Hanning’s Aston Nash at its first South African event in 1953.
South Africa has a rich motor racing history, and during the 1930s a number of International Grands Prix were held at major centers around the country. Whitney Straight won the first South African Grand Prix in 1934, and later visitors included the Auto Union team with such greats as Bernd Rosemeyer and Ernst von Delius, official Maserati teams and hosts of English amateurs with ERAs and Rileys. Sadly, World War II put a temporary end to this, so racing had to wait until the late 1940s to resume.
Motor racing quickly revived and became popular after the war, but racing cars were a scarce commodity. There were a number of interesting pre-war, factory-built racers that had found their way to the tip of Africa, but in the main, racing enthusiasts had to make do with what they had, could find, could afford, modify or make. Even when specialist racing cars were available, import restrictions for those who had the wherewithal to buy such “proper” racing machinery discouraged the acquisition of these factory-built machines.
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