- New Motor Museum display has 12 vehicles over 100 years old
To celebrate it once again being open to the public by appointment, the Franschhoek Motor Museum has put together a splendid display of twelve vehicles that are 100 years or older. Comprising an eclectic selection of various kinds of antique, veteran and vintage cars, tricycles and motorcycles, it makes for an intriguing stroll through earliest South African motoring history.
Oldest vehicle on show is an 1898 Beeston
The oldest vehicle in the Hall A display is an 1898 Beeston Moto-Tricycle. Built by the Humber Car Company, this was Thomas Humber’s bicycle works’ answer to pressure to produce a motorised vehicle. Humber first built this three-wheeler in Beeston, near Nottingham in 1898, while working on sourcing a suitable engine.
Next up, the oldest four wheeler in the collection is the Museum’s 1903 Ford Model A. It was built at the time of Cape Town’s first ever South African motor race at Green Point. The Jack Rose organized event demonstrated the capabilities of the motor car to the public. Won by Donald Menzies’ Panhard at a highest speed of 51 km/h, that was not much faster than the Rose’s own 5-year-old cycling speed record!
The 1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash runabout was the world’s first mass-production car. It has a 600 rpm 3.4 kW 1.6-litre single-cylinder engine driving a two-speed planetary gearbox. The 1909 Le Zébre Type A is a light car powered by a water-cooled single-cylinder 3.7 kW engine apparently of around 600 cc turning the rear wheels via a two-speed gearbox.
20 kW 5.7-litre 1911 Lorraine-Dietrich
Moving on to 1910, there’s a unique Wolseley 12-16 on display alongside a 1911 Lorraine-Dietrich Convertible. Built by railway coach manufacturer De Dietrich in Lorraine, France. Powered by a 20 kW 5.7-litre four-cylinder side-valve engine with a 4-speed Cardan-shaft transmission rather than a chain. Featuring a dramatic serpent horn, this car was first owned by diamond supply magnate Charles Newberry at his magnificent Prynnsberg estate.
Next up There’s also a the regulatory 1911 Ford Model T. It stands next to among the most popular of cyclecars of its time. Like the Beeston Moto-Tricycle, the Humberette cyclecar was built by Humber. It was once hailed as the ‘perfect car in miniature’. This water-cooled 1914 model has a 5 kW 998 cc air-cooled V-twin engine. It has drip-feed lubrication, a leather-lined cone clutch. Its has a three-speed gearbox with reverse, and a shaft driven differential on the rear axle.,
The Franschhoek Motor Museum’s remarkable 1915 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is one of the highlights of its Centennial Show. Commissioned by the British Admiralty for war duty, chassis 14AC was sold back to Rolls Royce in 1918. Refurbished by Vickers, it was then acquired by South African military commander, Sir Pierre van Ryneveld, who kept the car until his death in 1972. The 60 kW 7.4-litre straight-six Ghost drove the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox. It was later restored back to a period Sports Tourer design.
Massive Franschhoek Isotta has a great story to it
A 1917 Triumph Model H represents the two wheelers on display, while two of the cars turn 100 in 2022. The 1922 8 kW 1.5-litre four cylinder AC Empire Model 12 is a great example of a light sportscar from 100 years ago, but arguably the star d the show is the other 100 year old is arguably the star of the Franschhoek Motor Museum’s 100 year show.
The massive yet uncomplicated 5902cc monobloc straight-eight 1922 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 has semi-elliptic spring suspension and four-wheel drum brakes. Originally owned by JG Parry Thomas, who died attempting a world land speed record on Pendine Sands, Wales in 1927, it was acquired by Clocolan, Free State scion Ernest Newberry. He soon squandered the Prynnsberg fortune, leaving the Isotta scattered across the estate. Bloemfontein collector Waldie Greyvensteyn later rescued the car and returned it to its original glory.
The Franschhoek Motor Museum’s Centennial display forms part of its present pre-1935 exhibition in Hall A. Hall B has a selection of Ford Model T, Model A and V8s made between 1923 and 1938 on show. Moving to Hall C, there’s a most interesting ‘Old and New’ show of same make cars built up to 50 years apart. Hall D comprises a significant exhibition of race and sportscars.
Franschhoek Museum a perfect family destination
The Franschhoek Motor Museum is the perfect family destination. It is located on the l’Ormarins Wine Estate on the R45 road to Franschhoek. Visits are by appointment only. The Museum is open Monday to Friday from 10h00 to 16h00. And 10h00 to 15h00 on weekends and public holidays. Visit www.fmm.co.za to learn more and book your next visit.