Thu Oct 27 11:04:21 SAST 2016


By Bruce Fraser | Mar 17, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

I MUST admit museums have never been my scene.

I MUST admit museums have never been my scene.

The last time I visited one was so long ago that AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche was still trying to get to grips with horse riding, a young Juju was trying to master the technicalities of woodwork and a Wimpy breakfast cost all of R2.

So when an invitation to visit a museum landed on my desk, I thought someone was playing an early April Fool's joke on me.

On further investigation (that is reading the invite) I discovered it was actually an opportunity to visit the Volkswagen Museum or Auto Pavilion (if you want to call it that) in Uitenhage.

Situated about 20km north of Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage is home to the Volkswagen plant - and tucked away in a corner is an Aladdin's Cave with a treasure chest of Audis and Volkswagens from down the years provided by VWSA.

All the vehicles have been immaculately maintained and walking through the interactive museum is akin to taking a trip through the history of the motor giant.

Designed in the early 1930s, the Beetle went on to become an icon in motoring terms. By the time the last one rolled off the production line in 1978, more than 20 million had been produced.

On show at the museum is a Beetle that was driven from Norway all the way through Africa to Cape Town. The car still looks like new and was donated by the owner.

Another Beetle to catch the eye is a 1962 model with only 700km on the clock. In pristine condition, it hasn't even had its first service and still looks like it has just come off the production line.

A definite attraction is the VW Nardo W12. Designed as a concept car, it is a low-slung, full-on sports car with two wing doors and comes in a bright orange colour.

Like a Porsche and the Audi R8, the engine is positioned behind the two front seats. And what an engine it is - 440kW that can produce a top speed of 350kmh.

Taking it to the high-speed circuit at Narda in southern Italy, the vehicle set a world record for the distance covered in a 24-hour period: 7740km at an average speed of 322kmh.

A number of Audis that Sarel van der Merwe used in rallies are also on display as are some of Volkswagen's more unusual designs - the Vario and the Karmann Ghia.

The museum is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4pm and there is a charge of R5 for adults and R2 for children.

So if you happen to be in the Eastern Cape region this Easter, pop in at the Volkwagen Museum and enjoy the history of this unique brand.


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT