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Old-world charm

Preserving the history of automobiles is what the FRANSCHHOEK MOTOR MUSEUM is all about. Visiting the museum on the L’Ormarins Wine Farm is a charming experience.

De Soto (right) was a line of automobiles introduced by the Chrysler Corporation in 1928. It was named after Hernando de Soto, a Spanish conquistador who discovered the Mississippi River in North America. In 1932 a De Soto was raced across the USA and completed the trip in 10 days. Peter de Palo, a race car driver of the time, completed a 300 mile high-speed test of the De Soto in which he reached speeds of 80mph (135km/h).
De Soto (right) was a line of automobiles introduced by the Chrysler Corporation in 1928. It was named after Hernando de Soto, a Spanish conquistador who discovered the Mississippi River in North America. In 1932 a De Soto was raced across the USA and completed the trip in 10 days. Peter de Palo, a race car driver of the time, completed a 300 mile high-speed test of the De Soto in which he reached speeds of 80mph (135km/h).

RANGING FROM a 1898 Beeston motor tricycle to a 2003 Ferrari Enzo supercar, the Franschhoek Motor Museum offers visitors the opportunity to look back on more than 100 years of motoring history with its unique collection of automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles and related memorabilia. The museum’s picturesque setting on the historical wine farm L’Ormarins adds even more old-world charm and for a moment one might expect The Great Gatsby’s Jay and Daisy to make an appearance.

However, it is about more than visually portraying the evolution of the automobile through the decades. The museum’s main aim is to preserve this history. Its collection exceeds 220 vehicles and 80 of them are on view at any one time – 20 in each of the four de-humidified halls that were specifically designed and built for this purpose and cover a total floor area of 2 700m². The vehicles are all presented in chronological order: antique (built before 31 December 1904), veteran (built between, 1 January 1905 and 31 December 1918), vintage (built between 1 January 1919 and 31 December 1930), post-vintage (built between 1 January 1931 and 31 December 1945), post-45 (built between, 1 January 1946 and 31 December 1960) and post-60 (built after 1 January 1961).

Capitalising on the racing success achieved by Bernd Rosemeyer and Ernst von Delius in their Auto-Union Grand Prix racing cars, DKW introduced a sporty roadster with almost no weather protection. Thanks to its light weight it could achieve 85km/h compared to the more pedestrian models’ 80km/h. The body of this more expensive open top model was built in the same Chemnitz factory that produced the more expensive Horch.
Capitalising on the racing success achieved by Bernd Rosemeyer and Ernst von Delius in their Auto-Union Grand Prix racing cars, DKW introduced a sporty roadster with almost no weather protection. Thanks to its light weight it could achieve 85km/h compared to the more pedestrian models’ 80km/h. The body of this more expensive open top model was built in the same Chemnitz factory that produced the more expensive Horch.

A DAY TO REMEMBER

The museum received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence last year and is well worth a visit, whether you are a car enthusiast or not. Make a day of it – feast your eyes on the beautifully preserved vehicles and afterwards enjoy a feast of gastronomy at one of the town’s numerous acclaimed eateries.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm (last admittance 4pm), Saturdays and Sundays 10am to 4pm (last admittance 3pm). The museum is open on most public holidays, phone for confirmation.

Admission prices are R60 for adults, R50 for pensioners and R30 for children (3–12 years old). An on-site delicatessen offers refreshments as well as wines from the estate.

Contact: 021 874 9000 or fmm@fmm.co.za or visit www.fmm.co.za