Brian Joss – For the first time, an international classic car auction will be held in South Africa on Saturday August 11, at Steyn City, outside Sandton.
The Concours South Africa Auction, brought to you by Coys of London, will be held at The Shed, at the estate. The auction will be headlined by 50 cars from The Plit Portfolio, which will go under the hammer on the Saturday night of the three-day Concours South Africa classic car event.
In addition to The Plit Portfolio, a number of other classics will be auctioned on August 11, including a rare Maserati Khamsin AM120 prototype, a 1973 creation of which only five were built.
“This will be the first time in South Africa that an international classic car auction will be hosted,” said Concours South Africa co-organiser Greg Marucchi.
“The Coys catalogue that is in preparation right now will be distributed electronically to 25 000 of their clients internationally and there will be international on-line bidding from enthusiasts all over the world, on the night, as well as bidding on the floor at Steyn City”.
The amazing collection of cars being put up for auction by Johannesburg-based arch-enthusiast Wayne Plit represents just a small portion of his collection that began way back in the late 1980’s, starting with a 1964 Lancia Flavia coupe, and followed by a Ford Escort RS 2000.
“My first car was a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle, which I took over from my father in 1981, which already had about 500 000 km on the clock,” said Wayne Plit. “And I rebuilt that old boxer Beetle engine many times. So that’s where my passion began.
“You could say the 1964 Lancia Flavia Pininfarina Coupe was my first bona-fide classic. The Ford Escort RS 2000 that came next was followed by a BMW 333i, and after that well, with the success of my business ventures, I was able to accelerate my investment into classic and collectable cars.
“A year ago, I did a count and the number that I owned had risen above the
250 mark. I currently employ five people just to keep them maintained and exercised, because you can’t let these old cars stand around or they’ll deteriorate. So, reluctantly, because I am truly addicted to these old cars, I have made the difficult decision to rationalise the collection.
“This auction is the first step, where I will be putting up 50 of my cars, and some classic motorcycles, for auction by Coys of London, at the Concours South Africa event.”
For Plit, this decision has been an agonising one, as he is genuinely passionate about each and every car in his collection.
“I am not a one-marque man. I enjoy a huge variety of classic cars, particularly those that emanate from the 1970’s and the 1980’s, when many of these cars were in poster-form on my bedroom wall. Of course, as I collected, I became entranced by many other cars from earlier eras too. But yes, the time has come to re-focus my portfolio.”
A 1935 Fox & Nicholl Singer Le Mans 2-litre Special. This car is one of only three Singer cars ever built by the famous Fox & Nicholl Race Car Company who were also responsible for the construction of the 1933 Lagonda LG45R. A similar Fox & Nicholl LG45RT was sold at the 2014 Bonham’s Goodwood Revival auction for R28-million. The three Fox & Nicholl Singer Le Mans cars had body numbers LM11, LM12 and LM13. This is LM11 and is evidently the only surviving car. Apparently, LM11 raced at the 1934 Le Mans and in various major UK events, until being brought to South Africa in 1938 by an RAF aircraft rigger on contract to the SAAF, to re-rig the SAAF Glouster Javelin bi-planes. The Singer LM11 was then sold to a local Singer expert in 1965 and subsequently in 2007 a collector in Cape Town, prior to being identified as something rather special, and incorporated into the Plit Portfolio.
A completely original un-restored 1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT 500. This car still has its original paint, upholstery and trim, and was imported to South Africa 48 years ago. It is completely unmolested, with all the original trim and correct wheels present, and has the unique patina of a car that has been lovingly cared-for, but in exactly the form it left the factory at the height of Carroll Shelby euphoria. Plit says it is impossible to replicate the feeling of authenticity that this car has, and he hopes it never undergoes a restoration.
A 1950 Jaguar XK120. This is the oldest known Jaguar XK120 in South Africa, finished in a beautiful off-white colour with red interior. This is the model that made Jaguar’s fine reputation for offering extremely fast sports cars at an affordable price. The Roadster is the most beautiful and sought-after of the XKs.
