Mark calls his love of cars a disease.
Surrounded by 40 odd dusty cars in a huge warehouse, I can see why he jokingly calls it that. Marks eclectic collection ranges from a 1920’s Citroen to a lifted and heavily modified Willys Jeep. But two things are very apparent in his collection – he really loves his 50s American cars, and he really enjoys 4x4ing.
Among the notable cars in his collection, he has two cars that were used in a South African presidential Motorcade, a firetruck from Queenstown, and many, many Jeeps.
Mark’s love of Jeeps grew directly out of his desire to tinker with things. Mark began tinkering with his toys, and overtime progressed from toys to bicycles to motorcycles. Right before he made the leap to full blown automobiles, he worked on old scramblers – fixing them up and riding them out in the desert. So, the progression from dirt bikes to 4x4s was a natural one.
His obsession with 50s American Limos on the other hand is a bit more irrational. Mark himself can’t really piece it together, rather stating that he loves 50’s American cars and their V8 motors. For Mark, the paved byways of civilization aren’t really a place to go wild. Instead, “it’s about being chilled out.”
The key to that feeling of chill is in how those cars are setup. Take for example his 1960 Cadillac Fleetwood limo. It’s the car he drives the most, and in its stock form the car weighs a ton – or well two and a half tons. To get those huge cars up to speed at a reasonable rate, they were equipped with massive V8 motors.
As a result, all you need is slight pressure on the gas and the car will urge forward. No hurry, no frantic engine notes, just a deep cool rumble. And I think that massive power tied to a large chassis is what really attracts him, because he expressed very little interest in pony or muscle cars.
In Mark’s eyes, the only thing that makes a muscle car special is the small chassis. The light weight tied to the large motor allows for the impressive 0-60 times, but “If I wanted a fast car, I’d get a modern small sports car.”
While Mark craves calm on the paved byways of civilization, he almost demands chaos in the wilds. He and his friends regularly go on “bundu bashing” epics where most times, some critical part of someone’s 4x4 doesn’t make it out of the bush intact.
These two facets of the car world seem extremely separate, but in reality, they’re both different statements of power. Taking a heavily modified Jeep into the brush and driving off trail is a declaration of the power over the disorder of nature, while the 50’s land yachts display power in their sheer mass and visual weight.
And what I like about it is that at some level all cars could be considered a statement of power, and most times that power is expressed with sheer speed. However, in the case of Mark, he doesn’t care to display speed – choosing the huge American cars and 4x4s instead. After coming from a speed obsessed country like Japan it’s a little refreshing.
You can see more photos of Mark’s warehouse at the Native Customs Facebook page.