German-themed Old Car Show will oompah George into automotive action

George, Garden Route (December 2023) A diverse crowd with a singular goal in common gathered at Protea by Marriott Hotel King George last Friday morning to launch the George Old Car Show 2024 over a scrumptious breakfast spread. At the mic during the event were tour veterans and other old-car acolytes alike.

Representing show founders the Southern Cape Old Car Club and aptly decked out in lederhosen and related garb was Dr Waldo Scribante, who started off proceedings with a brief history of the event, and an announcement that next year’s GOCS on February 10 & 11 will boast a distinct German feel.

Waldo Scribante, Leon van Wyk, Alewijn Dippenaar

One of the 2024 show’s unique attractions will be an oompah band on the Sunday, but Waldo also alluded to a possible sneak-preview performance on the Saturday. And not surprisingly, both show days will see a special focus on German marques such as Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and BMW in models old and new.

“We will bring some festive German cheer to the 27th George Old Car Show, and at the same time celebrate the Southern Cape Old Car Club’s 35th anniversary during what has become our annual flagship event,” he said.

He reminded guests – including George mayor Leon van Wyk along with representatives of car dealerships and various local and national media channels – of how SCOCC members held the first event at Paul Fick’s farm in 1987; by 2004, it had grown into the second biggest car show in the country.

“George Old Car Show has been held every second weekend in February ever since, except when Covid-19 prevented it in 2021. This year, approximately 12,000 people attended the show, and in 2024 we would like to make it even more enjoyable for every exhibitor, stallholder and guest at the Eden Technical High School showgrounds,” said Waldo.

First citizen Leon van Wyk shared his team’s regard for the importance of tourism in George and elsewhere on the Garden Route, and lauded GOCS organisers for having created an “anchor event” in the town. “Thank you for the way this event has been built over the years into the major attraction it is today,” he said.

The mayor reiterated the importance of events that attract foreign tourists in a post-Covid world, and that offer such an alluring package that both national and overseas visitors extend their stay. He also announced the development of new collaborative efforts with provincial government and tourism bodies to reach this objective.

“A few days ago, Wesgro announced its collaboration with global organisations to structure flight and accommodation packages into George from Cape Town. Also, as recently approved by the Western Cape cabinet, an improved growth strategy called G4J (Growth for Jobs) will work towards almost doubling our GDP by 2025.”

Next to take up the mic was GOCS chairman Alewijn Dippenaar – an old hand when it comes to riling up audiences while sharing his respect for old cars and their crafty conservers. He praised the three-pronged objective of SCOCC members to collect, restore, and exhibit. But actually, he said, the show is “all about relationships”.

“In the old-car industry there are three distinct categories: ‘before my time’, ‘when I was young’, and ‘of the now’ – the relationship with cars by the generation born after 1970. But unlike our ever-changing human years, cars have fixed eras. For instance, the dates for the vintage-car category, built between 1 January 1919 and 31 December 1930, will never change.”

A comprehensive explanation followed during which Alewijn’s formula demonstrated that, taking a top average age of 80 years as benchmark, there will soon be very few people alive to tell true-life stories of their relationships with old cars. “In 27 years from today, most of the old-car industry generation that could claim ‘in my time’ will be gone.”

By 2040 another generation will have passed, and in 2050 those who experienced the 60s era will be gone. By 2050, people will only say be able to say “before my time” – and this, said Alewijn, leaves us with “living the now” as only other category. “So it is super great to have new car dealers with us today, ready to participate in the show.”

The world asks for innovation and creativity, concluded Alewijn, adding that the GOCS 2024 will need to strategically marry ‘before my time’ and ‘living the now’ to ensure the future interest, passion and involvement of new generations.

“This is the great difference that the SCOOC is making with George Old Car Show: ensuring that cars built before 1970 is relevant to future generations. It is the club’s legacy project to ensure a continued passion for old cars, and to remember our relationship with these cars through storytelling and the great camaraderie enjoyed at each year’s Old Car Show.”

A final word went to SAVVA (Southern African Vintage and Veteran Association) chairman Philip Kuschke, who congratulated fellow SCOCC members for having built the event up into such a dynamic affair.

“George Old Car Show is all but static – you can see how stationary engines work, buy the maize meal ground and witness water being pumped. Bikes and tractors and cars of all shapes and sizes drive past at intervals during both days, and it’s also the show in the country where the most veteran and Noah cars are being exhibited.”

Philip will be steering the Vet Tour, which kicks off on the Thursday before show weekend, for the 19th time next year. Find out everything you need to know about this veteran-car cruise, as well as registration and other details of GOCS 2024, by clicking on www.scocc.co.za. Prospective exhibitors and stallholders can call Alewijn Dippenaar on 082 457 5675.

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