The SentiMETAL Gathering returned to the North of the country this past weekend, with the first meet in nearly two years taking place at Red Star Raceway near Delmas.
Images: Stefan Kotze
As ever, variety was the name of the game at the SentiMETAL Gathering, proudly sponsored by Liqui Moly. But even from the registration stage it was clear that this Gathering would have a distinctly BMW flavour.
Hosted for the first time ever at Red Star Raceway near Delmas, car enthusiasts enjoyed taking their machines on a cruise to the well-maintained and supported racing circuit. In the past few years, Red Star's management has worked hard to make the facility family friendly, and so it boasts playgrounds, lovely lawn areas and a good restaurant, too - what is a good car meet without a strong first cup of coffee?
When the gates opened a flood of BMWs soon started filling up the allocated parking area, with highlights including a stunning red E9 coupe, a variety of E39 M5s, a pristine E36 M3 and, later, a lovely 635 CSi.
Of course, the BMW (E30) 333i that will be used as the template for our new 1/18-scale model car, was also in attendance. The owner also brought his rare and magnificent (in purple) BMW (E34) M5 Touring.
There was also a bizarrely-badged BMW 363 itt - no that is not a typing error, but rather the clever badging on a Chevy V8-engined BMW 3 Series. As the day progressed, a number of E46 M3s, E30 sedans and more modern examples of the BMW M line showed up to make the Munich-based firm the dominant brand at the SentiMETAL Gathering.
But there was more than enough eye-candy for fans of other brands, too. The Three-pointed star was represented by such diverse icons as a stunningly restored '80s Unimog and a modern CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake. The latter car is exceptionally rare in South Africa.
A brace of SLs, a mint R107 500SL and a later R129 SL320, also drew admiring glances. Other notable German cars in attendance was a stunning Audi RS2 Avant - famed for being faster off the mark than the McLaren F1, and an absolutely mint example of the Porsche (993) 911 Turbo.
The Japanese side of the display area was also well-stocked with icons, including a number of racy-looking Mk4 Toyota Supras, none of them being entirely stock, obviously...
A stunning example of Nissan iconic R33 Skyline GT-R was joined by an almost-forgotten two-door relative, a rare Datsun 260C in olive green. When is the last time you saw one of these? The car is also in mint condition.
From the world of rallying, two legendary cars caught the eye - a "hawk-eye" Subaru Impreza and a lovely Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16v, sporting Martini livery. It was easily one of the most photographed cars on the day. The Delta wasn't the only Lancia to arrive - a lovely little red Montecarlo was also in attendance.
For fans of American muscle there were some serious machinery on offer - A tastefully modded Mustang V8 arrived first, with two hot Chevys (a Camaro IROC-Z and Corvette C4 Convertible) joining soon after.
But one of the stars of the event was undoubtedly a radically customised Corvette C3 with a wide-body kit and some serious rubber. We would definitely want to have a closer look again at this incredible machine in the future!
From England there were two cars that couldn't be more different - on the one hand a pristine Bentley Arnage, and on the other (dwarfed by the Bentley's shadow), a little Triumph Spitfire wearing its old age proudly. A later arrival from the UK was a fire-spitting Noble M400 and a cute little red Ford Cortina.
For local petrolheads starved of car events during the past two years, car meets like this not only represent an opportunity to give their machines that much-need stretch of legs, but also the chance to catch up with fellow enthusiasts. For the next SentiMETAL Gathering, we are eyeing, for the first time, a meet in Durban. Watch this space!