Perhaps the enclosed glimpse of a bygone day of motoring in South Africa forty years ago will prove of interest to the vintage enthusiasts. Such scenes were still very common even fifteen years ago off the tarred roads and, of course, forty years ago when my father’s Dodge was photographed in this predicament there was no tar at all, only rutted tracks meandering hundreds of miles across the rolling bush. (Photograph not suitable for reproduction. – ED) The Dodge was strong, slow and very reliable, with a bottom gear which would pull it up the side of a house. My grandfather started his motoring as a country doctor in the Cape when he exchanged a horse and trap for a 1913 model-T Ford with acetylene lamps. In addition to the Dodge my father has owned a model-A Ford fixed-head coupé (my earliest memory), a 1936 Ford V8, two Studebaker Champions (1947 and 1950), a Peugeot 403, Fiat 500C, two VWs and at present a Fiat 1100, none has been faultless and all have been memorable.
Talking of “Cars in books,” surely John Steinbeck’s description of the vintage American cars used by the displaced Oklahomans and Texans in their trek across the continent to California in “Grapes of Wrath” ranks him as one of the poets of the vintage era. I think that he is a writer who really loves and understands old machinery.
F. E. DU TAIT.