Story & pics by Ian Groat

Embarking on another four-day motor show for both hard core petrol heads and the rest of us practical motorists, the expo held at Kyalami was an object trip for many aspirational dreaming car owners to take the car of their dreams for a couple of laps around the all-new international race track.

With all the bling and product overdrive in motion it was a whole day spent at ogling mobile metal in its latest shiny form of design excellence, while scooting around the vast show area based on two whole parks of activity.

Parking left on the public days was at a premium and the foot soldiering general public got to walk the soles off their shoes. The latest dynamic global show stoppers featured heavily, but also big on doing business was the 4×4 village and priceless historic classic race cars that adorned the trackside exhibits. This, plus as much branded merchandise that a large body can hold was also a head turner at the festival among the favourite motoring brands.

Mercedes-Benz landed some new AMG 635 GT sport models and their opulent new V6 Bakkie drew plenty of interest. Kia showed their new rocket ship Stinger model which is handsomely designed and well kitted out for the sportiest of drivers. It is intended to satisfy on a big press launch for their range of SUV models which will place them as front runners on the price to performance platform while Mini launched an all-new 1499GT cc model. Opel showed some good intent with the latest GrandLand X SUV range with a host of significant sports models from Audi and Peugeot’s new 5008 SUV. Seemingly no expense was spared by the local importers to inject some four-wheel wizardry to the show.

A couple of laps for me in the Rauch V8 Mustang with the R1.5 million price tag proved to be quite incredible as to just how well planted the Pony car stays at mind-boggling speeds around the race track. The down side of all this was probably a need for a quick change of underwear for the unprepared aspirational driver who took the once in a lifetime two laps at breakneck speed.

A full one-day car conference organised by NAAMSA and Auto Trader took the lid off just how competitive South African motor makers and their localisation trends will become by 2030. It’s a big ask to keep the country ultra-competitive. Firstly, a major skills shortage, big increases in the cost of both electricity and also continuing exorbitant wage demands from the unions in play were some of the deliberation outcomes presented on the day.

When it comes to trade action there were a number of brave distributors who toughed it out for the full four-day expo.

Hunter showed some innovative wheel suspension service kits which came from Leaderquip in the form of fast acting suspension spring compressor units and the very latest digital wheel alignment from the USA development company. Wheel Collision have now worked out a national club for wheel protection and repairs. “It is a joint venture with Tiger Wheel and Tyre,” says Craig Courtney.  “Using state-of-the-art repair equipment the company will carry out expert rim repairs and have special insurance cover in the new membership initiative.”

Martin Skeggs, who is the long-term importer for the famous Autoglym brand showed the new special Two Step body shop polishing system. It’s been developed after a number of years by Autoglym to speed up final polishing, delivery and also to outperform current rivals in the body shop business. The package includes specialised form mops for perfect paint finishes.

Lein Schutz from Ceramic Pro picked up plenty of first class foam on their innovative top protective coating for vehicle finishes. It uses a special boron ingredient in the formula for no sink back and gloss retention over extended periods.  Protection of finished paint finishes must be big business for Expel who supply laminated film ware, as well as showing their latest Hydrofobic self- heating Lamine films.

Not to be outdone, LLumar played out their national applicator competition where competitors who were gathered from all across the nation to see just who put on the best film. With over 10 competitors, the competition was fierce as the winner gets to go to the Sema Show in Las Vegas at the World Applicator Finals in Nevada this year.

“The windscreen protection from harmful UV rays is doing big business across the country,”  says Carryon Wernberg, “ as car owners also enjoy a big reduction in heat transfer into the car cabin as the unique film allows visible light in, but holds off harmful UV rays and blocks solar heat.”

Once again, the Festival of Motoring had the interested new millennials on a trip of a lifetime, as the eternal speed craving knew no bounds, and life is all the better for it!