How to buy a classic motorcycle in SA?

'There are a few things you need to consider,’ writes bike guru Dries Van der Walt.

Top family cars in SA

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post has gone from a 'SpeedQueen' to a supermom. Check out her list of top family cars.

Red MG Diaries - The road home

2007-01-12 08:17

Chris Emmanuel

How alive is the nomadic lifestyle in today's crazy world?

It's clear that as soon as the tinsel is dangling and cheesy Christmas songs start playing in the isles of our local shopping haunts that the majority of hard working South Africans start to get really itchy feet, feet that want to take patience to a new high and clutch control to new low.

This year's seasonal motoring rush to every far flung corner of the country was no different. It is easy being consumed by common consumer culture and trends so I also decided that it was high time to prove that although somewhat further along the 'better with age' continuum, Sadie and I, (Sadie being my trusty red MG that you have gotten to know so well over the past few months), were going to hit the road.

Yes, Sadie was ready to join all the new 'blinged' out, airbag clad, meaty monsters that accessorise the 'thirteenth cheque' brigade and go places - places far and wide.

Those that know me will be saliently aware that I live for the shock factor, the gasp that follows some ridiculously crude comment or over flung and dramatised story!

True to form the comments came in thick and fast when I casually mentioned that I would be driving my car to Knysna for the holidays. "You'll never make it!", "Those cars overheat in a flash you know!" and my favourite, "Gasp!" !!

To round off the road trip regalia I recruited a friend to 'wing man/navigator' position, you know, "200m left" and all that jazz, and bought a new puppy for the so called 'back seat', nothing more than a 10 cm metal panel.

Discovery is a great human condition and yet again it ran rife in the packing preparations.

I discovered on that sunny day that the only way to fit 3 weeks worth of holiday gear, for two people, as well as puppy and all the mandatory paraphernalia was not to minimise the amount but just to use many, many small bags and packets that could be wedged and tucked to form the exact shape of the boot hood!

So, fully loaded, we dropped Sadie's top as fast as a Brazilian model on Clifton 4th and, I have to, sorry, HIT THE ROAD!

"Peppy pulling power"

There is something truly spectacular about the open road in a car like mine, it becomes a truly awesome experience.

Close to the road and at 85mph, yes my speedo doesn't do km's doll, you really feel alive. A firm believer in the fact that every car has a speed at which it likes to 'settle', that sort of relaxed foot on the accelerator feeling, I was so surprised that with the overdrive on, 80mph was where my baby felt most fluid. I think that is pretty awesome!

With enough peppy pulling power we sped past the granny's and kept up with the best of them.

So what went wrong? (It's not an adventure without some excitement!) Had I not heard a flapping noise just outside of Swellendam I wouldn't have even known that we had had a major blow out on the front right tyre.

No wobble, no swerving in fact nothing exciting at all really, just "flap, flap, flap, flap". Maybe some of today's technical experts need to take a learning from this, do some reverse engineering on the archaic suspension of my car because in my books, a blow out at around 80mph in any other car would have been a lot more dramatic.

Anyway, a few greasy hands later we retook the road and forged ahead.

I can?t help but be a little sad, sad that the stories of my adventures in my trusty MG have to end, but they must!

My point has been made, the umbrella question that I was trying to answer through all of this weaving of words, namely, was it a good decision to trade my brand new car for a brand old one, has been settled. I think you will all agree the answer is a resounding yes.

Beyond the horizon

Six or so months is more than enough time to mull over a decision. To be honest I knew the answer to the question at hand at the first turn of the key. I was sold. Had my experience been marred by unreliability and massive expense I still hypothesise that my passion for this car would have still made this a positive sum game.

So, yet again I will steal from the nomadic lifestyle of the ancestors that came thousands of years before me. I will move on. Find a more fertile question that needs answering and go about doing so until such time as the urge to move strikes again!

As Sadie and I ride off into the sunset look out for that high handed wave I love so much. Just before we crest the horizon you'll see it and know that our adventures will continue but in a much more private affair, one reserved for the pages of my leather bound diary and the corridors of my memory that thanks to her are filling up with memories that will last a lifetime.


Bullet: Name, set and match!

2012-04-16 16:47

Inside Wheels24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.