The Vauxhall's Orange Grove Breakdown
This is complete rubbish. The nipple did indeed come off the lower end of the Vauxhall's clutch cable and the car was immobilised in Louis Botha Avenue, Orange Grove, on Saturday morning. I don't recall how we returned to Pretoria that day - Mam left us in the disabled car and went in search of assistance. After a time a tow-truck backed up to the car and it was towed away.
Next there was a huge problem of trying to locate the towed-away vauxhall. We traipsed up and down Louis Botha Avenue with Pap's recriminations growing ever more strident (how could you be so stupid as to lose the car etc), until the car was found. At some slightly later time a mechanic (a Hoolander) from Pretoria West was engaged to retrieve the car from Orange Grove and tow it to his house. I remember the mechanic's driveway gates were closed but not securd in any way, so that when he arrived and wanted to enter he just bumped the gates hard enough to open them, but not hard enough to make them bounce back from the open position. Pretty nifty trick, I thought.
I had been developing an increasingly antagonostic relationship with my father for at least two reasons: Firstly he was intolerably bombastic and controlling and secondly, I was becoming less willing to accept this authority with every passing day.
Blairgowrie Primary School
The school across the road became Blairgowrie Primay School. During its construction we had a woonderful time playing amongst the brick stacks and the earthworks. The school opened midway through the year that I was in Standard 3, that would be in July of 1959, and Standard 3 was the highest class at the time. This made me the one of the senior kids in the school for two and a half years running - standard 4 and only existed when we moved into them.
This made the transistion to high school doubly traumatic, after more than two years of being top dog in a benign environment I was brought down to the lowest, most powerless vitim in the very harsh Greenside High School. No fun at all.
FDR Primay School
I started school in 1955 at the Brooklyn Primary School while we were still in Pretoria two month after I turned 5. Annemiek started a year before me and was consequently about 4 months older when she started school. Whenwe moved to Johnnesburg the following year I was put into FDR Primary in Grade 2 and Annemiek was put into Standard 1.
We both stayed at FDR until mid-1959 when Blairgowrie Primary opened but, since the highest class there that year was Standard 3, Annemiek being in Standard 4 stayed at FDR through Standard 5 and from there changed to Roosevelt High. Greenside High did not exist yet.
However when I moved to a high school in 1962 Greenside had been open since 1961 but Annemiek stayed at Roosevelt, which was a far better school.
The incident with the donke front ey was a little different. I was the one sitting in the front seat when we hit the donkey and I watched it flying high into the air as the now wedge-shaped botten hurled it spinningly aloft. The collision would never have occurred if we'd been in a proper car, but that American rubbish had such poor brakes that heavily loaded and on a downhill it took a ridiculously long distance to stop.
I don't recall how it came about but a tow-truck hauled the wreck with us inside it to Prime Motors in Fordsburg where Pap's favourite motor mechanic cum panelbeater De Mataysse was give the repair job.
The donkey fell dead in the road and a car coming the other way drove over its legs - also unable to stop.
I very much doubt that there was any question of hiring a replacement car. Car rental was in its infancy back then, it was hugely expensive and the mileage we were planning was plenty. As I recall there was never a realistic possibilty of resuming the holiday either in a hired or repaired car.
The Vauxhall's V-belt
The first time we went to Doonside it was from Pretoria. We used the green Vauxhall Velox to get there. Just past the Majuba Pass between Volksrust and Newcastle the car's V-belt snapped and brought us to a standstill until an AA van which happened to be coming the other way helped us not only by supplying the correect belt, but fitting at the roadside as well.
This, as well as the crappy road accounted for our late arrival at Doonside, where Mrs Seaton was waiting up to check us in.
46 Standard Drive
The house at 46 Standard Drive was built by a Hollander, Mr Monster. It cost 4250 pounds.
There was the 'bottom shop' at Ist Avenue, and there was the 'top shops' where Tubby's Larder was soon to be built. The cafe at the bottom shops was supplied with bread from an Albany Bakery truck that had a pederast for a driver. He was always trying to lure us into the yard behind the cafe so he could show us his dick. If I understand correctly it is the son of that cafe owner who now owns the little shopping centre in Jukskei Park that has been black-listed by all the supermarket chains and will forever stand empty.
The Vauxhall Velox 1948 -1951. 2275cc 4-cylinder ohv
This was the first car Pap bought, apparently with profits from selling the Plumstead house. Our was dark green. The only breakdowns I recall was the V-belt breaking on our first trip to Doonside which must have been in April of 1956. Later that year we moved to Johannesburg. While house-hunting the clutch cable's end nipple came off the cable while we were stopped in Louis Botha Avenue, rendering the clutch, and hence the car, inoperative.
The Willys. 1952 - 1957 Ours was Brown
On the contrary, I can remember plenty of problems with this car. In one instance it cam back from the workshop with a box of replaced gearbox parts in the boot. Then there was the time the clutch was worn out. I remember Pap accusing Mam of 'slipping' the clutch. I didn't know what that was so I asked her and she told me it was what we call riding the clutch on an up-slope rather than holding the car from rolling back by using the brakes. I watched her closely after that.
It didn't say so on the back but this (left below) was probably a Willys Aero, built from 1952 to 1955 by Kaiser-Willys Corporation in Toledo, Ohio. The one below is white, ours was a dull asshole brown.
Pap used to have client that ran a second hand car lot a little way down Fox Street called Myers Motors, and that's where he went for his cars. After suffering the Willys for some time he traded it back to this shark and bought a Nash Rambler, also in two-tone paint as below. but the green and white reversed. I don't recall any major problems with this car and he kept it until he bought a red Ford Fairlane 500 (the Donkey Masher). Then, when he came into some unexpected wealth he bought a new Valiant VIP and a Hillman Imp from Imperial Motors on the same day.
