Throughout motorsport’s history, amateur competitors have taken on the world with self-built specials. Such a story is that of South African Tony Kotze, who failed to qualify his Assegai for the 1962 Rand Grand Prix at Kyalami. It never graced an international competition thereafter.
Cape Town-based garagiste Kotze was just one of several talented mechanic/fabricators regularly seconded by the Formula One teams when they arrived on his home patch. Obsessed by Ferrari’s sharknose cars of 1961, he put one on his own creation, named after a Zulu spear and built under the Bond Cars banner. He had planned to construct four chassis, but this is the only example which reached completion.
The Assegai’s frame features a Lotus 18-inspired rear end, and carries its fuel tanks wedged between the longerons, for extra stiffness.
Used in local events to ’64, it is still powered by a 1500cc Alfa Romeo twin-cam engine and features a Hewland Mk8 gearbox (it’s also used an Alfasud unit in the past) and runs in Fonnule Libre events at Kyalami.
Expat Briton Brian Tyler, who once acted as Far East correspondent for sister magazine Autosport, bought the car in ’97 and was “quite chuffed” to finish 25th of 44 amid the exotica of the first HGPCA Pre-66 race at Coys on Saturday, despite running a second-string engine and suffering a tangle with Alan Baillie’s Lotus 18.
Piston failure spelled retirement on Sunday, but the car might have an Historic future here.