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SA know-how takes centre stage

2011-03-09 13:23

WHAT DRAFT?: This Backdraft Roadster, out of Durban, is one of Automechanika's Proudly South African displays.

A Proudly South African stand at Automechanika SA will play host to a number of local achievements, including a couple of sports cars and a Dakar-rated off-road racer.

Displays at the stand include two examples of the Backdraft Roadster manufactured by Backdraft from its facilities south of Durban.

More than 1000 units of the car, which combines a large capacity V8 and a lightweight composite body, have been built since 2003. The majority of the cars are exported to countries such as the US, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand and China, the company said.


Sharing space on the stand is an example of the Millennium 7 - a sports car modelled on the popular Lotus 7 and scheduled to begin low-volume production in the course of 2011. However, 20 units have already been - or are in the process of being - built.

Millennium 7 uses a space frame with aluminium-stressed skin panels to increase stiffness while the bodywork is constructed from glass fibre and weighs less than 40kg. The car’s overall weight is in the region on 700kg, although its cockpit is more generous to accommodate South Africans’ larger builds.

A vehicle that is certainly capable of carrying more than one average-sized South African is the Nissan Navara that has recently returned to the country after contesting the 2011 Dakar in South America.


The Navara driven by local legend Alfie Cox finished in 18th place overall and is one of many Hardbodys and Navaras built under the direction of former SA rally champ Glyn Hall in his Midrand workshop.

Hall has been involved in designing, building and developing Nissan off-road racing pick-up trucks for off-road racing in South Africa as well as the Dakar Rally and many other international events since 2001.

Automechanika South Africa runs from March 9 to 12, 2011 at the Johannesburg Expo Centre.

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