Muscling in on the American dream

Not only do Andre van Rooyen and Riaan Nel own several muscle cars, they have their own workshop and restore classic cars for a living. They have nearly 10 cars each and so can drive a different car every day of the week.

Their business, known as Rally Sport Motors, is located just off Ontdekkers Road in Roodepoort where the old Americano Roadhouse stood for years. The parking lot is a petrol head’s heaven, with numerous muscle cars waiting for the duo’s magic touch.

There’s everything from rumbling Camaros, rusty Tudor chassis and aggressive Pontiacs.

Some of their own cars are on the property. They hardly enter competitions, but they say they are still driven by passion.

“It’s our dads’ fault,” says Van Rooyen when asked how they got started in the business.

“Riaan’s father owned about 15 muscle cars by the time he got married. We’ve both been driven by this passion.
Nel says they have been business partners for 12 years.

“We source most of our parts from a contact in the US and we have customers from all over the continent, as far as Nigeria.”

Says Van Rooyen: “We’re perfectionists. The job isn’t done if it’s not perfect.”

The quality of their restoration work speaks for itself when one looks at the cars in the workshop. Here are some of the beauties they have been working on:

» 1928 Ford Tudor

Ambrosio de Lemos is from Angola and sent his Ford Tudor to Rally Sport Motors 10 months ago. Van Rooyen and Nel rebuilt the rusty red bucket to this golden glory.

De Lemos has spent more than R500 000 on this classic and can’t find any fault with the restoration work.

» 1959 Chevrolet El Camino

This is only one of Van Rooyen’s nine cars. The car was originally white when it was imported from the US in 2006 for a cool $11 500 (about R80­ 500 then). The 1959 model represents the first year that Chevrolet built the El Camino. The suede turquoise stunner is a functional pick-up, but Van Rooyen says you can’t load more than two dustbins. It also received lots of mechanical and electrical work, and they still plan to do more work on the body.

» 1971 Pontiac

The Pontiac is a car that falls into a unique category. It usually came out in a blue or white body paint. This specific one was initially red when the owner first bought it. He had it resprayed while Van Rooyen and Nel did all the rewiring and mechanical work.

» 1979 Ford Cortina

Probably one of the most respected cars in South Africa. Gert Pretorious has spent R360 000 on his bakkie. It has a candy-red paint with hollow specs in the transparent liquid to make it shimmer in the sunlight. The paint and body work earned the men first place at the Castrol Extreme Motor Show last year. It has serious grunt, with a Chevvy V8 engine kicking out 340kW of power and 500Nm of torque.

» 1970 Chevrolet Camaro

The Z28 is considered to be the finest Camaro ever built. It still features the hood and roof striping, black grille and wide tyres. The owner spent R22 000 just on reupholstery before he brought the car in.

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