Bobby Nitro spoke recently to Thabiet Weir, 45, of Mitchells Plain about his love for Ford and spinning.
Thabiet and his son Raees are the proud owners of these two Ford Escorts, desirable and iconic cars in their raw form, and now given an extra boost of gees by the transplant of Toyota 1jz engines into the bays.
Bluesteel is a two-door Escort Mk2 sport, while McQueen is a four-door Mk2. Asked where he got the name Bluesteel, Thabiet says: “Well, some time ago there was this Courier bakkie on the market that went by the name Bluesteel, and though I knew I could not afford one, I figured I’d take the next best route and name my Escort after it.”
Thabiet has been involved in spinning since the days of the Strandfontein Pavilion and lensman Shahiem Bell thought this historical setting should be featured.
Shahiem says: “Here is where spinning was actually born in South Africa, not like the popular belief that it was born among Soweto gangsters to celebrate the lives of fallen comrades.”
Thabiet, who has been a Ford fan as long as he can remember, made the call to fit the 1jz engines, as these are known to be amenable to spicing up as it were. In fact, his daughter, who is a presence in the workshop, calls the cars “Two times spicy Jz!” Previously he ran a V6 in the Escort.
Building a spin car, he says, means getting a powerful enough engine, gearbox, locking the diff and good brakes. The roll cage is trending now as the engines get stronger, and adds stability.
Thabiet is a co-founder of the Escort Boys Spinning Club, along with his friend, Saber Lawrence.
Thabiet says: “As a matter of fact, we also got Saber’s son started in spin a decade ago.” So yes, there is a definite sense of fathers passing on their passion to their sons.
His son Raees first showed an intense interest in spinning some years back behind the wheel of his dad’s Escort. It was then that Thabiet decided to support his son.
Raees tells Bobby that his favourite thing about spinning is that he gets to learn new stuff. He says: “I learn to fix cars, change wheels and more. And the guy I want to be like one day is Eddie Rasta, with the Ford V6.”
He says his cabbie is called McQueen after his favourite TV show.
Bobby and Thabiet spoke of the fearlessness of the young in this game, and that perhaps it is the role of the father to encourage their boldness, but also to temper their enthusiasm to within the boundaries of safety. There is also a certain respect for the limits and potential of the car to be taught.
He says: “This sport gives our kids a community they can be engaged in, and keeps them off the corners smoking cigarettes. It helps them feel capable, which goes a long way when they want to do something with their lives later on.”
Speaking about the state of spinning in the Cape at the moment, Thabiet says: “Because of Tygerberg closing down in what appeared to be a land grab, we have been set back. That was the one place we could rely on operating as a pitch. There are others, like The Hills.
“Cape Town has been hungry for a dedicated pitch for too many years. Joburg and Kimberley, have their zones and it would be great if we could organise one too.”