Sedgefield Classic Cars is a highly regarded tourist attraction in our town. Show-cased right next to the N2 main highway that passes through Sedgefield, such is its popularity, that it is part of the itineraries of a variety of tour buses that travel the Garden Route between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
Besides that, every month a Harley Davidson motor-bike tour operator interrupts his journey with a coffee break at Sedgefield Classic Cars for his biking group. It is one of the highlights of their trip. On one of the days I was there, a group of French foreign tourists riding 20 magnificent Harley-Davidson bikes pulled in.
Sheridan Renfield bought his first car, a 1940 Chev in 1974, for R150-00. It cost him R500-00 to get it into good condition mechanically and cosmetically. He kept it for 17 years using it for rallies and club outings until he sold it in 1991 for R17,000-00. Today he said it's worth R95,000-00.
He bought his second car, a 1933 Plymouth in 1976 for R2000-00. In it, he and his wife won the Port Elizabeth Milligan Rally 4 times. For 21 years it was a working car that travelled all over South Africa to participate in rallies. It never let the couple down.
He sold it to a friend in Knysna for R35,000-00 in 1997 who kept it for 11 years and sold it in 2008 for R95,000-00. In 2011, it's worth in the region of R150,000-00. It definitely seems that these cars are a good investment if you get good advice and/or know what to buy!
World-wide there is a standard terminology for the classification of these old cars.
Nowadays there are comparatively few collectors interested in the first 3 categories. The post-vintage period onwards are the most popular classes today and the best investment. There are even further divisions within these. A 2-door is more valuable than a sedan and the saying "If the roof comes down, the price goes up" indicates that a convertible outdoes them all!
Though running his own Johannesburg business, in 1997 Sheridan and his wife, Barbara decided to abort their busy life and opt out of the Gauteng rat-race. He had also held the position of Chairperson of the Piston Ring Vintage Car Club from 1976-1997 (it would have been a record breaking length of time if there was such a category to be found in the Guinness Book of Records!)
During his 21 years of chairmanship he saw the number of members swell from 110 to 1400. Barbara was involved too because she ran the club's canteen for the same length of time and participated in rallies in the all-important role as Sheridan's navigator. Additionally, Sheridan was Vice-Chairman of the South African Veteran and Vintage Association, the governing body for all South Africa’s vintage car clubs.
As Barbara grew up in Port Elizabeth and they both knew Sedgefield from many vintage car rallies over the years, the Renfields made up their minds to see if small town living would suit them.
Ready for a total change in life-style, Sheridan and Barbara speculated with a house in Begonia Street with a great view over Sedgefield and the lagoon that they converted into a successful guesthouse called Warthog Wallow. Sheridan later complemented this venture by becoming a national tour guide and owning his own company, Warthog Tours.
Meanwhile, his three vintage cars were housed at Frost Brothers, a local showroom in Knysna. A good few years had gone by, when one day the owner phoned and said that the garage was being remodeled and would no longer have a showroom – Sheridan had to find somewhere else to keep his vehicles.
Knowing of a local mechanic with some space available, he asked Nito Valentim, owner of Automan across the main road in Sedgefield, if he could keep his cars there. Nito agreed and because of their visual position next to the highway, all three vehicles quickly found new owners.
Warthog Wallow had already been sold and coincidence seemed to indicate that it was time for Sheridan to pursue his real passion......
so in 2004, Sedgefield Classic Cars was born!
Sheridan is now in partnership with Nito.
Nito brings his workshop expertise to the business from years of repairs and maintenance on vintage cars and building of rally cars.
Sheridan handles the buying and selling and all that goes with it. It is clearly a successful combination.
You can browse through the memorabilia store where you will likely find you are confused by the choice. Boys who love their toys can while away a good few hours between examining the intriguing models of yester-years and the many souvenirs and collectibles in the shop.
Now some 20 years later, Sheridan and Barbara are true regulars of the local scene and Sedgefield Classic Cars is an asset to the village. It adds a unique facet to this distinctive town and contributes in a harmonious way to our slow town ethic.
Click here for more information by going to the website of Sedgefield Classic Cars.
From the initial small site in Kensington, Johannesburg, with a club membership of 70 the Piston Ring has developed into the largest club of its type in South Africa. Club membership now is way in excess of 1200 members, providing an excellent variety of 3000 vehicles, ranging from "Teens" to the "80's" The Piston Ring is affiliated to the South African Vintage and Veteran Association.
The website for Classic Car enthusiasts, offering pictures, news, events, history, links and spares parts.