Back from the grave to become the Star of the show

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Back from the grave to become the Star of the show

The only running 1909 Star 12 HP Tourer survivor will go under the hammer in one of the biggest auctions in Africa

Alex Patrick

Over 100 classic cars and motorcycles will go under the hammer in Johannesburg in less than a month at one of the biggest auctions in Africa.
International auction house Coys will auction these vehicles as part of Concours South Africa‚ which will be held at the Steyn City Golf Course on August 10 and 11.
Concours South Africa brings together classic‚ luxury and sports vehicles from pre-war vintage to the modern era.
One of the highlights of the event will be a 1909 Star 12 HP Tourer.Apart from the fact that this car is one of only four Star cars ever to be brought into South Africa, and that this is the only running survivor, what makes this car car’s provenance astounding is that it was buried on a farm in Witbank for decades before it was discovered, excavated, and finally fully restored in 1990.According to the car’s current owner, Paul Koski, the 12 HP Star was brought into South Africa in 1909, and became the property of a mine manager at Randfontein estates gold mine. The mine manager, Mr Retief, bought the car with the express purpose of travelling from Randfontein on the West Rand to his farm in Witbank.
The Star was de-commissioned in 1922 and was buried, although certain parts were stored in a barn on the Witbank farm.“The car literally was put into a pit and buried, which was a common practice on farms in those days,” said Koski, who owns a number of vintage and veteran cars, including a 1904 Curved Dash Oldsmobile.“The car was discovered by a well-known vintage collector, Jim Gosling, who had heard about the Star and spent years combing the Witbank area in search of it. Eventually a labourer on one of the farms reported some mechanical remains poking up from the ground, and Jim Gosling’s long search paid off.”
The restoration took around 10 years.“The car is remarkably complete, and still has its original mechanicals, as well as instrumentation. Of course there is no battery; you have to crank the four-cylinder engine to get it started. But one has to keep in mind that this car is now 109 years old,” said Koski.Coys managing director Chris Routledge said: “I have worked in Africa now for many‚ many years developing close associations with historic South African car culture. It is in my bones and in my veins. I am so excited that we are doing this and that the time is now.”Rory Byrne‚ who designed world championship winning cars for Michael Schumacher when he was driving for Ferrari‚ will attend the event.
Cars at the auction will include:
1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce RHD;
1969 Ferrari 365GT 2+2‚ Red;
1966 Ford Cortina Mk1;
1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GT;
Original and unrestored 1971 Porsche 911T;
1950 Jaguar XK120;
1954 Triumph TR2;
Original and unrestored 1968 Ford Shelby 500 GT;
1955 Austin Healey 100 BN1; and
1973 Renault Alpine 1600S.

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