Spies Hecker

What do you think is the most popular colour for a motor car is in South Africa, following world trends? Well, its white, followed by silver and black. Then it’s slate grey, blue, red, orange and gold.

Biggest ‘Cars in the Park Classic Cars Show’ in the country is held annually at Zwartkops Raceway. This year around 2 500 classic cars came out of garages all over the country to pack into the circuit Ð and I mean pack Ð both cars and motoring enthusiasts.

Hyundai have just launched a very impressive range of Tucson sport models. They come either with a 1.6 petrol engine with 150kW (that’s nearly 200 HP) and a two-litre turbodiesel with the same power but lots more torque low down. Impressive specs with roadholding and comfort will increase the penetration of Hyundai into the SUV market.

Kingsley Holgate and his Land Rover Discovery is on the move again around Africa to give sight to at least 200 people who are going to have life changing cataract operations in the Mozambique Zambezi Delta. He actually takes a raft with him to allow his vehicles to ford rivers.

Mercedes-Benz has just celebrated 750 000 CKD truck kits that are assembled either in Germany or at their plant in East London. Thank heavens for Mercedes in East London because without them East London would virtually come to a stop.

Half-year results for Porsche Ð despite a tough market for their vehicles all over the world Ð saw sales revenue increase by 9%. Not many manufacturers can say this.

Roush Mustangs have arrived in the country with 710 HP and a new, yet familiar appearance.

According to Malcolm Kinsey’s 2019 Parts Survey, the entry level Datsun Go has the cheapest parts basket in the country against 66 other models of cars. In 2017 it was R44 372, 2019 saw it grow to R63 310 – or 43%. Compare that to the Volvo X60 parts basket in 2017 at R159 162 that has climbed to     R214 362 this year (a 34% increase).

Daimler is stopping production of its Mercedes-Benz X-Class bakkie according to the American Automotive News. The price was considered too high and competition in the bakkie section is fierce. Though they did manage to sell 16 700 units since launch.

The next generation Mazda BT-50 bakkie with more robust styling is on the cards and could be here early next year.

Isuzu in South Africa has spent R27 million relocating its truck and bakkies under one roof in Struandale in Port Elizabeth.  Looks like it will be the end of Kempston Road in PE which was GM’s home from the late 1920s.

Mazda 3 has a new model with 5-Star Euro N-Cap rating in the market place.  They have already won Best Award for Car Design. They have put every conceivable feature into the motor car plus a new engine. The Mazda range is impressive all round.

Since they started production Nissan Motor Company is heading swiftly for 160 million vehicles made. Datsun alone passed the 300 000 cars sold globally since the first Datsun was launched in the 21st century in India. Sales started here in October 2014.

Isuzu is the largest manufacturer of diesel engines in the world. They have just signed an agreement of intent to jointly evaluate opportunities with Cummings Diesel of America.

Brad Binder from Krugersdorp, our World Champion in motorcycle racing, eventually trotted out his new KTM with reduced tyre wear and won the German Grand Prix in Moto2 in July and latterly the Austrian race at the Red Bull circuit Ð and this on his birthday! He has now signed up to ride a Moto GP KTM which I am sure he is going to sort out to be ready to race against a man on his way to his next world championship, Marc Marquez of Spain on a Honda.

Talking motorcycle racing, Jonathon Rae who lost the first 12 races of the World Superbike Series has got his Kawasaki motoring now thanks to a lot of hard work by his team. He is now whipping the early season leader, Ducati, with Bautista on board. He is likely to win the Superbike World Championship this year to make it five championships. Currently he lives on the Isle of Man but says there is no way he is going to contest the TT!

Jaguar Director of Design, Ian Callum, has just been awarded an OBE by the Queen. All the good looking Jaguars you see around are designed by Ian, who if I am not mistaken, also designed the newest version of the London taxi.

Put Lewis Hamilton down in your books to be your World Formula 1 Champion for 2019. Second, I would venture to guess is twice GP winner and the most exciting driver to watch, Max Verstappen (Red Bull Team), using Honda power, who is right on the button with the competition.

Honda is closing its Swindon plant in the UK where they made 150 000 cars per year and employed 3 500. It is all to do with the Brexit situation.

Don’t be surprised to see Fernando Alonso driving a locally produced Toyota Gazoo Hilux in future off-road racing. He tested impressively in Upington and would like to broaden his racing experiences.

Jordan Pepper, Tasmin Pepper’s brother, took his Bentley Ð and he is in the Works Team Ð to a win in the Paul Ricard 1000 Blanc Pain GT Series Enduro cup. We should see him out here racing in the Kyalami 9-Hour on November 23.

The best Grand Prix of the season or maybe of all time was the excitement produced at Silverstone in the UK where the Brits excelled themselves with the state of the circuit and the TV coverage. The fact that Hamilton and Bottas were first and second didn’t really matter. Le Clerq in his Ferrari was third.

In the next race Hamilton and Bottas at Hockenheim had a disastrous day for Mercedes-Benz as Verstappen came through to win the German Grand Prix.

Let’s hope this excitement can continue despite the FIA stewards handing out penalties left, right and centre ruining the spectacle of Formula 1 racing.  Verstappen summed up some of their decisions with “If this is how they want to run Grand Prix racing maybe we should all stay at home”.  I reckon the youngsters provide great excitement and are as quick as some of the more established champions.

Don’t forget to listen to Roger McCleery to hear  more inside stories every Tuesday afternoon on his Motoring programme on Radio Today (1485 AM) or on DSTV Audio Channel 869 at 6pm to 7 pm.   Get all your news on the motor industry, motorsport and everything to do with wheels and motors.