A moderate-to-mild ramble about an obsession with vintage cars…
I started appreciating cars when I was a kid. My grandfather drove a Mercedes Benz W123. I loved the way it made me feel ‘extra little’ sitting on the broad backseat surrounded by a soft leather interior and wood finishes – we’d go almost anywhere and there would be sweets. It was a beautiful machine.
I love spotting vintage cars. It’s so easy to just go around and not notice little bits of magic that present themselves while we make our way through every day life. Whenever I see one it reminds me to just pause for a bit and be present. It’s exciting because you never know what you might see and where it’ll pop up.
In my mind, I’d imagine that people who own vintage cars probably feel similarly about them as what I do. There’s something to be said about appreciating a possession and looking after it. It takes effort, consistency and care to maintain a vintage car – an approach that can be applied to other areas of our lives too.
When it comes to having a favourite vintage car – I don’t have one. I enjoy the Citroën 2CV – purely because I never thought I’d find one in Cape Town, but I have! I spotted one in red and one in cream at different times, but in the same street. That’s just cheeky. I’m also partial to a Renault R5, but that’s just out of pure sentimentality.
A year ago, I had a smash and grab on the N2 while in peak traffic on my way to work. Two guys came up to my car, shattered the front window, took my handbag and ran off. It happened really quickly. For a while I didn’t want to drive and cars (as a concept) just annoyed me. Spotting these vintage cars is also just my way to stop people from taking the joy out of something that makes me happy. It’s been good for me in that way: I’m reminded to stay present and that finding happiness is always an option. Nice and cheesy, but sometimes cheese is necessary.
One of the aspects of vintage car spotting I enjoy most is the sort of sub-culture that exists around it. On Instagram in particular – it’s pretty rad knowing there are a bunch of other people out there being as into these four-wheeled bullets. I like that we all get pretty psyched about rare finds and on occasion will even post a blurry pic if the find is really too good to keep a secret.
Also read: Five coolest vintage cars
If you’re in Cape Town there are so many vintage cars to be spotted. In Woodstock there are workshops where old school Jaguars get repaired and park-off on the pavement – a proper treat. The CBD is booming, as well as Sea Point, Bo-Kaap, Salt River, Gardens, Walmer Estate… Basically, everywhere! You just have to keep your eyes open for wonderful surprises.