Back to basics for Milligan Vintage

2012-06-01 08:58

The popular Continental Milligan Vintage Trial returns to its Eastern Cape roots in 2012 as the 43rd running is set to take place from June 10-14.

The historic Milligan has been hosted annually by the Eastern Province Veteran Car Club since the first one-day event held between Port Elizabeth and East London on August 22 1970 in memory of the founding member of the EPVCC, Bill Milligan.

The modern Milligan returns to the region this year, but now covers five days, including one for scrutineering and documentation.


Jeff Nell, Clerk of the Course, said: “The 2012 Continental Milligan Vintage Trial will certainly be retracing its history as the route includes many of the scenic roads between Port Elizabeth and East London as used in the 1970 event.

“Competitors will be treated to a stunning, yet challenging, route that sets out each day from the Fish River Sun near Port Alfred and reaches as far as Nanaga just outside Port Elizabeth, as well as Grahamstown and East London.”

The varying topography of the region is expected to be a key factor on this classic sealed-odometer rally, in which 35 vintage and veteran cars have already been entered, with competitors travelling from as far away as Cape Town, Knysna, Durban and Johannesburg.

The oldest cars in the field are the 1928 Ford Model A Pickup entered by last year’s winner Neville Koch and a 1928 Chevrolet National Roadster driven by Barney Marais. Some 19 marques will be represented, among them Rolls-Royce, Volvo, MG, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Borgward, Humber, Morris, Austin Healey, Lancia and Jaguar.


This is the first year GSM products have been entered – a 1961 GSM Dart Mk2 and a 1964 GSM Flamingo driven by Arno van der Westhuizen and Peanuts Fouche respectively. These light sports cars with glass-fibre bodies were produced by the Glassport Motor Company in Cape Town from 1958 to 1964.

Some of the Milligan’s most esteemed competitors will also be present, among them Piet and Poppie Coetzee from Cradock, who have remarkably taken part in all 42 previous editions. They will compete in a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 250C.

The oldest competitor is expected to be Ulrich Muller, 85, driving a 1957 Borgward Isabella TS.

Visible and hidden marshals will be located throughout the route to verify each competitor’s times down to the second, and allocating penalty points for being early or late. 

Aside from the on-road action, the teams will also be enjoying numerous tea stops throughout the event, giving the public an opportunity to view the selection of classic cars up close.

The Milligan will visit the Nanaga Farm Stall outside Port Elizabeth on the Monday, followed by the Grahamstown Golf Club on the Tuesday, East London’s Border Vintage Car Club on Wednesday and Bathurst’s popular Pig & Whistle on Thursday.

Route summary

Monday, June 11: Fish River Sun, Port Alfred, Kenton, Alexandria, Nanaga, Grahamstown
Tuesday, June 12: Fish River Sun, Port Alfred, Bathurst, Grahamstown, Salem, Kenton-on-Sea, Port Alfred
Wednesday, June 13: Fish River Sun, East London
Thursday, June 14: Fish River Sun, Port Alfred, Kenton, Salem, Grahamstown, Bathurst