This particular car features in the book “The Jaguar XK120” by John Elmgreen and Terry McGrath. The chassis was completed in 1950 and delivered to a Mrs Catherine Elaine Reid-Walker in Staffordshire in the UK. It was then exported to South Africa by Mr Reid-Walker who was a Scottish businessman on a six-month tour here. It was tested by a reporter from The Sunday Express and a picture of this car appeared in that paper on 11 February 1951. The car then left South Africa in May 1951 and returned to England where it competed in the ninth Scottish Rally, still sporting its South African plates, and where it finished third overall! The car eventually returned to South Africa and it appeared at the Motoring Memories event at the then-new Carlton Exhibition Centre in Johannesburg in the 1970s.
A 1990 Porsche 964 RS N-GT. This is an extremely-focused racing car with its bare-metal interior, strengthened and seam-welded shell, alloy front boot lid, thinner glass, and FIA welded-in roll cage. It sports Recaro race seats covered in flame-retardant Nomex, a Schroth race harness, plumbed-in fire extinguisher and an on-board cut-off switch. It also just happens to be road legal!
It is devoid of such niceties as air-con, power steering, electric mirrors, driver aids, interior carpeting and sound deadening and is said to weigh a whopping 155 kg less than an equivalent standard 964-series Porsche 911. It is fitted with a very powerful naturally-aspirated race-tuned and honed 3,8-litre flat-six Porsche engine, close-ratio gears with steel synchromesh, asymmetrical limited slip differential, lightweight flywheel, button clutch, and lowered and stiffer suspension. All this work was carried out by the Porsche factory in Germany. It was brought to South Africa by Bruce Joelson, who was famous at the time for heading up Elna Sewing Machines in this country, and sponsoring SA Superbike champ Dave Petersen. This car may be one of only 290 similar examples produced by the factory for racing homologation purposes, but it is the only one with this level of factory specification.
A trio of genuine Mini Cooper S cars. Alec Issigonis’s friend John Cooper, owner of the Cooper Car Company and designer and builder of Formula One and rally cars, saw the potential of the basic Mini, introduced in 1959, for competition. Issigonis was initially rather reluctant to see the Mini in the role of a performance car. But after Cooper approached BMC management, the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper. The Austin Mini Cooper and Morris Mini Cooper debuted in September 1961. The car featured performance-orientated engine internals with twin SU carburettors and a close-ratio gearbox, as well as front disc brakes, uncommon at that time in a small car. A more powerful version, dubbed the Cooper ‘S’ was developed in tandem and released in 1963. There were three S versions built to homologate them for the prevailing engine capacity classes in circuit racing, namely the 970 cc, the 1071 cc and the 1 275 cc models. All three were offered for sale to the public.
On offer at the Concours South Africa auction is an appropriately concours-condition Cooper S Mk 1, a Cooper S Mk 1 1275 and a Cooper S Mk 2.
These are just a handful of the 75 cars that will form The Plit Portfolio at the Concours South Africa Auction, conducted by Coys from London. Other cars include a 1964 Ferrari 365GT 2+2 RHD, one of only 52 produced, eight Porsches, a Maserati Zagato Spider, five Lancias including a RHD 16V Integrale, four Lotus cars, a rare Renault Alpine A110 1600S, a trio of BMW Alpina models, a trio of Fiat 500 “Cinquecentos”, a 1961 Alvis TD21, a BMW Z1, a Morgan Aero 8 and many, many more.
Aside from The Plit Portfolio, a number of South African enthusiast have shown interest in putting some of their classic cars up for auction. Contact organiser Paul Kennard on Paul@concourssouthafrica.com or co-organiser Greg Marucchi on firstname.lastname@example.org for details “This international auction is a natural fit for Concours South Africa, which will be running for the first time at the Steyn City from August 10 to August 12,” said Kennard. “It will be just one of the highlights of an exclusive weekend-long event that is attracting the cream of classic cars and enthusiasts in South Africa. Entries for Concours South Africa will be limited to 100 cars.”
To enter for Concours South Africa 2018, or to consign a car at the Auction powered by Coys, visit: www.concourssouthafrica.com for more information.
CAPTION: Under the hammer: The 1935 Fox & Nicholl Singer Le Mans. Picture: Motorpress