What you missed from the first Cape Town Motor Show

Interest in the South African automotive scene has been on the rise in recent years. We’ve had a refurbished Kyalami Circuit, the launch of the new Global Touring Cars series as well as the announcement of the South African GT Challenge championship. Cape Town is getting its first taste of the FIA World Rallycross Championship towards the end of this year and a good number of showrooms have opened up to the public, offering quality coffee while you pine over exotic cars.

It shouldn’t come of much surprise then that the first official Cape Town Motor Show has finally taken place. The three- day event ran from the 27th -29th of January at Grand West. Patricia de Lille, the mayor of Cape Town, stated that ”Cape Town is ready to embrace a motor show of our own that can rival international equivalents”. The question is, did it? We’ll get back to that bold statement later, but first, here’s what you missed if you didn’t manage to attend the inaugural event.

Upon entering the show you were greeted with the unmistakeable squeal and smoke that can only be the result of a drifting demonstration. Subject to a R150 fee and a short wait in a queue, spectators had the opportunity to sit alongside the professional drivers as they got taken for a ride of a lifetime in a purpose-built drift car.

The first of the three indoor areas formed the stage for an impressive motorcycle display and strong line up of classic cars, while the second provided a host of local and international tuning, parts and accessory companies proudly displaying their products at their respective stands. Two outside areas displayed the slightly less exotic car exhibits, the spectacular drifting display and a couple of food and drink stalls, of which there was aplenty. Finally an event with sufficient catering.

The Grand Arena was reserved for the main attractions and featured extensive vehicle displays from Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Velocity Cars. Multiple other manufactures and dealerships were also in attendance, but weren’t t out in quite as much force as the aforementioned quartet. Ticket holders were encouraged to take seats in a number of the cars and, much to the delight of the crowd, were even allowed to fire up a Jaguar F-Type S and rev the engine.

The undeniable stars of the show included a lurid purple 570S from McLaren Cape Town, a Huracan dressed in Lamborghini’s aggressive optional extra aero kit and a Ferrari 458 Spider and Mercedes C63 Black Series from Velocity Cars. A trio of Shelby GT350’s with carbon body kits supplied by Shelby South Africa topped off the Grand Arena display. The second outside area provided a relaxed atmosphere with live music, food trucks and a beer garden nestled amongst Afla Romeo 4Cs, Land Rovers and yet another revving F-Type.

So how did the Cape Town Motor Show stack up against international shows? A comparison that was completely unfair to make, raising expectations well beyond what it could realistically deliver.  For a first time event the organisers put on respectable show but if you’re in need of some car time in Cape Town you’re still better off popping in for a coffee at Crossley and Webb, or heading to Anton Rupert’s Franschhoek Motor Museum to see their spectacular display, rather than paying the R100 CTMS ticket fee to see a small handful of exciting cars.

Don’t get me wrong, for R100 it’s good day out and of course you have all the other various car related paraphernalia that comes with a motor show judging on a full day’s entertainment and enough cars to keep cameras flashing, one can’t help but feel it left a bit to be desired. The SA Festival of Motoring, expected to happen at Kyalami again in 2017, continues to be country’s benchmark.

Were you there? Please leave your thoughts.

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