For Clint Lingeveldt there is always time for sentimentality.
He keeps alive a tradition of buying, rebuilding and racing cars. It’s a hobby and livelihood that has endured for three generations.
He has a number of vehicles parked in his garage, all in different phases of reconstruction. While the paintwork settles on one car, he gets busy installing a roll cage in another.
The car that is his daily commute is his chocolate-brown Datsun 120Y. Maybe it’s because his alternate option is his Toyota Conquest rally car, which would look slightly out of place in traffic.
“This car has been in our family for years. When my grandad passed on in 2008 he left it to my grandma. I bought it from her. But it was in pristine condition because he used to travel to work every day by train, so he almost never drove the car,” Lingeveldt says.
It’s been more than a decade since he first got behind the wheel. And there’s no plan to replace the vehicle he associates with family, and with freedom.
“I was the last in my group of friends to own a car. But I’ve used it for everything from getting to campus on a daily basis, to visiting friends, to going clubbing. It’s nostalgic and has plenty of sentimental value. Everyone in my family and [all my] friends know the sentimental value I place on it.”
Now married and himself a father, Lingeveldt says he got his passion for the mechanical environment from his family.
During the day, he works at a power station, but after hours he’s in the workshop working on his next restoration. His hands, he says, just can’t remain idle.
“I come from a motor vehicle family. My grandfather was a motor mechanic. I decided to study mechanical engineering at varsity, so I guess it is in our blood. I wanted to become a race engineer — that’s my passion. I ended up building and maintaining power stations, but I still feed my passion and build up cars as well. A car is more than four wheels, a steering wheel and a metal shell to me. It’s like another brother in our family,” he says.
Will this passion be passed on to another generation? It already has. Lingeveldt says his young son is showing a keen interest in the mechanical environment. Hopefully, he will be continuing the family tradition of enthusiasm for Japanese-made cars.
“My kid is already a little petrolhead himself. We have a little motoring simulator at home so he’s been learning how to change gears since he was three years old,” Lingeveldt beams.