Image supplied by The Classic Car Show
An all-time Nasrec Expo Centre record crowd showed up for The Classic Car Show on Sunday July 9. An unprecedented 88 000 people pulled in to Nasrec, south-west of Johannesburg, to see an expo centre packed with classic cars from the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and a huge exhibition of the power of modern classics in the gigantic German versus Jap segment.
Show organiser Paulo Calisto said he was stunned by the turnout for the show, by far the biggest one-day number of visitors that had ever been seen at the Nasrec Expo Centre. It out-numbered any one-day records set before, including that of The Rand Show.
“Our recorded visitors for July 9, 2023 match those for the best-attended soccer game during the 2010 World Cup at the FNB Stadium, which is just down the road in the Nasrec area. That was for a world-wide event featuring the world’s most popular sport. To think we managed to nearly surpass the soccer stadium’s capacity of 90 000 with a show for cars that you can actually drive on the road speaks volume for the power of petrol-head enthusiasm!"
The show was officially advertised as running between 8 am and 4 pm, and as the 4 pm deadline approached there were still queues of cars in the roads leading to Nasrec hoping to attend the show.
“It was a shame that we actually had to turn some people away at 4 pm,“
“But the huge crowd was very well behaved, there were no reported incidents, and we were also very proud of the fact that we didn’t run out of food and drinks!”
Calisto said the idea of combining the more modern classics from the likes of Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche with American muscle cars and traditional classics from Germany, Japan, England, Italy and France was the reason for the show’s success.
“I wanted to re-kindle the enthusiasm for cars amongst the younger generation. Us older guys had that when we grew up, as we latched onto the passion our parents had for old Ford Cortinas, Minis, Alfas, Chev Camaros, Mustangs, MGs and similar classics."
“Now the younger adults have continued this passion with cars like Volkswagen Golfs, Polos, Toyota Corollas, Conquests, Citi Golfs, BMW 3-Series, and Audi A3s."
“I think it’s an extremely positive sign that all this passion is being channelled into a healthy pass time, like driving cars that have been personalised with dropped suspensions, wide wheels, cool paint and hot turbocharged engines. With so many pitfalls awaiting youngsters today, such as drug and alcohol indulgence, channelling that energy into something as innocent as a modified car is so refreshing.”
Calisto was gratified that so many families formed part of the huge crowd, indicating that petrol-head enthusiasm is definitely a positive family-bonding experience.
“We have seen fathers and sons arrive in convoys of up to three cars in our German versus Jap show segment. There is nothing more bonding than working on a car in the home workshop with your sons or daughters. Again, I am always stunned at the interest shown in the cars by the younger women, and how involved they are in the whole petrol-head experience.”
Apart from the attendance figures, Calisto was also overwhelmed with the car entries. He recorded a total of 450 classics, and 1 500 entries in the German versus Japan segment. Some of the cars in the Show category inside Hall 5 were truly works of art, with superlative custom paint schemes, lowered suspension systems, amazingly detailed engines, and aftermarket bodywork.
Calisto paid tribute to the SouthSide Crew, who took care of many of the logistics in organising an excellent German versus Jap event, that included competitions for car owners showing off their prized steeds, and members of the public, who could vote for their favourite car on display.
The classics held their own with impressively interesting cars, notably some trick Porsche 911s, including a special “Dakar” replica commemorating the famous Porsche 911 victory in the 1984 Dakar Rally. Brooding muscle cars included a mean Dodge Charger, a classic mid-1960s Pontiac GTO (arguably THE original muscle car) and a humble looking Ford Anglia with a 300 kW Nissan turbocharged engine installed. The number plate on this car proclaimed it to be “Angrier”!
And as predicted, Ford Cortinas were well in attendance, in this, their 60th anniversary year.
Good news for this revival of the petrol-head movement is that Paulo Calisto is already formulating plans to make next year’s show a two day event!