An Old-Timer Visits Northern KNP

During the morning of Monday 27 August I was on my way down to Skukuza to tend to various administrative tasks before attending a workshop on the following day.

Upon crossing the Letaba highwater bridge to the north of Letaba Rest Camp I encountered the most charming old veteran motorcar amongst an array of vehicles parked on the bridge while their occupants walked about and enjoyed the view over the riverbed.

I immediately recognised the familiar hood adornment right on the very nose of the old car depicting a ship under full sail, thus identifying the vehicle as a Plymouth.

It was of course so very familiar to me because my father used to drive one, a 1948 model, way back in 1957 when I was just a grade-schooler. I experienced a pang of nostalgia and there and then engaged the occupants, who had not alighted from their vehicle, in conversation. I enthused about their lovely car and the pristine condition in which it was kept.

The couple, who later introduced themselves as Danny and Joey Donovan from Polokwane, immediately responded in a very friendly way and Danny informed me that the car was a 1935 six-cylinder Plymouth De Luxe that originally belonged to his father.

As we chatted it came to me that I should ask their permission to take photographs of their beautiful and gleaming old Plymouth in order to share it with Kruger Park Times readers.

Perhaps there are more of our visitors that still visit Kruger with motorcars from a bygone era and who may want to share photos and accounts of these visits with readers?

While I took photos of Danny and Joey next to their old veteran, Danny produced an album with delightful photos of the car in various localities as well as being used as a bridal coach at a wedding.

Then he surprised me by showing me the original sales invoice for the car, still in immaculate condition and also preserved in the album. The invoice shows that Danny's father bought the Plymouth in 1937 for £150 from 'Sydney Clow' in Johannesburg as a 'second-hand car' ('previously owned' in today's salesmen's jargon) with 12,000 miles on the clock.

Joey then reminded Danny to open the hood in order to show me the engine, and what a delight this piece of hidden machinery upon which one could easily enjoy the proverbial meal, but then who would be so callous as to spoil such a gleaming surface with breakfast grease? I wish Danny and Joey many more happy miles in their spectacular old Plymouth!

By Johann Oelofse

Kruger National Park - South African Safari