosting The Classic Car Show for traditional classics and the German vs Jap event for modified versions of Volkswagen Golfs, Polos and Jettas, BMWs, Toyota Corollas and Conquests, Honda Civics and Subarus has drawn together two fast-growing elements of the car cult in the Johannesburg area.

For some years now there has been an enormous surge of interest in classic cars dating back in age to the 1950s through to the late 1970s. And in the past decade the German vs Jap event has tapped into a youth-orientated resurgence for modifications on more modern cars, with many thousands of rand spent on these machines to distinguish them from everyday runabouts.

A starting point to the German vs Jap “look” is a car with noticeably lowered suspension, and in many cases this has been achieved by the modern trend to fit fully-adjustable air springs in place of the traditional coli springs fitted to these cars.

With a full air-suspension kit, the advantage is that these cars can be lowered practically to the tarmac when the car is stationary, for an ultra-mean display appearance. But at the push of a button or flick of a switch, the air systems raise the car “magically” to a conventional ride height, so owners and their passengers can enjoy a bump-free ride to their next destination.

Low suspension and a good set of aftermarket wheels are only the starting point for many of these cars. Some of them have had tens-of-thousands of rand spent on paint jobs, graphics, aero kits, racing-spec interiors, roll cages, and many have highly modified engines capable of doubling or tripling the power of a standard engine.

Classic car restoration dedication

The same dedication applies to the owners of the classic cars that will be on show at Nasrec on the first weekend in July. Undertaking a full restoration of a classic that is forty, fifty, sixty years old or more requires huge dedication. Anyone who has bought an old classic as a full restoration project will affirm how much tenacity it takes to source the correct trim and mechanical parts, and to do a full body restoration.

The classic car field has two basic schools of thought: those enthusiasts who value originality as first prize, and those who take some creative license in equipping a classic with more modern brakes, suspension and even engine and transmission parts. For these guys, they want the look and feel of a classic without the drawback of coping with braking systems that are decades behind in terms of technology, and the same goes for ride quality, roadholding, and even interior equipment.

The American cars that have been restored have often been fettled with modern V8 engines with fuel injection and electronic management systems even though these items weren’t available fifty or sixty years ago. Disc brakes are another common upgrade as braking half a century ago was marginal by today’s standards.

The argument for originality versus practicality is endless, and both schools of thought are relevant in today’s classic car world, which is what makes getting involved in the classic car passion so interesting.

Traditionally, The Classic Car Show has attracted a constant stream of American classics from the fins-and-chrome years in the 1950s and extended through to the muscle car era of the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. The car that is generally considered to have inspired the whole muscle car movement is the Ford Mustang, which this year is celebrating its 60th birthday. The Mustang was launched in April 1964 in America, but it wasn’t until mid-1965 that examples started arriving in South Africa. Visitors to the show should look forward to a good sprinkling of classic Mustangs from the first generation cars through to the mid-1970s and even beyond.

Of course since late 2015 Ford Mustangs have been available here more readily, since the launch of the right-hand-drive models. Until that time Mustangs, and their siblings from other American brands, such as the Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Charger and the Pontiac Firebird were only available in left-hand-drive. These classics could be privately imported here until the late 1990s, but after that the importation of left-hand-drive cars was made almost impossible by government regulations.

British cars are always well-represented at The Classic Car Show, and show-goers should expect to see a good representation of Minis, MGs, Jaguars, Triumphs and the like, usually dating from the late 1950s through to the late 1970s, in the case of cars like the Triumph TR7.

Italian cars are also common at the show, especially from the likes Alfa Romeo and Fiat. Fiat is celebrating its 125th birthday this year, and it is a brand that has traditionally had strong representation in South Africa. Fiats have always been considered charming cars with fine performance and Italian styling flair, and there are many adherents to the marque here, particularly amongst the classic car brigade.

The same has to be said for Alfa Romeo, which has a fine motorsport heritage in South Africa: cars like the Alfa Romeo GTV6 3.0 are considered world-wide icons today, and not everyone knows that this was a special model developed for racing in South Africa. Look for the distinctive “3.0” badge on the boot lid, and the power bulge on the bonnet!

Talking of power bulges, on Day 2 of this year’s German vs Jap show segment, the ever-popular dyno competition will be held, on Sunday July 7. The organisers will have a rolling road dynamometer set up, and Southside Crew’s Dawood Hoosein says that it is quite possible that a winning power figure of between 500 to 600 kW could be achieved. This would be likely to come from some of the very special Toyota Supra turbocharged cars that are known to be under preparation for this big event on the modified street car calendar.

On Saturday July 6, the big attraction in the German vs Jap camp is going to be the Limbo event for cars, to see which streetcar has the lowest ride height in the land. There will be special categories for cars with air suspension as well as traditional steel-spring suspension, with big prizes up for grabs.

As usual with The Classic Car Show and the German vs Jap event, there will be plenty of food and drink on sale, as well as other entertainment, such as music, helicopter flips and kiddie play areas.

All in all, it will be a great family day out for all car lovers. Tickets are currently available through Computicket, at R100 for adults and R30 for children under 12. The Nasrec Expo Centre is located southwest of Johannesburg’s CBD, just off the N1 highway, near Soccer City.

For more information visit or the Southside Crew’s website on which organises the German vs Jap segment of the show.