Cape Town - The motor industry is in uproar over the Cape Town traffic department’s efforts to clamp down on modified cars as part of their actions against illegal street racers. Even seemingly simple modifications, such as wider or larger wheels and tyres, larger exhausts, or any fittings not clearly specified by the car’s manufacturer may now have a motorist running the risk of having a car declared not roadworthy.

photo Mert Dere


“My first question is, is this April’s Fool’s Day? Second, what are they smoking? They are prepared to damage a huge industry in this country and I can tell you now it will never work,” said motor sport legend Roger McCleery, chairman of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists, commentator and former South African motorcycle racing champion.

“They are doing it completely the wrong way. It is a sign that they are not interested in tackling the problem head-on, they want to do things the easy way,” McCleery said.

“The after market industry is not just a little thing that you can brush aside, it employs many people. We simply cannot believe it.”

There were roadworthy and unroadworthy standard cars and roadworthy and un-roadworthy modified cars, he said.

Western Province Motor Club founder member and chief Clerk of the Course Brian Hoskins asked whether the traffic department was now going to hunt down the thousands of cars which had been modified over the years.

“No way, no way do I think it is going to cure their problem with illegal street racers in any way,” he said.

“My son and I love rallying. Our car is road legal so that we can drive from venue to venue. Does this mean we will no longer be allowed to do that because there are many components on our car that are not from the original equipment manufacturer?

“What about the many older cars that are being repaired by youngsters because they cannot afford newer cars.

“You cannot get original equipment for most old cars. People who take a lot of trouble to modify their cars and make them look good are usually responsible individuals who won’t race because their cars are expensive.”

Hoskins said his club, the operator of the Killarney Motor Sport Complex, had set up a street to strip racing programme to give amateur drag racers a venue at which to race.

“We need to motivate the people to come here and we love having them.

We have to try to entice the illegal racers to come here. But to take on the guys who modify their cars is plain crazy.

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Cape Argus
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