Funky vehicles to build with the kids

They will play: This range of wood and metal cars can be assembled at home with the kids.

They will play: This range of wood and metal cars can be assembled at home with the kids.

Can you build it? Yes you can.

Dokter and Misses’ Adriaan Hugo — better known for his, shall we say, more grown-up range of household objects and furniture — says the range of toys came about when Dawn Dludlu, then a student at the University of Johannesburg, came to intern at their workshop.

“All the guys who study industrial design are into cars,” Hugo says. “We had to get a quick project together to get [Dludlu] going — the basic concept was to use one of the wood offcuts that were lying around. Using the piece of wood as a central base, he had to design a car on top of it.
He just loved it.”

The range of wood and metal cars helped Dludlu to win the apprentice award from Southern Guild, which allows him to work for Dokter and Misses for a year with a salary and a stipend for him to “develop a product under our name, which will show with Southern Guild later this year”, says Hugo.

“As a design idea,” Hugo says, “it’s important to work within constraints and then see where you can go from there. Initially we only allowed [Dludlu] to use eight holes [for each model], and everything had to be fixed to that. He had to design a bonnet and top and sides and wheels that would fit that structure. At some point, we realised the constraint wasn’t really worth it and made them individual.

“A lot of students come out of university and really struggle to grasp the whole concept of creating a ‘product’,” says Hugo. “[Dludlu] got it, even with all the constraints, and that was one of the qualities picked up by the Southern Guild judges.”

The cars are designed for self-assembly — each comes with the wood and metal parts, screws and an Allen key. There is a manual, but Hugo says it’s “self-explanatory in a way. That’s why it appeals to adults and kids.”

The laser-cut metal subtly exploits shapes and cut-outs to ­create and suggest detail — the cut-out on the door of the American pick-up truck mimics wood panelling on those models; the grille on the “Malibu” beach buggy reminds one of a Jeep; the sports car owes its lines to a Lotus rather than a Ferrari.

“You can’t get too philosophical about it,” says Hugo. “It’s a toy. But it’s a fun project, and it’s cool to see how successful it could be. Manufacturing costs are a little bit expensive right now because it’s not stamped out in China. But if there’s huge interest and we could punch out [metal] at high volume, the price would drop.”

Toy cars are R480 each. Visit

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