March 2013

The Club’s overseas liaison officer, Bruce Campbell, emailed some photos from Brian Dowding, one of our members in South Africa. The photos were taken at The Midas George Old Car Show. This prestigious event took place on the 9th & 10th of February 2013 and was organised by the Southern Cape Old Car Club.

Here are a couple of photos from the show: 

Click on a photo for a closer look
The Ultimate Barn Finds? The Ultimate Barn Finds?

The blue three speeder belongs to ex-club member Geoff Sturges from Great Brak River, Western Cape. The blue cylinder by the engine is an external oil tank. Geoff  has owned his car since 1967, and used it (camping!) whilst at college in UK, and ever since in South Africa.

The two speeders, a 1918 Grand Prix and a 1924 de Luxe, both belong to Brian Dowding from Knysa (pronounced NizeNa). How did Brian come across the cars?…… Brian takes up the story:

Our Cars were recovered in poor condition from a shed in Harare and brought down to SA in 2010. They formerly belonged to Bob Southon, who was an MWTC member, but passed away in 1997. They have now been fully restored; there’s still some upholstery to finish on the De Luxe, with some help and input from Chris Booth. 

The 1924 car originally started being restored by a Rory Sinclair of Hartlepool in 1967, and was part complete before being sold to Bob Southon, who at that time was living in Port Elizabeth in South Africa. He later moved to Harare, where he regularly showed his Morgans, together with an impressive collection of early English motor cycles (Brough Superiors, Vincents. Nortons Etc). Following Bob Southon’s death the bikes were quickly snapped up, but the cars lapsed into oblivion, although a rumour persisted amongst the Morgan Club members in Johannesburg about “3 wheelers in Zimbabwe”. 

So when the family decided to go to Zim for a month’s holiday, I set about trying to flesh out the rumour. The trail went via the president of the Zim AA to the president of the Vet & Vintage Club in Harare, and eventually the cars were “discovered” and a deal struck. Bringing the cars out of Zimbabwe was a challenge, but it all passed off with a few wry smiles, a few strange questions: (“what are these things?”…… “What do you think they are?”……… “They look like boats”……. “That’s right, they’re boats….” etc….)

Click on a photo for a closer look
The Ultimate Barn Finds? The Ultimate Barn Finds?
The cars as first found
The Ultimate Barn Finds? The Ultimate Barn Finds?
Dismantled and loaded for the journey home
The Ultimate Barn Finds?
Nearing completion

The eagle-eyed viewer will notice that there are actually three three wheelers in the barn. What happened to the cream one? And what about that rather unusual rear wheel? Brian again:

We bought that as well (on advice from Chris Booth, who knew about it)…. (it’s still in Harare) We are not sure what the idea was, but Bob put it together as a “dragmog”, with a moto guzzi engine. I suspect it was one of those father and son “projects” to keep junior amused. The locals say it was hard to say how fast it would go because no one dared get it out of second gear at around 90kph……………..