During the early to late fifties, two friends, both studying Engineering courses at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, had a vision that would affect the lives of countless motoring enthusiasts during the five decades that followed.
Bob van Niekerk and the late Willie Meissner had visions of not only designing but also producing a sports car. This soon became a reality. They formed the GSM company and started manufacturing the first prototype in 1957, with bodywork designed by Vester de Wit.
On the 1st of January 1958, the GSM Dart appeared on the starting line of Cape Town's premier race meeting at Gunners Circle. The car proved to be almost unbeatable. A scant four years later a more sophisticated GT version, the GSM Flamingo saw the light of day.
Both models proceeded to make a name for themselves, not only in South Africa but all over the world. In England the Dart was produced as the Delta, where they proved successful with race wins at Goodwood, Silverstone, Aintree, etc. to the astonishment of many, including Colin Chapman, who could just not understand how such a simple design could beat his Lotus's.
Some 116 GSM Darts were built in S.A. and over 60 GSM Deltas in the U.K, some of which have surfaced lately in Canada. Approximately 128 GSM Flamingos were built in Cape Town.
Last Sunday was Bob van Niekerk's 76th birthday and Derick Thesnaar, slot car body maker extraordinaire (Plasticmac on SlotForum), was invited to his home to spend the day with Bob's family and friends. Derick presented Bob with a 1/32nd scale GSM Dart and a 1/32nd scale Flamingo which he built to commemorate the occasion.
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