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Britse legendes kry nuwe lewe

Pretorianer restoureer ou Britse klassieke motors.

Deur Daantjie Badenhorst.

In die eerste drie en ‘n half dekades sedert die einde van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog het Britse motorvervaardigers groot sukses behaal met hul bekostigbare sportmotors wat wêreldwyd groot aftrek gekry het en veral in die Verenigde State van Amerika uiters gewild geword het.

Hul gewildheid het om ‘n paar redes afgeneem: die samesmelting van British Motor Corporation en Leyland Motor Corporation het beteken dat MG en Triumph, wat voorheen mededingers was, nou deel van dieselfde stal geword het, en dat die reeks van die maatskappy wat as British Leyland bekend sou staan, heeltemal te groot geword het. Om sake te vererger, het die Amerikaanse regering maatreëls ingestel wat uitlaatgasse beperk het en daarom die motors se kraglewering nadelig beïnvloed het, asook veiligheidsregulasies wat die motors se voorkoms bederf het. Daarby is afslaankapmotors ‘n tyd lank verbied.

Diegene wat steeds lief is vir hierdie tipe Britse motors het tot dusver gesukkel om hul motors behoorlik in stand te hou of te laat restoureer, maar gelukkig is daar ‘n oplossing vir dié wat in of naby Pretoria woon. Jaco van Vuuren het ‘n Triumph Chicane, ‘n weergawe van die 2000/2500 Merk 2 wat vir Suid-Afrika ontwikkel is, besit toe hy getroud is, en hy kon niemand kry wat die motor vir hom kon herstel nie, en daarom het hy besluit om dit self te doen. Hy het daarna eers begin om as ‘n stokperdjie te doen, maar omtrent in 1992 het hy “Triumphs for Africa” gestig en hy voer deesdae ‘n bestaan daarmee. Hy het sedertdien al verskeie Britse motors in sy werkswinkel gehad, onder meer Mini’s, Wolseley’s, Triumphs en selfs ‘n Jaguar E-Type of twee.

Sy grootste probleem met onderdele tot dusver was om ‘n invoerpermit te kry. Volgens Jaco is sekere onderdele feitlik onmoontlik om in die hande te kry, en moet hy nou en dan self daarvan maak, onder meer enjinkappe en bagasiebakdeksels van veselglas. Die tydperk waaraan hy aan elke motor werk, hang af van die betrokke klank se finansiële posisie. Soms duur dit maande voordat hy ‘n projek voltooi, maar daar is altyd ‘n aantal motors waaraan hy besig is om te werk. Die werk wat aan die motors verrig word, hang ook soms van die klant se behoeftes af.

Een motor waarvan daar minstens drie was toe MotorPlus besoek by Triumphs for Africa afgelê het, was die baie gewilde Triumph Spitfire, waarvan hy al baie gerestoureer het. Nie alle eienaars wil hul motors noodwendig oorspronklik hê nie, en daarom het dit al gebeur dat die Nissan 1400-bakkie se enjin en ratkas vir ‘n paar van hulle ingebou is. Daar was egter ‘n oorspronklike Spitfite Merk 3 wat in 1969 vervaardig is en wat baie naby aan voltooi was. Die motor was, ten tyde van ons besoek, byna gereed vir sy padwaardigheidsertifikaat, maar klein stukkies afwerking, soos die ruitveërs, rubbers vir die vensters en algehele binneafwerking het nog aandag nodig gehad.

Die Triumph GT 6 was ‘n sessilinderweergawe van die Spitfire, maar met ‘n luikrug en dieselfde enjin as die 2000 sedan. Jaco is tans besig met ‘n Merk 2, wat hy dink in omtrent 1971 vervaardig is. Die Merk 2 kan van die Merk 1, wat in 1966 bekendgestel is, onderskei word deur middel van die voorste stamper wat hoër gemonteer is om aan veiligheidsveriestes te voldoen, asook die wieldoppe wat na Rostyle-wiele gelyk het, valse wielmoere bevat het en ook op modelle soos die 2,5 PI, die TR 5, die Vitesse en die Chicane gebruik is. Die Merk 2 waarmee Jaco tans besig is, is nie ver van voltooi af nie, maar daar is nog roeskolle wat herstel moet word en die rubbers van die vensters moet ook nog aandag kry. Sover hy weet, is daar 22 GT6’e in Suid-Afrika. Dié modelreeks is nooit in Suid-Afrika bekendgestel nie.

In 1965 is die Triumph 1300 internasionaal bekendgestel, maar Suid-Afrika moes tot 1968 wag totdat hy hier op die mark gekom het. Teen daardie tyd is ‘n 1,5 liter-enjin ontwikkel en Suid-Afrika was die eerste land ter wêreld wat hierdie enjin, eerder as die 1300, gebruik het. Die 1500 was nie ‘n sukses in Suid-Afrika nie, maar die enjin is later oorsee in sy opvolgers, die Toledo en die Dolomite, gebruik, asook in die Spitfire 1500 en die laaste MG Midget. Wat die Triumph 1500 nog neer merkwaardig gemaak het, was die feit dat hy voorwielaandrywing gehad het.

Jaco is tans besig om ‘n 1500 te restoureer, maar dit sal nog lank duur voordat die motor voltooi is. Jaco werk egter op die oomblik nie net aan Triumphs nie. Een motor wat baie gewild aan albei kante van die Atlantiese Oseaan was maar nie gereeld in Suid-Afrika gesien word nie, is die oorspronklike Lotus Elan. Hy is tans besig om aan ‘n S4-afslaankap wat, volgens hom, ongeveer in 1972 vervaardig is. Dié motor is ‘n pragtige Franse blou kleur en is nog in ‘n hoofsaaklik onberispelike toestand, maar die Weber 40-vergassers waarmee hy oorspronklik toegerus word, het aandag nodig aangesien daar probleme met die petrolpomp-verstelling is.

Daar is min van hierdie motors in ‘n oorspronklike toestand in Suid-Afrika. Benewens die Britse motors wat Jaco tans restoureer, is hy ook besig met sy eie 1981 Ferrari Mondial, wat meganies dieselfde as die destydse 308 GTB en GTS was maar vier sitplekke gehad het. Hoewel die motor oorspronklik is, het hy besluit om die allooiwiele te vervang. Die rede hiervoor is dat die bande wat vir die oorspronklike allooiwiele ontwikkel is, metriese groottes het en dat dit feitlik onverkrygbaar in Suid-Afrika is.

Hy sê egter dat hy die oorspronklike wiele sal hou vir die dag wanneer hy dalk die motor verkoop. Volgens Jaco is daar tog ‘n paar skaars modelle waaraan hy graag sou wou werk, naamlik die Triumh Roadster, wat net na die einde van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog vervaardig is en die TR-reeks voorafgegaan het, asook die Mayflower. Hierdie model was die voorganger van die Herald, wat aanstaande jaar sestig jaar oud word.

 

 

 

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