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The Classic Car Show Nasrec


The Classic Car Show Nasrec

A quick spotter’s guide to the hordes of Beetle and other VW varieties that will be roaring in to Nasrec in 10 days’ time. If you are a Volkswagen fan, the

Classic Car Show Nasrec

A quick spotter’s guide to the hordes of Beetle and other VW varieties that will be roaring in to Nasrec in 10 days’ time.

If you are a Volkswagen fan, the place to be on Sunday July 3 is at the Nasrec Expo Centre south west of Jo’burg, for the 2022 edition of The Classic Car Show.

A huge variety of Beetles, split-window Kombis, Karmann Ghias, Type 3 Squarebacks and Fastbacks, and perhaps an even wider array of Golfs is expected from 8 am to 4 pm at the vast Nasrec facility situated just a few blocks away from Soccer City.

Classic Kombis make you think of packing in your job, loading up a sleeping bag or two, a couple of your closest friends and heading out for who-knows where. Nothing epitomises the carefree hippie lifestyle that was immortalised by the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, as much as an early split-window VW bus or van.

And as for the VW Beetle, just about everyone who has grown up in South Africa has some connection to a Beetle, whether it’s been a trip through the Karoo with the wind buffeting the little bug from side to side, or dousing a quick electrical fire caused by a short circuit from the battery located, weirdly, beneath the back seat!

With so many different varieties of Beetles, Kombis, Ghias and Golfs rolling in from 8 am, a quick VW Spotters Guide is in order:

The (original) VW Beetle, 1951 – 1979

 The split-window Beetle. The split-window Beetle was the first variant of the bug to be built in South Africa, staring in 1951. The Beetle’s split-window (unlike the Kombi of the same nick name, the Splittie) was located at the rear of the Beetles, and these variants were produced until the end of 1953. They are noted for very thin bumpers, usually without over-riders.

The oval window Beetle. These were produced from 1954 to the end of 1957. The oval window at the back is tiny, and like the split-window Beetles, these are now very scarce and collectable. Some owners of later models actually faked the oval model by welding up the bigger aperture and inserting a small glass window. But genuine ovals have longer cooling slots beneath the window than the fakes.

The 1958 Beetle. This was the first Beetle to get the bigger back window and the last Beetle to be fitted with those little indicator arms on the door frame, known as “trafficators”. Instead of a winking rear light, a little metal arm pops out to indicate the planned direction change coming up.

The 1966 Beetle. The very early Beetles were fitted with 1100 cc engines, and then all Beetles were 1200 cc for a decade. But in 1966 the first 1300 cc Beetles were built and these have a small “1300” badge on the engine lid, but still use the early rounded bumpers and small tail lights.

The 1967 Beetle. For a short spell of about six months, the 1967 Beetles built in Uitenhage came out with disc brakes. You can recognise these models by their flat hubcaps and steel wheels with cooling slots. Later in ’67 the disc brake spec was dropped (too expensive to build in SA) and the Beetle reverted to drum brakes for the rest of its model life.

The 1968 Beetle. This came with new squared-off bumpers and a 1500 cc engine. Many Beetle enthusiasts rate the 1500 engine as one of the best ever, superior to the later 1600. The 1968 front lights were also more upright than the earlier models.

The 1600 cc Beetle. This first appeared in 1970, and the first models had single-port engines. Later 1600 models had slightly more-powerful twin-port engines. The 1300 cc model was also still available in the 1970s, and in 1974 the big change came in the form of larger, bulbous tail lamps. These lamps actually became even bigger in the final years of the Beetle’s model life, which ended in January 1979. It had been in continuous production here for over 27 years!

Special Beetle models. A notable special Beetle model produced here was the VW Beetle SP, a “hot” twin-carb version with 14-inch Rostyle wheels and stripes, and a special exhaust system. It was a bit quicker than the stock 1600 model.

Another special model was the so-called “Superbug” or S version produced here in 1975. These were the only South African-built versions to have a curved windscreen and a modern padded dashboard. The S had 15-inch Rostyle wheels. There were also some cosmetic special models introduced here based on the stock 1600, such as the Jeans Bug, with denim upholstery, the Fun Bug, and the Lux Bug.

The Volkswagen Kombi.

