A Middelburg farmer and his original 1928 Chevrolet recently hit the road in spectacular fashion to participate in the 46th annual Milligan Vintage Trial held in June.
Barney Marais in his red Chevrolet raced against 21 other participants to locations around the Eastern Cape, spanning more than 500 kilometers over four days.
Marais, a former General Motors (GM) dealer from Joubertina in the Eastern Cape, first laid eyes on the vintage Chevrolet five years ago at a GM dealership in Randburg and knew that he had to have it. However, the vehicle could not be sold to him as it formed part of the heritage of the Williams Hunt Group, but the group was kind enough to place it in his care, where it has been ever since.
Built at the Port Elizabeth plant 87 years ago, the Chevrolet was still in its original condition.
“When I got the vehicle it had been standing for more than 20 years. She was a beauty with 37 000 kilometers on the clock.”
Marais had the vehicle transported from Johannesburg to his farm. With just a few turns of the slinger the four cylinder three liter engine instinctively started to purr.
“The vehicle still has its original engine, I was so excited. The oil pressure was fine so I cleaned the engine, fixed the brakes, added water and filled it with petrol. She was good to go.”
Once the engine was sorted out Marais ordered tyres from America, changed the floor mats and gave the vehicle a good polish.
He said he had no doubt that his Chevrolet would be able to endure the Milligan Vintage Trial, because he had faith in the brand.
Marais finished in 7th position without any breakdown along the route.
“I knew I could rely on this vehicle and that it would not let me down during the race. The Chevrolet brand has a reputation for being reliable. It always has and it always will,” he said.
Also participating with a GM vintage in this year’s event were Herbert and Jean Dugmore from Kimberley in their 1957 Opel Kapitan.