All photos by Mike Schmucker @ Studio88 Photography and Aircooled Wonders.
Ever since the wheel first appeared on chariots 3200 BC, man has been obsessed with the ability to travel distances in less time than ever imaginable. This need to travel faster and faster is inevitable , with names like Sir Malcolm Campbell, Craig Breedlove, Burt Munro, Andy Green, Richard Noble and many more in the record books, all pushing the limits of man and machine. These speed capsules driven by visionary men would have no meaning if there wasn’t the perfect surface to run them on. Bonneville’s salt flats in Utah, USA is probably the most famous venue of them all, with its history stretching as far back as 1930.
We all know that imagination never rests and that man will always look for new horizons to conquer. This is no different when it comes to land speed record attempts and on 28 October 2008, Richard Noble and Andy Green announced their latest plan to travel 1000 mph on land with the Bloodhound project. Their choice of venue? Hakskeenpan, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Around the same time Jan Els seized the opportunity to make a lifelong dream come true. Jan has been planning South Africa’s very own Speedweek for years and on 14 September 2012 petrolheads from all over South Africa rolled on to the dusty pan of Hakskeenpan for the inaugural Kalahari Desert Speedweek.
For many it was a dream come true, […]
To tell the story of an extraordinary 1959 Volkswagen Kombi named Mabel, I’ll need to jump 40 years forward and start the telling with a newborn friendship between two young men, Wernher Hartzenberg and Espen Svensen. Both of us had one thing in common: the desire for adventure. We did not know at the time what impact this meeting would have on the rest of our lives and how we would both find respect for a vehicle that was once upon a time advertised as the people’s car.
It was 1999 and the first ever African Beetle Marathon was just the event to dip our toes into the river of adventure. Boy, would this little stream soon flow like a fearsome river through our veins.
Espen was born in Oslo, Norway. With his forefather’s Viking blood running strong, he decided it was time to see the world. He was so sure about his fate that he purchased a round trip ticket that would take him pretty much, well, around the world. Being an adventurer there would be no better place to kick it all off than in South Africa.
On the other side of the world, a young student, Wernher, was just getting ready to start his adult life. I was like most other South Africans, brought up with the mindset that once you finish your studies, it is time to face the real world, and that meant getting a 9-to-5 job. Luckily, I was young and also knew how to use my free time. That year’s summer break was going to be different; I was going to go BIG one last time.
Article by Wernher Hartzenberg
People have always put great importance on certain dates. All through mankind’s existence time has played a huge role. First it was measured by dusk and dawn, then came weeks, months and years. Soon it all got formulated into a calendar. I’m not superstitious and believe that what will happen, will happen. In my books 11/11/2011 was just going to be another day in sunny South Africa. There was however one event that happened that day, which stood out more, than let’s say, the day before. It came in the form of a phone call from a gentleman by the name of Deon Smith, who knew of an early Porsche that was possibly for sale. He had gotten my number from someone who had met me while I was restoring Silverado and heard that I had a passion for early air cooled cars. He broke the news that it was a Convertible D and that there was a potential buyer from the United Kingdom. He also told me that the car belonged to his cousin, who was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer and knew that his dream of one day restoring the car was growing slimmer by the day. We talked about the car and ended the conversation with the mutual feeling that the car should stay in South Africa.
In the early 1950’s a Dutch couple, Willem and Truus van der Mark followed their forefather’s footsteps and decided to elope to South Africa. This choice was primarily made on the fact that the couple both loved animals and that Willem’s talent as a documentarian would be taken to new heights, as he could capture wildlife on his 16 mm camera. Back in those days when television was unheard of, news clips appeared during movie intervals at the cinema. It was during such movie intervals that Willem‘s documentaries were screened.