When it comes to the stylish and smooth driving gentleman’s car, the 1980s 5-series BMW is a classic, even in what is now the next century.
So when Bobby Nitro ran into these two guys with their true retro (as opposed to fashioned) cabbies, he had to know a little more.
Blaine Le Battie, 20, from Goodwood, and Craig van Rensburg, 21, from Wetton, were captured recently in this kwaai shoot from the guys at TPDZ media, Shahiem Bell and Raeez Yon.
Interesting that such young ouens should be driving these classics. Bobby remembers a show in the ‘80s how it was a sure sign of upward mobility to be cruising in such a vehicle. Well, apparently proper klas never fades.
Blaine says: “I always enjoyed cars from a young age. This is mainly due to my older brother, Lyle, because it was through him that the passion grew and led me to becoming a petrolkop. I also got my first car at the age of 16, a 1992 Toyota twincam GLi.
Craig says his petrolkop urges started when as a youngster he and his dad would go watch rally. Considering both guys, the family influence was strong.
Blaine recently took ownership of a silver 1981 BMW e12 518, which he says he might name Betsy “for that old school touch”. Craig’s friends are suggesting that he call his light blue 1986 BMW e28 520i, The Loveboat. In both cases it’s safe to say that the vehicles, like good blues players, are built for comfort not speed.
When asked why he went for a retro Beemer, Blaine says: “I wanted something new to the scene and something different. That’s when I decided on a classic BMW. A few months ago, I just searched for old school BMWs for sale and this is where I came across this beauty on Gumtree.” Blaine adds that it’s not like he has turned his back on Toyota though!
Craig’s attraction began a few years ago when, he says: “My sister’s boyfriend had a mint condition 1985 chrome bumper two-door e30 with the Stance look. It was a real head -turner. That’s how I got to be interested in classic Beemers.”
But here’s the special. Blaine’s is one rare bird for a car. He tells us about the condition, saying, “It has only 79 000km on the clock and the entire car is completely original. The rims are a standard 15-inch BMW rim that was stepped up to a 17-inch with a high polished lip.”
That means there are no engine mods, the only exterior mods are lowered suspension and rims, and everything on the interior is still completely in original condition.
Blaine had to refurbish the sound system after the front loader got stolen while it was delivered on the truck from Joburg to Cape Town, so he bought a new Pioneer bluetooth front loader. The sound system is still original.
Craig has fitted wide wheels (Schnitzers) and a Powerflow exhaust for a lekker sound. He says: “I will change a few other things on the car but intend to keep it looking like a clean classic Beemer.”
We can imagine that driving around in cabbies like these must attract some attention. Turns out it does. Blaine says: “The car is a real head turner. People are always hooting at me and giving me thumbs up. I find it humorous when I’m driving on the freeway and cars are actually speeding up towards me and slowing down when driving next to me just to stare at it. It just brings a smile to my face when people do that, especially older gentlemen.
“The annoying part was that my mother was at first angry when I purchased the car, saying what am I thinking buying such an old car, however, she turned out to like it seeing how many people actually like the car.”
He says it’s a proper gentleman’s car and gives a smooth drive. The only drawback is that “the car is slow, seeing that it’s a 518 but it is light on fuel, which is great since I’m a student”.
Look out for this guy in his BMW F82 M4 one day, while Craig, who says he enjoys a Sunday cruise with the volume turned right up, is looking to be in an M3 one fine day.