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Mpiti Sports, Ford GT & Willie Hepburn, Midvaal South Africa


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#1 zakeriath

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 10:56

Whilst in South Africa last week I called in at the historic races, being held at the Midvaal race track near Johannesburg> One of the cars racing was this Mpiti sports car. It was built in 64 and was supposed to be the first of 10, but this was the only one built. The team that built it was part of the Alpine group, basically to add to the Renault stable. This car has been in storage for the last 30 years and was bought and raced by Dennis McBeath this year. It has won the pre 66 sports and GT historic championship this year.

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They also had this GT 40, continuation in the same race, but sadly did not last the first lap

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I also had the opportunity to catch up with Willie Hepburn, one of South Africa`s best drivers over the last 45 years.

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#2 Jeff Weinbren

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 02:15

Pretty sure the MPITI was built by Terry Townsend??
Jeff




#3 Hieronymus

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 15:22

Very nice photos and interesting comments. I agree with Jeff in that Terry built the Mpiti in his workshop. It was completed in 1967 and was powered by a Renault GORDINI 1100cc engine. Body was naturally made out of glassfibre.

Not sure where ALPINE comes into the picture. I know that Alpine ran a works A210 for Depailler/Grandsire at the Kyalami 9h race in 1967. At the time there were also folk from Renault's head office in South Africa to look at the local motoring market. I doubt, though, if Jean Redele had any connection or even knowledge of this little car. Will be interesting to hear more, though...



#4 zakeriath

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 17:57

The Alpine comment came from some gentleman who was standing next to the car and gave a very comprehensive history of the car to me, and all I can remember it was to be the first of ten to be built, and was conviced by the Alpine group to use Renault engines.

Regarding the year of manufacture, the chassis plate on the car was stamped with a 1964 manufacturing date, also the program states a 64 year of manufacture.

Edited by zakeriath, 30 October 2011 - 17:57.


#5 D-Type

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 19:57

Were does the name Mpiti come from? I think it is translates as 'hyena' but I'm not certain.

#6 Hieronymus

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 18:37

Were does the name Mpiti come from? I think it is translates as 'hyena' but I'm not certain.


I think it is a Zulu word for a Duiker ...a small antelope. Look at the badge.