Boy racer’s dream car on show
(George Jan 2018) - The 22nd George Old Car Show, driven by Oakhurst Insurance Company takes place on 10 – 11 February 2018.
Robert Huysamen of Bellville’s Renault R8 Gordini is one of the special vehicles that will be on show.
“People who grew up during the 60s and 70s when the R8 Gordini was still new, will remember the iconic little car that was every boy racer’s dream,” said Robert.
The Renault R8 Gordini was manufactured as a race car in France between 1964 and 1970, but assembled all over the world, including at Rosslyn in Pretoria and in East London. Of the 11 607 which were manufactured, 311 found their way to South Africa.
“The R8 Gordini was very popular and many young, warm blooded men would have liked to own one, but the price was prohibitive. At the time the R8 Gordini cost R1 000 more than the regular Renault R8. If I remember correctly, the R8 Gordini cost R2 300, which was a lot of money at the time!”
The R8 Gordini was advanced for its time. Among other features, it had a 1255 cc engine that could develop 77 kW at 6750 rpm, a 5-speed gearbox, disc brakes on all four wheels, four shock absorbers at the back, and two fuel tanks.
“The R8 Gordini was built as a racing car. It was very competitive because it was a small, light vehicle with a very eager engine and excellent road holding qualities.”
The small French car was strong competition for bigger cars all over the world. Many of South Africa’s best racing drivers gained prominence behind the wheel of the R8 Gordini, including SA’s F1 champion Jody Scheckter, as well as Scamp Porter, Hennie Mostert and Geoff Mortimer, to name a few. “The R8 Gordini became famous in al motorsport classes across the globe.”
Among other highlights, it was winner in Tour de Course for three consecutive years, the winner in a number of the annual 9-hour endurances races at Kyalami, and many other races all over South Africa and the world. “The R8 Gordini is still being used in classic races globally, including the legendary Monte Carlo rallies.”
According to Robert, the popular collector’s item is relatively scarce. “Only a few found their way to South Africa, and quite a few were worn out as racing cars. Today, one in a relatively good condition, will cost about R300 000.”
He loves his 1971 model R8 Gordini, which he acquired in 2011. “I am the second owner. The R8 Gordini is like a drug – it really gets under your skin!”
The 2018 George Old Car Show takes place at PW Botha College. Special day and week-end entrance tickets are available online at a link on the website www.scocc.co.za