The weather played along this past Saturday, as car enthusiasts came out in support of the first SentiMETAL Gathering in nearly two years. The result was a gloriously eclectic mix of machines.
Words and Images: Hannes Oosthuizen
There aren't many more ideal settings for a car get-together than the beautifully kept lawns at Lourensford Estate, with the stunning Helderberg Mountains in the background. The conditions were perfect too - sunny (not too hot), and with barely a whisper of a breeze. While the event was only scheduled to start at 9am, it was clear that a number of petrolheads simply couldn't wait, and so a fair number of cars arrived early.
Once again sponsored by Liqui Moly, the SentiMETAL Gathering is a casual car-meet, but on steroids! The aim is to bring car enthusiasts from all camps together, united in their passion for the automobile. And so you can expect anything ranging from a proper vintage car, to a modern-day supercar, via some American muscle, and German and Italian exotica - some completely original, some subtly tweaked.
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"To me a big part of the fun of days like this remains the thrill of keeping an eye on the entrance, and seeing what arrives next," explains organiser Hannes Oosthuizen. "Though we do ask people to register beforehand, there are always surprises, and it certainly was the case again this weekend!"
The oldest (original) cars on the day were a brace of MG T-Types, which looked dainty compared to the immaculate and elegant 1970 Mercedes-Benz 250 CE parked next to them.
Fans of the Three-Pointed star also swooned over a white/purple W108 S-Class, and if you like your cars more modern, there was a stunning example of the C63 Black Series on display, too. Oh, and how about a 2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG Coupe, looking incredible on big monoblock alloys?
More classic British sportsters arrived in the glorious shapes of two Jaguar E-Types, the one belonging to Josh Spencer, the man who featured in the pilot episode of the SentiMETAL video series. It is possibly the highest-mileage Jaguar E-Type in the world - view the video here.
Germany was very well represented, with a variety of Porsches, including pristine examples of the 944 Turbo, 993 Carrera 4S and an "Outlaw RS", which turned many a head.
What would a Gathering be without a number of iconic Bimmers. Two red examples of BMW's shark-nosed E24 6 Series were on display, along with two E34 M5s (an early, and later example), a stunning E46 M3 and, of course, a gorgeous E30 325is! A late arrival was an E60 V10 M5, which made a number of BMW fanatics drool. Those in the know also spent time with a neat (SA-built) E36 325i Coupe, quite a hard-to-find machine these days, particularly in the condition of this particular example.
French marque Citroen was also represented well, with no fewer than three Goddesses (DS) on display, including a self-made "Decapotable" (convertible) belonging to legendary DS mechanic and Somerset West resident, Kurt Wittig. A colourful "Dolly" variant of the inimitable 2CV also made an appearance, parked next to other European icons such as the Alfa Romeo Spider and Volkswagen Beetle.
For fans of American horsepower, there were some very quirky and beautiful attractions. It's not often that you see a 1950 Jeep Overland and a stunningly restored 1957 Chevrolet Station Wagon parked together.
Of course, a number of classic Ford Mustangs made the trip to Somerset West, too, joined by a pair of more European Blue Oval offerings - a "Coke Bottle" shape Cortina and Capri GT. But what says American car culture better than a spectacular 1928 Ford Model T Hot-Rod, or T-Bucket?
Some rare examples of Japanese modern classics included a pristine first-generation Toyota MR-2, a rare '92 Subaru SVX (the actual CAR magazine test car, featured in that magazine's January 1994 edition), and a spectacular 300ZX.
Younger enthusiasts in particular spent a lot of time next to a menacing-looking example of Nissan's R33 GT-R while fans of attainable Japanese performance cars with a distinctly South African flavour, enjoyed seeing good examples of the Sentra 200STi and Sabre 200GXi.
In addition to the previously mentioned classic Alfa Spider, the Italian marques were represented by anything from a Fiat Uno Turbo (a very rare sight these days), through a tastefully modded '80s Alfa Romeo GTV with a modern engine, to a lovely red Ferrari 348ts.
What else? How about one of the rarest modern-day super-hatches (Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S), a number of Opel Kadett GSis (including the SentiMETAL Superboss), an '80s Mini Clubman, Mini JCW GP2, VW Golf Mk1 Golf Karmann Cabriolet, Volvo P1800S and 850R Sedan among many more!
Cape Town-based classic car traders, Road & Race displayed two of their cars that are currently for sale, a 2013 Nissan 370Z (read more about that car here), and a soon-to-be-listed Audi (C5) RS6.
The next SentiMETAL Gathering is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg during June. Stay tuned for more information soon!