Babanango 2016
Old Trucks

Words Roger Gaisford, Images Verdale Rorke & Larry Bentley Words Roger Gaisford, Images Verdale Rorke & Larry Bentley

Old Trucks is a sometimes gathering of old four-wheeldrive vehicles. Held at various places around South Africa, it is not a club or formal organisation, but a group passionate about its metal dashboards and accompanying bits.

The first meeting was held at Babanango in Zululand in 1981, where many thousands of acres of great rocky hills, bush, and the broad sandy bed of the uMfolosi River provided the attraction.

Though perhaps not attractive enough to equal the goings on as a collection of old things rattled and howled their way from places in the north, south, east and even the west, to meet at Stan’s Bar at the Babananago Hotel, and there to be made most welcome and fed and watered by that great host, Stan Wintgens.

For 2016, the gathering was held over the public-holiday period of 16 to 19 June, at Brocklee Farm at Ntumeni near Eshowe. Any four-wheel-drive vehicle was welcome, provided that it had a metal dashboard. And what a time it was, with participants from various parts of South Africa in Jeeps, Land Rovers and Land Cruisers, all making camp at Brocklee Dam.

There were Land Rovers: Louis Powell from Inchanga, in his 80 inch pushed along by a 2.5 diesel, and Pierre Joubert from Pinetown in his 1957 88 riding to the tune of a 300 TDI sans turbo. Then, Barry Cromhout from Boston, in his Series One 88 sporting a 300 TDI driving through an LT380 box and Defender and Discovery axles suspended on parabolics.

Jeff Gaisford arrived from Hilton in his 1959 Series Two 88 Station Wagon, a vehicle which he and his brother had bought in 1972 for R25 (then about twelve pounds ten shillings) and given to their father as a Father’s Day present.

Nick Selley appeared in his Series 2A 109 Station Wagon. This had been rebuilt from a rotten chassis and seized axles derived from launching boats into sea water. Nick added features not usually seen on such a car.

Graham Cooke from Port Shepstone and Kingsley Holgate arrived in Graham’s 107 Station Wagon, once used as a tourist vehicle on Sani Pass.

Audrey Lotter in her famous 107 Station Wagon, Gunga Din, and Brogdan Hvolskidid, in the equally famous 107, Sir Tinley, were there, too.

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