THE WHOLE EXPORT ELCHELADA IN SOUTH AFRICA. From our Man in South Africa Aubrey Malden. Read more news items from this hot bed of classic car enthusiasts at SVA News
There’s a buzz in a suburb of Jo’burg as an intriguing classic car restoration
and sales company continues to grow. Fueled by local, and, of particular
interest to SVA members must be their international enquiries and sales.
This company seems to have found a good niche.
Route 101 sources cars for clients, can rebuild them and transport them from South Africa overseas. It’s the whole seamless enchilada.
This one-stop shop, is led by a meticulous mechanical engineer, Thys Venter.
He has an eye for perfection, aided by his team of 15 artisans. Experts on the
English Wheel and other professional services, including gearbox rebuilds
and overhauls, along with the Engine Shop team, where, when I visited them
recently a freshly rebuilt Jaguar XK engine was getting ready to clear her
throat and get a run on the Test Bed. Previously a rebuilt Big Healey 300 six
cylinder had just had a bark and a roar in the shop.
What I think should tweak the interest of the SVA members is Route 101’s
sourcing of cars and export services.
One 356 Porsche is going to Australia, the other the UK
I was shown into their small showroom and introduced to Warren, Thys’s right
There were a mixture of models and marques on the floor, about 20 in all.
Amongst them a rich red 2+2 E Type, the baby Frogeye Sprite- wearing a
bright and cheerful yellow coat, and a big Citroen DS, as Warren pointed out,
“ All our cars are carefully chosen and are thoroughly inspected in our
workshops before going to be sold here, in SA or overseas. We sold a
beautifully restored Porsche 356B destined for Australia and another, a 356B
Cabriolet is, we think, heading for the U.K, or Germany, and we await
“As people get to hear about us overseas the enquiries increase from mostly
the right hand drive countries, like the UK, Australia and New Zealand,” said
Thys. I spotted a 1956 VW De Luxe oval window Beetle, a Rolls Royce Silver
Spirit, a 66 Jaguar S Type and MF TD and a 57 dazzlingly blue and
incongruous Chevy Pick-Up.
Search and rescue service
Warren chipped in about the search and rescue service they provide as well.
“Overseas clients ask us to search out cars here in SA for export, and that
has recently included a pristine Healey, Mark 111. We often find very good
examples and send them on as they are. Other times, we have to rescue
them, so they go into the workshop to be brought back to life. Personally I
love seeing what the guys can do. They have a magic touch that I wish I had.”
The XK is going to Dubai
This explained they were currently totally restoring a locally sourced Jaguar
XK 150 Drop Head Coupe. “This one will be almost all be redone right here in
this shop, except for the upholstery, I can have it done here, we have an
excellent upholsterer, but this one I want done in the UK, to match the original
specs and exactly the same original English materials, that includes the
threads and leather.”
“Then the E Type will go on to Dubai, to a very special customer there.”
Adding with a grin, “ You can’t be striving to be world-class unless you
compete against the best, so let’s see how we do!”
Climate controlled classics
With the business growing I asked Warren why it had the interest from
overseas, “ Two things, it’s partly the climate. I mean the cars live in
practically speaking climate-controlled conditions. What could be better than
the weather we have here. Sunny, no humidity, not salt on the roads. Plus of
course, the wide range of cars, from enthusiasts who have just one or two
cars to the big collectors who have over 60 or more, over 300. It’s a great
hunting ground. European cars, American muscles and classics. Everything
under the sun, as it were. ”
I asked Thys which cars he liked best, “ The E Types for sure and the Citroen
is an interesting car, and of course the Mercedes 450 SL we have on the floor
and the Healey’s. To be honest I like them all. They all have something to
teach you, although I have to be careful about my passion for the Healey’s.
I’ve recently been made chairperson of the Club in Jo’burg, so I have to be
very, very careful of any potential conflict of interests, real or perceptually.”
Route 101 seems to be an impressive set-up and with all the services under
one roof, lead by a strong and passionate conductor.
I would however recommend they get their website sorted. It’s not perfect, yet.
To get in touch with route 101 go to route101cc.co.za or contact
email@example.com to discuss your requirements
SVA Says: Our thanks to Aubrey Malden for his insight and advice to SVA members. We enjoy his life in South Africa for enthusiasts and would welcome any other contributers from around the world. Feel free to send content you have written and images for which you have full content permission. Martyn Raybould MD