Based near Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, the Loubser brothers have had a life-long love affair with one of France’s much-loved manufacturers, Peugeot. They opened the doors to their collection to give us a peek.
Words and pictures: Wilhelm Lutjeharms (additional photography by Calvin Fisher)
Peugeot, Renault and Citroën - those are the three major French manufacturers if you quickly think about this European country. However, for Ian and Johan Loubser, a family connection with Peugeot sowed the seeds for their life-long love of this brand from a very young age.
Living and breathing all things Peugeot, both Ian (61) and Johan (64) Loubser are still active members at the national Club Peugeot Afrique du Sud. Ian is involved in automotive fleet management in Cape Town while Johan works at the HR department at the University of Stellenbosch. After hours both of them maintain these cars, enjoy them and take them to club meetings and breakfast runs, including SentiMETAL Gatherings.
“Our passion for cars and Peugeot definitely originates from our father. But we initially grew up among BMC products. Johan and I grew up with an Austin Cambridge station wagon. In 1968 my father started with a Peugeot dealership and twice a year he would drive a demonstration car. At the beginning he had 404s and then later on 504s. We used to go on holidays with the 504s to the Eastern Cape when Johan was in the army.”
The Club Peugeot Afrique du Sud was founded in August of 1990 and Ian joined the club only two years later. He has been chairman of the club for almost 20 years. Johan elaborates: “The contacts we’ve been able to make through the club with other Peugeot clubs have really been a passport to fellow enthusiasts. Every year the conservation arm of Peugeot called L’Aventure Peugeot, had a big event. At these events in Europe we used to be around 600 people and around 200 cars. We have been to seven of these events.
“My collection started with a modest 304 Stationwagon," explains Ian. "Of all the cars currently in the collection, I’ve owned the 505 GTi the longest, since the late '90s. From there on I started to focus on rare Peugeots. Next up the special 405 Mi16 joined the collection.”
This is a very rare model, especially in South Africa. It is fitted with a 1,9-litre engine developing 118 kW and 176 Nm. It certainly was a spirited performer at the time with a claimed weight of under 1 100 kg.
The rally car might not be an original, factory rally car, but Johan explains how he got it to this stage: “It was initially a standard 1969 Peugeot 504 Coupé. These cars were not officially available in South Africa, although around six were imported into the country, mainly for the directors of Peugeot. I bought it in the mid-1980s. The car was already 16 years old and was not in a great state, but a fellow enthusiast informed us of another 504 Coupé in Johannesburg. We bought that one and it had a perfect body, so we decided to convert the other to a replica of French rally driver Jean-Pierre Nicolas’s number 4 car with which they won the 26th Safari Rally in 1978.
“We received blueprints to help us built this car and the stickers had to be made specifically for it. Obviously the rally cars had V6 engines, but this model has the four-cylinder engine it came with. A roll cage was fitted and we also added a second stabiliser bar at the front. The engine was taken out and has been balanced and we also fitted side-draft carburettors.”
There collection also includes some other brands. The 1969 Ranger Estate has a story of its own. It was locally manufactured by General Motors and features a neat Springbok on the bonnet as its badge. The Ranger has been part of the collection for around seven years and Ian admits these station wagons from the late '60s to early '70s are getting scarce. The Ranger has also proven a popular choice for fashion shoots!
Another interesting car in the collection is a 505 station wagon GTi Dangel 4x4 from 1987. This is no standard Peugeot model though, but was modified by French company Dangel at the time. The changes included the fitment of a four-wheel drive system, low-range transfer case, centre differential lock and upgraded suspension which raised the car.
“We know very little about the car’s history. We bought it in Howick in KwaZulu-Natal and found out that it was driven through Africa, from France, as the then owner did his missionary work through Africa. When he got to KwaZulu-Natal he sold the car.”
It is not only to motor shows that the Loubser brothers will take this unique 4x4, but shortly after they bought it they tackled an off-road course outside Somerset West to experience the capability of the car for themselves.
This is the only one in the country, as 505 GTI station wagons were also never imported into South Africa and this being the 4x4 version makes it even more special. In front of it is a standard 1986 505 GTI sedan, complete with its neat little boot spoiler.
The oldest car in the collection is a 1930 Peugeot 201. “We bought it around 10 years ago. Peugeot imported three vintage cars into South Africa in the 70s, a 1925, 1928 and then this 1930 model.