Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 30 - Western Cape hosts national vintage tractor and engine event


Villiersdorp, a delightful town between Elgin and Worcester in the Western Cape in South Africa was the venue for this year’s annual national get together by vintage tractor and engine enthusiasts in South Africa.
The Western Cape has never hosted the event before and the opportunity to do so was embraced enthusiastically by the Villiersdorp Vintage Tractor and Engine Club who are affiliated to the national movement.

The Villiersdorp Club has an interesting history. A number of farmers from this predominantly fruit growing area, attended the Great 100 Working event at Sandstone Estates in the Eastern Free State in 2002 in order to support South Africa’s attempt at the world record. They enjoyed themselves immensely and on the way back by minibus agreed that they would form a club and start collecting and displaying vintage tractors and engines in their area. This club has gone from strength to strength and there are now nearly seventy members.
A delightful aspect of the show was the fact that participants could go for “road runs” on a daily basis through the beautiful orchards adjoining the show grounds. It was literally out of the gate, across the river, into the orchards and then into the mountains. All the properties adjacent to the town and the show grounds are owned by club members who opened their farms for vintage tractor enthusiasts to meander on their aged machines.

This years Villiersdorp Show which had just under 300 tractors on display was noteworthy for the following reasons:-

Firstly it was an “action” show with vintage borehole drilling machines, tractor pulling and demonstrations on threshing, milling and bread-baking, maize shelling and grinding happening almost all of the time. The big turnout of stationary engines meant that there was lots of background noise and action. It was also obvious that the Western Cape collectors take great pride in their machines and the quality of the restorations was extremely high. The judges therefore had a tough job selecting the finalists amongst the restored tractors and engines on show.

Despite the long distances involved, the show was well supported from other areas. A Natal contingent hauled two tractors and two stationary engines over 1,600 kms (1,000 miles), while Sandstone Estates travelled 1,200 kilometres to support the show with two loads of tractors in order to express their appreciation for the support that they had received in 2002 from the same group.

After a quiet period during which very few major events have been held in South Africa it was obvious that as a direct result of the enthusiasm of this group of collectors in the Western Cape and the Villiersdorp club in particular, that working vintage tractor shows will continue to be a feature of the preservation movement in Southern Africa.

Two identical exhibits, one in fully restored and the other in tip top running condition, but cosmetically unrestored. (Left) The Sandstone Heritage Trust McCormick Deering 1530 and (right) the identical prize winning model owned by Eniel Viljoen.
Chris Wilson on parade
The Sandstone Team (from left to right) Wilfred Mole, Benjamin Mole, Charles Viljoen and Chris Wilson
A thank you letter
The Certificate