26 Jun GLORY IN THE GLOOM
In the days leading up to the increasingly popular annual Father’s Day celebration at the Franschhoek Motor Museum, the appropriate words in a Barbra Streisand song from the 1964 movie Funny Girl often sprang to mind – “Don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade”. Sadly, the weather gods were not of the same mind set as the forecasts in the build-up to Sunday 19 June steadily got worse and, on the day, proved, for once, to be accurate. It did not rain – it poured, relentlessly, all day. But the inclement conditions failed to dampen the spirits of the visitors as they (excuse the pun) poured through the museum’s gates in their hundreds to celebrate Father’s Day. Dads entered for free.
Close to 1400 tickets were sold pre-event for the morning and afternoon sessions, with on-the-day visitors also being accommodated. The rain, which began the night before in the Franschhoek Valley, brought out all manner of protective clothing and umbrellas as visitors made their way from the car parks to the reception area and the display halls. Nevertheless, everyone was in good spirits and determined to enjoy the outing regardless of the conditions.
In the days before the event, the museum’s workshop staff had been busy preparing no less than 47 vehicles, to be paraded around the museum’s quadrant area in five-minute demonstration runs. Drivers Lorenzo Farella, Deon de Waal, Donnie Tarental, Shawn Botha, Dickon Daggitt and Derek Hulse took turns in driving the vehicles in what were adverse conditions, especially when in the open-topped and sports/racing cars. The vehicles ranged from a 1909 Le Zebra to a 2010 Ferrari 599 GTO but with a surprise inclusion of the mammoth new tri-axle all-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6. Sensibly, the ex-Jody Scheckter Tyrrell 007/1 Formula One car was not driven around, but the engine was started and throttle-blipped, the noise booming around the display hall to the unbridled delight of everyone around. Heavy mist and even stronger rainfall forced a shortened afternoon driving session but more engine fire-ups took place, bringing broad smiles to everyone’s faces. Museum curator Wayne Harley was hoping to ride a few motorcycles around the quadrant but conditions were too treacherous.
In-between visiting the four display halls, visitors sought refuge under the giant marquee at the end of the quadrant where food and refreshments were being served on a non-stop basis and the vehicles could best be seen driving around. FMM’s famed Deli was busy in the reception area serving hot beverages. Wine-tasting was also on offer. Apart from the cars, fine art prints by famous UK motoring artist Nicholas Watts were on view and for sale. A planned model aircraft flying demonstration had to be cancelled, but the planes were on display.
While the weather affected the demonstrations and hampered freedom of movement for all the visitors, the FMM Father’s Day Special was extremely well attended in the circumstances and the overall proceedings enjoyed by everyone. Hopefully next year the weather gods will listen to Barbra’s lyrics… MM