Oily Rag Run

The Crankhandle Club’s 7th Oily Rag Run for unrestored cars built before 1966 took place on Sunday 22 November. Eighteen vehicles took part, completing a 112-km scenic route starting and finishing at FMM, which for the first time included a couple of laps of the museum’s PlaasPad test circuit. Coffee and muffins were served on the stoep while judging took place, and then at 09h30 entrants set off in weather that was cool at first but brightened as the day progressed.

Entries comprised a 1911 Sunbeam (John Ryall/Roddy Mills), 1928 Austin 16 (Len Ward/Alan Russouw), 1930 Graham-Paige Rob & Maryke Middelmann), 1932 Lagonda (Dave Alexander/Karl Reitz), FMM’s 1936 Ford V8 Sedan (Mike & Wendy Monk), 1937 Armstrong-Siddeley (Brian & Barbara Pritchard), FMM’s 1938 DKW Roadster (Donny Tarentaal/Juliana Bock), 1947 MG TC (Alex & Mel Stewart), 1948 Chevrolet (Hilton Franz/Ceri Prenter), 1954 GMC Pick-up (Di Dugmore/Tilly Reitz), 1958 Jaguar Mk.1 (Stephen La Gange/Leal Kleingeld), 1960 Porsche 356 (Matthew Kreeve/Conrad Langeveldt), 1964 Mini Countryman (Rodney Green/Natalia Shvedchikova), FMM’s 1964 Pontiac Strato Chief (Wenstley Wicomb), and 1964 Mercedes-Benz 200 (Uwe Swoboda). Three other post-1966 were admitted due to their originality, namely 1968 Fiat 124 Coupé (Nigel Payne/Sandy Brice), 1969 Jaguar e-Type (Roger & Lorraine Wood) and 1971 Alfa Romeo Berlina (Tony Bruton).

Together with 20 supporters’ cars, mostly classics, all participants, many in period dress, were able to enjoy the drive and scenery in practically ideal conditions. The route travelled over the Helshoogte Pass to Stellenbosch, then on to Klapmuts before turning towards Suid Agter Paarl. Passing by Fairview and the Spice Route, cars turned right onto the R44 before turning left along the R312 towards Durbanville then left onto the R304. After crossing the N1, cars turned left back towards Klapmuts before making their way back to FMM along the road past Babylonstoren.

Along the route the convoy attracted plenty of enthusiastic attention from passers-by, but it was not a good day for FMM. The 1936 Ford overcame some fuel starvation problems before oil leaking from the steering box began spilling onto the V8’s exhaust manifold – remember, these cars are unrestored – causing smoke, so to prevent any possibility of a fire the car was withdrawn and trailered back to base. The DKW also began suffering with fuel problems and was forced to pull out of the run.

Just after midday, the prizegiving took place after a picnic lunch on FMM’s lawns in the Quadrant. The oldest vehicle was a 1911 Sunbeam entered by John Ryall, who received the event’s main prize, while the Skorokoro Trophy for the best Oily Rag car as voted for by competitors and supporters, went to Dave Alexander’s 1932 Lagonda. The only all female crew of Di Dugmore and Tilly Reitz were also rewarded. Graeme Hurst and Peter Hills received the Best Dressed prize.

Sponsors for this popular annual event were the Franschhoek Motor Museum and classic car specialists Crossley & Webb, together with a new sponsor Ravenol Motor Oil. Thanks go to Colin Greyvensteyn for organising the Run, Mike & Wendy Monk for the route, Dickon Daggitt and Derek Hulse for handling the judging, Freddi Stafford of 307 Lubricants for donating the prizes, Wayne Harley for making PlaasPad available, Magdaleen Wepener and the FMM Deli staff for all the catering, and to FMM’s Lorenzo Farella and JP du Plessis and C&W’s Andrew Sparg for breakdown services.