Franschhoek Motor Museum | July Newsletter

Our July newsletter featuring the following articles: Bowtie Centenary, Madiba’s Bmw Funds Libraries, Exotic Visit, Sa Star At Goodwood, Musings For Charity, Exhaust blips, FMM General Info

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In 1913, Chevrolet co-founder William C Durant introduced the signature Chevy bowtie on the 1914 Chevrolet H-2 Royal Mail and the H-4 Baby Grand, centred at the front of both models. One hundred years on, the bowtie has adorned 215 million Chevrolets but the details surrounding its origin are still uncertain. Stories range from Durant being inspired by the wallpaper design in a Parisian hotel to a newspaper advertisement he saw while vacationing in Hot Springs, Virginia. Durant’s daughter and widow have offered alternative explanations.

According to daughter Margery in her 1929 book My Father, Durant sometimes doodled nameplate designs on pieces of paper at the dinner table. “I think it was between the soup and the fried chicken one night that he sketched out the design that is used on the Chevrolet car to this day,” she wrote. But in a 1968 interview, Durant’s widow, Catherine, said the bowtie design originated from a Hot Springs vacation in 1912. While reading a newspaper in their hotel room, Durant spotted a design and exclaimed, “I think this would be a very good emblem for the Chevrolet.” Unfortunately, Mrs Durant never clarified what the motif was or how it was used.

But that nugget of information inspired Ken Kaufmann, historian and editor of The Chevrolet Review, to search out its validity. In a 1911 edition of The Constitution newspaper, published in Atlanta, an advertisement appeared from the Southern Compressed Coal Company for Coalettes, a refined fuel product for fires. The Coalettes logo, as published in the ad, had a slanted bowtie form, very similar to the shape that would soon become the Chevrolet icon. Did Durant and his wife see the same ad – or one similar – the following year a few states to the north? The date of the paper Kaufmann found was just nine days after the incorporation of the Chevrolet Motor Co. The first use of the bowtie by Chevrolet appeared in the October 2, 1913 edition of The Washington Post with the words “Look for this nameplate” above the symbol. MM


The E67 BMW 760Li Security Edition that was Madiba’s official transport during his HIV/Aids campaign undertaken between 2004 and 2009 has now been purchased by FMM. The presidential office returned the car to BMW South Africa at the end of its service life – it has less than 50 000 km on the odo – and it has since been fully restored and in fully operational condition. BMW donated the car to the 46664 Mandela Day School Library Project and the proceeds of the sale are to be used for supplying fully-stocked container libraries to disadvantaged schools.

Among the car’s many security features are a high-strength floorpan, 57 mm-thick bullet-proof glass, an emergency exit through the windscreen, an on-board fire-extinguishing system, sat-nav plus a special communications system with GPS tracking, strobes, sirens and push-button connection to police and emergency centres. A full write-up and driving impressions of the car appeared in the February 2013 issue of CAR magazine and the vehicle is currently on display at the museum. MM


While awaiting to attend a business function in Franschhoek, two visiting representatives of Aston Martin were given a surprise treat by their host who arranged a visit and tour of the museum during their stopover. The visit resulted in an Aston Martin Rapide, DB9 and a McLaren MP4-12C appearing in the parking lot much to the pleasure of other visitors to the museum complex. KR


Taking the honour of honours amongst a full house of legendary drivers, Capetonian Giniel de Villiers was honoured with the Driver’s Award at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. De Villiers (41) drove his Dakar Racing Toyota Hilux on hot laps on the 4 km Goodwood forest stage and was chosen by marshals and the Clerk of the Course as the most exciting driver on the weekend. Giniel was fourth fastest of all contenders on the forest stage and was only beaten by three World Rally Championship (WRC) cars. “The guys really liked the bakkie,” says Giniel of the spectators and the handful of co-drivers lucky enough to make it into the Hilux. “I had the Hilux on two wheels on Friday and I guess that people really enjoyed that.”

While the Hilux conquered the famed forest stage, Toyota showcased its rich racing heritage on tarmac as well. Featured amongst the line-up of great racing cars and drivers were all three recent generations of Toyota’s works Le Mans racers, notably the TS030 Hybrid that finished 2nd in this year’s gruelling 24-hour race. Drivers Alex Wurz and Anthony Davidson were on hand to pilot this racing car up the famed slopes of Goodwood. Other Toyota legends included the GT-One Le Mans car of 1998 and 1999 that was reunited with drivers Martin Brundle and Emanuel Collard, several racing Celica models, the last works-entered Toyota Corolla WRC and a classic AE86.

“The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an amazing show,” says Giniel “So many great and historic racing cars and drivers are on hand and the atmosphere is incredible. If you love cars, you have to attend this festival at least once in your life.” It was the 20th time that this legendary event was held in England and an estimated 150 000 people attended the festival. MM


Well known classic car collector Dave Lyons has just produced an A3-sized hardcover book entitled ‘Musings of a Million Miler’ that is a mainly pictorial essay of 25 vehicles in his collection. The eclectic mix ranges from a 1927 Austin 7 Bread van to a 1973 Alfa Romeo 1600 Zagato and includes vintage cars, muscle cars, exotics and the odd rarity, with each described in brief detail. The photographs were taken by Elmer van Zyl in and around Dave’s Hout Bay manor house reflect the superb condition of the vehicles. A book launch will take place 15h00, at Dave’s home on Saturday 17 August. The book costs R375 plus R25 p&p and proceeds from the sale will be shared amongst six charities. MM

For more details contact Elmer at or phone 082 8855 125.



AUGUST 4: POMC Cars in the Park, Zwartkops –

AUGUST 8: Old Auto Club Cars in the Park, Welkom

AUGUST 8: Free State Cars in the Park, Pasteur Ave, Bloemfontein

AUGUST 14-17: SAVVA National Car & Bike Tour

AUGUST 17: Historic racing, Kyalami –,.za

AUGUST 31: National Super Series, Zwartkops –

SEPTEMBER 26-28: SAVVA National Tour, Fouriesberg –

(Clubs are invited to send details of upcoming events to for inclusion in Exhaust Blips.)



The Franschhoek Motor Museum is situated on the L’Ormarins Estate along the R45 in the Franschhoek Valley in the Western Cape. The opening hours are:

Monday to Friday 10h00 to 17h00 (last admittance 16h00),

Saturday and Sunday 10h00 to 16h00 (last admittance 15h00),

and the museum is open on most public holidays.

Admission prices are R60 adults, R50 pensioners, R30 children. An on-site delicatessen offers refreshments and tasting of L’Ormarins estate wines is also available. MM