The Nash Rambler.
Our was also two-tone but the reverse of that shown. This car was fitted with an overdrive unit behind the gearbox. The overdrive, when engaged, drove the propshaft at higher-than-engine rpm by using a planetary gear system. To reverse the car the overdrive had to be manually disengaged by pulling a knob on the end of a cable, something mam had a problem with.
The Fairlane 500. 351cu in V8.
Ours was fire-engine red. This was the car that collided with the donkey. Lots of power but sadly lacking effective brakes.
The Fiat 500.
500cc, two cylinder, air-cooled. Less power than many motorcycles. Not a recipe for success. This car was bought from a local yokel a block away for the sole purpose of transporting Ireen to Greenside Primary School. Why? When there was a perfectly good school right across the road?
Mam had this obsession about getting us into school in the year we turned six, whereas the schools were only obliged to accept you in the year you turned seven - something about getting a headstart in life, maybe.
Since Blairgowrie Primary (across the road) was full and only prepared to accept Ireen the following year, a car had to be purchased to transport her to distant Greenside Primary for the first year.
I don't recall the specific problems with this little beast, but they were legion, with overheating probably near the top of the list.
The Valiant VIP.
Ours was also green but with black vinyl on top. A six-cylinder engine set at a slope to achieve a lower profile. This car had a huge rear-end smash in Pretoria in about 1976.
Another Ford Fairlane
Pap bought this gas-guzzler to celebrate the fuel crisis of 1975. His was dark brown. He used this car while living at Wilde Amandel Street. Ireen, who was in a Socialist phase, was reluctant to be taken to Roosevelt High in it, or at least to be seen in it.
Ford Granada Ghia
1984 Mercedes Benz 380 SE
Although this car was several years old it had done a very low mileage. This was the first 'proper' car he ever owned, He wondered aloud how he ever put up with all that American junk. It was also his last car. I took it to a dealer for disposal after his death in 2008.
When I bought my 420 SE in 1991 he was so overcome with envy that I prevailed upon my friend Andre to find him something similar. Andre came up with this within a few days and I bought it immediately. There were sundry problems arising mostly from it being not often driven, which detracted from his pleasure of ownership initially, but these cleared up.
The Hillman Imp 1300cc Coventry Climax OHC.
Mam's was sky blue. It had an all-aluminium OHC engine that did not forgive abuse.
One time I went gallivanting in Roodepoort with this car when the carbon-ring clutch release bearing failed. I got the car home in good order and set about changing the release bearing myself - which required the removal of the rear cross-member of the body as well as the engine.
The last thing to be re-assembled was the clutch slave cylinder, secured by two bolts located right above the actuator's slot in the bell-housing. It was easy to drop the nut of the last bolt to be refitted into the bell-housing, requiring removal of the engine again to retrieve it.
After the Hillman Imp Mam had one of these for a while. Possibly this is a car she bought with her Fidelity Guards earnings. She bought the Toyota below before moving to Maroela.
This was Mam's last car. Pap sold it after her death in 2003. Her's was was the colour of the background of this box
My Renault Caravelle
The Renault Caravelle I swopped for a hot-rod that I built but no pictures of which no pictures survive.had a detachable hardtop but no soft top as shown here.
Mine was yellow and White. Toughest car I ever owned. The Taunus 17M Station Wagon I bought ifor R50. One time I fetched a complete transmission for the Caravelle in load area. Something moved and fell against the curved rear side-window and cracked it. I drove this car from Hekpoort to Blairgowrie(about 60km) with the oil take-up tube lying disconnected in the bottom of the sump. One crankshaft bigend bearing needed replacement. Otherwise no problem.
Jaguar Mk2 3.4
My first Jaguar. It started off with a manual gearbox but a condition of the acquisition deal was that I'd reliquish the manual gearbox and accept an automatic transmission in its place. I conveted the car to automatic but quite soon the 3-speed transmission became locked in 2nd gear, requiring yet another gearbox change.
Jaguar Mk2 3.8
Gold with wire-wheels and white leather interior. This was my dream car. When pushed to 160km/h it had a strange and disconcerting tendency to abruptly lose all oil pressure.
I had two of these little workhorses. A green Austin and a grey Morris, which I then painted red
Fiat 124 S/W
A family man's car.
Ford Cortina Mk4 S/W
I had two of these - a 1978 2.0L and later a 1981 3.0L
1984 Mercedes Benz 280E
My first Mercedes. A mediocre car a best. Mine was a goldish colour called Chanpagne.
1986 Mercedes Benz 420SE
My second and last Merc. One of the best cars ever to roam the planet. Mine was fire-engine red with garish after-market wheels.
My first Porche. A magnificent car in all respects. Mine was chocolate brown
Porche 911 Carrera
My second and last Porche. An awkward little car - grossly overrated
On the 15th April 1965 at 8:05pm I was knocked off my bicycle on the corner of Standard Drive and Oban Avenue Blairgowrie. I was travelling northward to pay a visit my girlfriend at No. 108 Standard Drive when a Ford Galaxy coming the other way turned to his right, (my left) across my path. The right-side headlamp area hit me on the right thigh and smashed the bone into many pieces. Other than the leg I just had some bruising and abrasions from hitting the road. The bicycle was totally destroyed.
I spent the next two months in traction in Ward 4 of the JJohannesburg General Hospital and was then sent home to spend six weeks in a hip spica cast. I missed a term and a half of school work but, against all expectations, (narrowly) passed matric the following year. Due to primitive techniques and a spot of negligence my right leg healed somewhat shorter than my left. That stopped me from running, but not much else.