Elder Of The Road

Elder Of The Road

Old Block: American 1952 Chevrolet Cadillac still braces Soweto streets

One of Soweto’s oldest cars is still looking beautiful, in good shape and majestically roaming the streets in grand style. It’s the automatic 1952 Chevrolet Cadillac.


It carries four passengers at the back, and three others at the front seat including a driver. Its owner is Thomas Mzimba of Chiawelo. He says his car is fair on petrol consumption. “A full-tank costs me about R700, 00. I feel the pinch when I do local rounds. Long distances are the best,” says Thomas.

Thomas worked as a panel beater for 20 years. After the company he was working for closed down, he worked from home. Thomas says, “I stopped panel beating cars because people did not want to pay. Now I do some construction work.”

Men Behind The Scene: Bright and Thomas Mzimba

On Standby: A 1948 Chevrolet Duke waits for its turn

He bought this old car and pimped it out without changing much of its shape. It runs with a V8 engine – Edenblock – and its speedometer counts in miles, unlike our local kilometres. The spare parts don’t worry him. “I know where they sell them. One gentleman wanted to trade his latest Mercedes Benz with my car and I refused. Merc is high maintenance,” he remembers.

Thomas says it’s mainly White people who want to buy his car. He is steadfast that he is not selling it. He might rent it out for events like wedding celebrations though.

A battered 1947 Chevrolet Duke is parked outside the yard. “I am working on it. Soon it will also be on the road. It is for sale either,” Thomas assures.

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