We catch up with Peter Lindenberg only two weeks after he competed in his final track race. We chat about his colourful career and take a walk though his workshop.
Words and images: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
“It was very tough participating in my final racing weekend. But, you got to know when to stop. I think for me it is a very different decision to your average racing driver, because for me it was my life – or, let’s just say competition was my life. From the early days of water skiing to now, 43 years of continual competition.
“I already decided at the beginning of 2020 that I would call it a day. There was a commitment from me for 2020 as well as from our sponsors. With last year’s problems, I committed to making 2021 our final season.”
Peter won this year’s championship (V8 Legends of the 9 Hour) again in his 1965 Ford Mustang, clinching the title at the final race at Zwartkops Raceway. “This championship is made up of good cars and the racing is close as well.”
From sponsorship anecdotes during his Formula One speed boat career to travelling overseas, Peter have some very interesting stories to share.
“I got very attached to my race car with I raced in the Wesbank Modified series in the Nineties – that car was superb. If you ask me which car meant the most to me, it would be the 1970 Ford Capri Perana, the Basil Green car with the Gunston livery. I owned that car for 34 years. It was one hell of a car. It did a 1:08.20 seconds lap time around Zwartkops Raceway!”
The history of the Ford Capri Perana has been well documented. One of the highlights of this specific car was that it was fitted with a 302 ci Ford V8 engine, which translates into 5.0-litres.
Another highlight in the collection is Peter’s daughter’s 1969 Ford Fairlane race car. Paige Lindenberg has been racing this car for around 8 years.
“I always wanted to build a Fairlane, because Bob Olthoff raced one in 1969. It looked the same as the one we have. However, his car was very unsuccessful and unreliable. My late mom had the exact same Fairlane and we used to tow the caravan with it, that is why these specific Fairlanes are special to me. When I decided I wanted to build a race car, I found the original glass-fibre bonnet of Olthoff’s car!”
The Shelby Daytona recreation on the lift is, according to Peter, probably the most significant Daytona except for the original cars. “The is the first Daytona recreation that Peter Brock came to assist us in building many years ago.”
That car belongs to a client, but Peter has his own Daytona recreation which he has owned and raced for around 20 years.
At home Peter also has a model car collection comprising of some 3 000 cars. There are also some real classic cars in the garage. “I have a love for classic road cars as well. I have a really nice 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Galaxie. It is a two-door automatic. This was the last year that the Fairlane and Galaxie names were used as the same car. In 1960 they split them. This car is one of four in South Africa. I also have a 1929 Chevrolet four-door six-cylinder, which was our wedding car. I actually bought that car three years before I got married. I’ve owned that car for close to 35 years. It is the seventh, six-cylinder Chevrolet built in South Africa.
“I had a lot of good sports cars. That came to an end when we built Wesbank Raceway because I needed the money. When I had my big accident in Malaysia in 1990 when I was in a coma, when I came back from that I had to learn to walk and talk again, my late dad and Debbie sold my Ferrari 308 GT4, 328 and a Testarossa.”
Apart from racing, Peter and his family have been running Shelby South Africa. Should you wish to purchase a hand-built Shelby Cobra, Daytona or a GT40, that can also be manufactured locally with their assistance.
During these last few years, Peter has been best known for the racing he did with his classic Ford Mustang. “It has been an extremely competitive car. It was built in our workshop in 2015 and the first time we put it on the track for a race, it was on the pace. Since I’m done with racing it, I’m currently considering selling it. It might go to a collector who has a private museum. I’ll also include a lot of my racing paraphernalia with the sale. It will include my Springbok blazer for the three different sports I took part in, more racing clothes and trophies.”
From racing his Fords, Formula One speedboats and water skiing (and barefoot water skiing!) – Peter has had a colourful career!