Most youngsters have their heroes. They can be living (think sport stars such as Lionel Messi and Caster Semenya), or fictitious (Batman and Captain Marvel). Or it could be a motor vehicle.
Cape Town-based radio technical producer Brett Kannemeyer only ever idolised one kind of motor vehicle — Ford.
“As young boys, we admired Fords, particularly Ford Escorts. To us, those cars represented freedom and independence.”
Then Kannemeyer decided to do something about it. He joined the Ford family. Ignoring more modern models, he wanted something classic, something that made a statement. A car that would turn heads.
“Three years ago I got my hands on a 1976 Ford Escort Mk2. It was literally an old lady’s car. It belonged to my friend’s grandmother who only ever drove it to church. It sounds cheesy, but that’s exactly what happened,” he gushes.
Kannemeyer chases freedom and the excitement of the open road. His gas-guzzling dream car has taken him up and down the Cape Peninsula, and has turned its wheels on national roads.
“The only thing is the car doesn’t have any air conditioning. So when it is hot, I have to open the two side windows. And that breeze is the only thing that’s there to cool you down,” he says. “And it’s loud too. The radio often has to compete with the sound of the engine. And the people in the back seat? I can’t hear them talking.”
It’s attention 29-year-old Kanne-meyer wants, and it’s attention he gets. Maybe the ego of a young man peacocking his way through life.
“Not a day goes by without me standing at a robot and someone giving me the thumbs up. I also get so many offers from people to buy her. It makes me feel proud.”
But like all Peter Pans, Kannemeyer realises he too must grow up. Having welcomed his first child, Isla, into the world in July, priorities have changed; he may not be able to keep his custard-coloured carrier for long.
“Safety has become a big issue for me. While my car looks beautiful, there’s little safety features. All there is is a belt strap bolted to the interior of the car. I don’t think it will save me, I don’t think it could save my family,” he says. “That car came out in the 70s. Back then safety and comfort wasn’t the most important thing. It was about getting from point A to B.”
So what will he drive next?
“I’m in the market for a BMW E46. It’s a daddy’s car. Comfortable, reliable and safe. But I’m going to miss her. The way she turns heads. But with my new baby girl, I would trade the world just to know that Isla is safe and comfortable.”