It might as well have been the entrance to a highend car dealer. The tall ceiling, tiled floors, memorabilia and then, most importantly, the neatly parked cars all pristinely washed and plugged into trickle chargers. The vehicles are cleaned following every drive and owner Frikkie will tell you the fascinating story behind each one.
The collection is an eclectic blend, with a pleasing nod to cars manufactured locally – be it the Chevrolet Firenza Can-Am or the Jaguar XJ Series II – which, interestingly, was still built in South Africa two years after worldwide production ceased. Along with these are models Frikkie has owned before but, for one reason or another, let slip through his fingers, like the 1958 Studebaker Hawk. It took Frikkie four years of convincing before the owner he bought it from caved.
Then, in the upper garage, you’ll find the serious performance cars: Shelbys, Ferraris and more. While the collection is varied, there is one clear line that connects a lot of these automotive dots … Frikkie’s love for V8s. “My dad worked for Ford Lambons in Bloemfontein. Our family drove Fords, although I did appreciate the Chevrolet models. Every time my dad got a new car from the dealership to be tested, he would pick me up and we would go for a drive. As a boy, I built draadkarre and swapped these for soccer and rugby balls.
Then I started building kaskarre. Let’s just say I became a wheel person! My late grandmother bought me my first Corgi truck model. I remember it to this day; I was only six years old at the time. The first car I owned was a Ford Taunus. However, my first really special car was a 1970 Studebaker Hawk (of which only 24 were brought to SA). I drove this car for 19 years.”
It is because of this ownership experience that Frikkie recently purchased another. The Hawk in the collection is not his original car but one he found at the George Old Car Show and bought after cajoling the previous owner. The car has gone on to win best-inshow prizes at various car shows since. As we climbed into his prized Hawk, Frikkie opened the glove compartment and took out a stack of small vinyls. He inserted one and Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock started playing. What followed were several anecdotes of when he owned his original Hawk all those years back, dating his girlfriend and now wife of 40-plus years.
It is anecdotes like these and nostalgia for the period that has led Frikkie to own no fewer than three Chevrolet Firenza Can-Ams. Each one is as immaculate as the next, while his third is not fitted with its original engine, but rather a highly tuned V8 race engine. On the upper level of the garage, the Ford GT40 replica raced by Peter Lindenberg for several years stands out among an impressive collection of Shelby Mustangs as well as a Ferrari 458 and the highly collectable F430 Scuderia. V8s the lot of them.
Frikkie explains that maintaining these cars takes up a fair share of his time but the family helps with the running of the cars (who can blame them!) and when a car has stood for a while, it will be taken out for a The collector proper run before it is cleaned and, once again, parked safely in the garage. As proud as Frikkie is of his collection, a smile appeared on his face as he unlocked yet another door and guided me into a room where his collection of model cars is on display; one he has lovingly built up since he was a child. It is comprehensive and includes sports- and racecars, classic cars and trucks. Even though there are hundreds, he can point out individual examples and will tell you exactly how old he was when he got them. All cars, whether they be big or small, have a place in this collection.
Frikkie Esterhuizen (70) left school at 15 to become an electrician. He wanted to resign from his position to start his own business but his then boss didn’t allow it and a business deal was struck. Fast forward 40 years and Frikkie is still in business with the same partner. They supply electrical equipment across South Africa.