There goes the Vintage Man!

  • ModelT1
If you happen to be in the Johannesburg suburbs on the weekend and you hear someone shout, “There goes the Vintage Man”, don’t look for an elderly gentleman. Move your gaze to the road to see the man driving a Model T Ford or another of his collection of working vintage cars.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Nov 16, 2017

The “Vintage Man” is Paul Koski, who may have three young boys, but he certainly can’t yet be construed as “vintage”. Despite his flamboyant cars, Koski is an introverted chartered accountant with a big passion for vintage cars.

His love of these cars began when he was just a little boy, who had many Dinky cars. “I suppose I never really grew out of them. I simply moved onto playing with bigger and more complicated cars,” Koski told the SA Jewish Report.

“Driving a Model T Ford is an acquired art; it is not easy. But when you learn the idiosyncrasies of the planetary gear transmission system, then driving one of these cars becomes most rewarding and gives one a sense of great pleasure,” says this car enthusiast.

“Friends and I built up a 1925 Model T from a base car and other bits and pieces we found. We chose to give it a “paddy wagon” (prisoner transport) van body, suitably sign written.

“I am also in the fortunate position of having the privilege of caring for two other Model T Fords – 1915 and 1919 models – that had been stored in a warehouse for about 15 years before I got them back on the road.

“This situation has enabled me to become fairly proficient in driving these cars with their complicated transmission system. The accelerator is a lever on the steering column, not on the floor. The three pedals on the floor do everything differently when compared to the modern car.

“The pedal on the right is a brake pedal not an accelerator, while the centre pedal, normally a brake on a modern car, is a reverse gear. The left pedal, usually the clutch on a modern car, selects high and low speeds, thus driving and not concentrating can get you into trouble quickly,” explains Koski.

“I believe the special appeal of the Model T Ford comes from mastering the driving technique. Then, of course, it is amazing to be part of history when at the steering wheel of the car that put the world on wheels, with Henry Ford using a moving conveyor line to speed up production and thereby reduce the cost of the car.

“When I became interested in collecting classic cars, about 15 years ago, I started initially with comparatively late models - 1950s and ‘60s - but then switched my allegiance to much older models.

“My current collection includes a 1904 Curved Dash Oldsmobile and a 1909 Star, made in England,” adds Koski, who serves on the committees of the Vintage and Veteran Club and the Southern Africa Veteran and Vintage Association.

Koski says he sees himself as a “fulltime apprentice” who does whatever restoration work he can in terms of his mechanical ability, but when he gets stuck, he calls on the services of his friends, Brian Style and Tony Watson, both of whom are very skilled at working on these old cars.

So, during the week, it is suits and numbers, but any given weekend and holiday down time - when he is not doing family things - is spent on his cars.

“It really does suck my time, but I get so much enjoyment from them. And when we do drive to Parkview or Parkhurst for a coffee on a Sunday, people are fascinated and love to see the cars.”

But as for his two sons, they are far more interested in new cars and if you gave them a choice, “they would much prefer driving around in a brand new Porsche”, says Koski.


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