The original VW Kombi was first introduced here in 1955. This is the very collectable Kombi known as a “Splittie,” because of its split front windscreen. The Kombis were known internally in the Volkswagen Group as Type2 models. Their engine size increased to 1500 cc in the 1960s, but they were still extremely slow.

The second-generation Kombi was introduced here in 1968 and initially called the “Clipper.” This had a 1600 cc engine, and was quite a bit bigger. Nowadays these second-gen Kombis (and van and pick-up variants) are known amongst enthusiasts as “Bay Window Kombis,” because of the rounded shape of the windscreen. They came in bus, van and pick-up form, including a double-cab pick-up, known affectionately as “the half loaf”!


Classic Car Show Nasrec Kombi


In the mid-1970s a Splittie version of the Kombi was re-introduced, known as the Fleetline model. Most “Splitties” you see running around these days are of the later Fleetline variety.

The third generation VW bus or Kombi, the much more squared-off version, was introduced here in 1980 and stayed in production until the mid-1990s. It came in engine sizes varying from 1800 cc to 2 500 cc.

The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

The Karmann Ghia was a Beetle with a sport-style body introduced in 1955. The first examples arrived here in about 1957 and these are known as “low-light” Ghias, because of a lower headlight height and smaller front air intake “nostrils”. These were all left-hand-drive models, and all Karmann Ghias were fully imported.  In 1960 the first right-hand-drive Ghias became available. The following year the Type 3 Karmann Ghia was introduced in Germany and a few found their way here, but not in large numbers. It is estimated that only about 500 Karmann Ghias were ever imported here between 1957 and 1974. They all have stock VW Beetle running gear.


Classic Car Show Nasrec Ghia

The Volkswagen Type 3.

This was the third distinct Volkswagen model to be produced and first appeared here in 1962, as the Volkswagen 1500. This came initially in a three-box design, and later station wagon models (known as Variants) were introduced and were very popular. A 1600 Fastback model was introduced in 1969, as well. Their engine design had a horizontally-mounted fan, but was otherwise quite similar to the Beetle flat-four configuration. Many Type 3s came in twin carburettor form.

The Volkswagen Golf

The first Golfs appeared in South Africa in 1978, initially in 1100 cc and 1300 cc form. They were a bit problematic at first, with overheating problems, but soon became very popular. They came in two-door and four-door guise. The 1600 GTS model was the performance model in the early 1980s, until the advent of the first famous Mk I GTi 1800, which was introduced here in late 1982. In mid-1984 the Golf II was introduced, and the GTi that arrived in early 1985 model was extremely popular.

The Golf 3 came in the early 1990s, followed by the Golf 4 in the late 1990s. The next big breakthrough for the Golf came in 2005 in the form of the Golf 5 GTi, today considered an all-time classic.

In 1985, after the launch of the Golf II, Volkswagen made the decision to continue building the Mk I Golf in bright primary colours, and called it the Citi Golf. This model was hugely popular and stayed in production until 2009! A very collectable Citi Golf model is the GTi-engine CTi from the mid-1990s.

A huge array of Volkswagen Golfs will be on display in the Germany vs Japan display at The Classic Car Show at Nasrec on July 3.


*Alongside the classic Volkswagens will be a mouth-watering display of Jo’burg’s finest muscle cars, British and Italian classic cars, and a wide variety of customised American pick-up trucks, another huge trend in collectable cars in South Africa.

* All drivers of genuine classic cars and one passenger admitted free of charge.

* Classic cars will enter through Gate 5, Japan vs German cars will enter through Gate 2.

* Tickets cost R80 for adults (R60 if booked through Computicket), children under-12 are R20.

*The show runs from 8 am to 4 pm on July 3, 2022.

As in the past, the emphasis will be on family entertainment, and there will be many activities, including live music, drifting, a flea market and affordable helicopter rides.

Partners in the 2022 show’s organising are Cartrack and Lavida Vodka.

Exhibitors are invited to enter the Nasrec grounds from 7 am on July

Breyten Odendaal

Hello! I am a publisher for 3D Car Shows. Besides cars and automotive news, I am also interested in virtual reality, 3D modeling and animation.

Published : Thursday June 23, 2022

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