South Africa has a large number of Ford fanatics, but the most impressive collection can probably be found just outside of Hermanus.
Words and pictures: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
It is a tight space, but it is filled with Fords. Calvin Hutton’s love of cars is already a second-generational interest, as he explains that his dad was a petrolhead and that he had undoubtedly been "blessed" with the love of the Blue Oval as a consequence.
One can’t call this room a garage, as it is more a combination of a show- and living room. Apart from the cars, there are old petrol pumps, model cars, old instruments, magazines and a whole bunch more relevant “old” stuff from the previous century.
Having run an automotive workshop for 20 years, Calvin’s hands know their way around a car and restoring a vehicle comes naturally to him, even with all the challenges it brings.
“I remember when I was a youngster my father bought a 1934 Ford V8 Tourer. We towed it back home and got it running. He really loved his old cars. He was a motor mechanic and I did my apprenticeship with him. My son is now assisting me with the business and also enjoys the classic cars.”
One of Calvin’s earliest memories was his dad’s 1965 Ford Cortina Station Wagon, clearly a car that formed the foundation of his love for the brand. However, a Ford wasn’t Calvin’s first car.
“The first car I owned was a Datsun. When I was finished with the army I decided I either wanted a Datsun or a Ford Capri, particularly the latter as my dad had one. I found a Capri but it was an automatic. Then I found a 1972 Datsun 1800 Coupé, which I bought in 1977.”
The car that would become the root of the collection is a 1972 Ford Capri V6. “I’ve had this car for 37 years. I went overseas in the early-'80s and when I came back I borrowed R1 000 and knowing my dad had one I saw this example at a dealer and bought it.” Kelvin has had plenty of Fords over the years, including the special Ford Escort RS2000. “It was my mom’s car, but she didn’t like it. I took it over from her and like a fool I traded it in and purchased a Ford Cortina bakkie.”
Talking of a Ford Cortina bakkie, there is one in the collection that grabbed my attention as I walked in. It is called a Ford Cortina 3000 4x4 Muscle and it is from 1985. “There were around 350 locally made and sold officially through Ford. It was fitted with the suspension from a Jeep as well as the differentials and transfer case.” It does look the part and is not something I’d seen before.
Over the years Calvin has brought a number of cars back to life. The first car he restored was a 1964 Ford Cortina MK1 GT. That project he completed 27 years ago. He admits that he made a few upgrades to the car by lowering it a little and also giving the engine a bit more power.
In his workshop I saw the body of a 1952 Citroën Traction Avant, a car that in terms of the brand doesn’t fit into the collection, but Calvin explains why the car is here: “My dad gave this car to me when I was 12. I used to play around in it and strip parts from it.” Currently this is a rather nostalgic restoration project he is busy with.
Another restoration project he has done is a 1965 Ford Cortina GT. “Everybody knows these cars by their dashboards, they say it is one of the prettiest car dashboards ever. This car has been restored to its original condition. Sourcing parts is fortunately not that difficult as many of them were sold in South Africa.”
These are, however, not the only projects he is busy with. There is also a 1970 Lotus Cortina MK II that is being attended to. “It is very rare and apparently there are only around five in South Africa. I’m now at the stage where the engine is ready to be installed in the car.”
What about modern cars? As expected, the family is very selective, but a few years ago they did add the wonderful Ford Fiesta ST200 to the collection.
Calvin would like to add another car or two to his collection, but admits that he would first sell a couple. “I want to get a muscle car, something like a Mustang. But... it must be a model from between 1965 and 1970.
Although enthusiasts know he collects Fords and will sometimes phone him to sell a car to him, he has had to, in some cases, pester an owner of a specific car for a long time before the car was eventually sold to him.
Thankfully the entire family has an interest in cars and most weekends Calvin finds time to drive one or two of the cars in the collection.