Below is a short write-up on the architectural style of our house

Monday, 23 May 2011

First Motor Car in the Southern Hemisphere

First Motor Car in the Southern Hemisphere

As early as 1896, in what is believed to have been the first car in the Southern Hemisphere, Mr John Percy Hess of Pretoria made the decision to import a Benz "Velo" from Benz & Co of Mannheim Germany to South Africa.
During the same year this car was shipped to Port Elizabeth and then transported to Pretoria. It was the start of a business relationship which lead to Mr Hess becoming the sole agent for Benz & Co in South Africa.

On Monday, January 4th at 4pm.1897 at Berea Park in Pretoria, in a widely advertised event (see below), Mr John Percy Hess first drove the car with a Mr A.E. Reno (his business Partner and co-founder of the Pretoria News), and a Dr W.J. Leyds, then State Secretary of the Transvaal, as passengers. President Paul Kruger was also invited to ride on the car, but he preferred to just watch the event. 

In honour of President Paul Kruger attendance a "vierkleur" flag was attached to a pole on the carriage and a gold medal was minted to commemorate this occasion. A large number of spectators who came to see this spectacle had to pay an entrance fee of 2 shillings and 6 pennies.

Prominent Pretoria citizens pose with the Benz on its first outing. Dr Leyds, state secretary of the Transvaal, occupies the rand hand seat, whlie Mr A.E. Reno, co-founder of the Pretoria news, is at the controls.
The following week, the Benz was shown at the Wanderers in Johannesburg and then sold to Mr A.H. Jacobs, a coffee importer. Every customer who purchased 500g of coffee from his shop in Pritchard Street was allowed to see his car. Unfortunately, some months later, this car was destroyed in a fire

Surrounded by "sports" in dashing Wanderers Club headgear, South Africa's first lady motorists seem a trifle apprehensive. The Benz reached its maximum speed of 14 mph round the club enclosure

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