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2014-04-09 10:41

CLASSIC CAR BATTLE: Robert van Zyl drives will race his 87-year-old Bugatti Type 37 at the 2014 aguar Simola Hill-climb Classic Car Friday on May 16. Image: Motorpress


The Simola Hillclimb will return to Knysna in 2014. Veteran competitors, including Des Gutzeit and Geoff Mortimer, share their views on what it takes to win the event.

A number of special septuagenarians will compete in the 2014 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb  Classic Car Friday event which takes place in Knysna on May 16.

True motoring enthusiasts find old motorcars intriguing and seeing one being driven in competition against the clock and jousting with its peers is a thrilling combination.


The oldest car in the 2014 event is an 87-year-old Bugatti to be driven by Robert van Zyl. What makes this combination even more unique is that the driver, at 77, is only 10 years younger than the car.

A total of 290 Type 37 Bugatti rolled out of Ettore Bugatti’s factory in Molsheim, France from 1925 – 1930. Powered by a four-cylinder 1.5-litre  engine mated to a four-speed manual, the Type 37 could reach a top speed of 145km/h. In was regarded as one of the best handling cars due to weighing only 720kg.

Roy Jones (75) will race another iconic pre-war car- a 1935 Riley TT Sprite replica. The car (and several replicas) were built in 1930s take part in Tourist Trophy races.

David Catlin (Ferrari P4) and Mervyn Corbishly (1960 MGA), both aged 74, will also be competing in the Classic Car Friday race.

Catlin Ferrari P4 though a replica, is powered by a 4.8-litre Ferrari V12 engine. Corbishly’s 1960 MGA is powered by a four-cylinder 1.6 motor, typical of British sports cars of the 1960s.


Ashley Ellis, who turns 72-years-old in June, will race his 1973 Jaguar XJ6. It might not look like it from the outside but the 1450kg car has 179kW on tap.

Fred Phillips will drive his immaculate 1959 Austin Healey 3000. Lew Baker (70), who built Tiga sports cars in South Africa during the 1980, will race a British-built Mallock Mark 6 powered by a 1.6 Ford Kent engine.

Although the car dates back to 1967, it only made its competition debut at the Knysna Hill-climb in 2012.

Peter Galeis will be behind the wheel of a wood-chassis Marco. Powering the low-slung car is a Ford 3.0 Essex V6 which was in production for a remarkably long period stretching from 1966 to 2000.

For more information visit www.speedfestival.co.za.
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