Publishing Editor, Classic Car Africa
Motoring and the Media
Classic cars and the media go hand in hand. Not only do publications rely on dealers and individuals advertising their machines but the unique stories that surround so many of these cars provide wonderful content. It’s a case of one hand washes the other and keeps the movement alive. The media also provides a brilliant tracking device that often echoes the sales graphs as they chart which vehicles are trending, who the buyers are and what they do with the cars.
Classic Car Africa - South Africa’s only dedicated classic motoring magazine – has over the years adapted to suit the changing market and arrival of social media. Editor Stuart Grant gives an insight into what vehicles the readers want to see featured, how choosing the correct image directly influences the off-the-shelf sales, in what way to market to the current classic car fraternity and how it provides a measuring stick for those looking to invest in cars.
Daily exposure to old cars puts him in the position to talk about whether or not classics should be driven frequently, the maintenance and storage pros and cons as well as looking at alternatives to the big money investment cars.
Stuart was born into the world of classic cars – his father was a car nut who used to drive the kids to school in a Triumph TR3. Stuart started racing in a Triumph TR3, followed by a Mk1 Ford Cortina and occasional stints in the one-off Protea Triumph. His racing track record includes a Ford Mustang, MG B, Marcos, Cooper Bristol, GSM Dart, Chevy Camaro, Lotus Formula Ford, Mercedes-Benzes, MG Specials and even a Pursang Bugatti. Stuart’s foray into road classics began with a BMW 2002 that cost R5000. Then came a few more 2002s, a Ford Capri, Alfa Romeo Alfetta, Triumph 2000, Mini GTS, Renault 10 and Alfa GT Junior. He has a ‘modern’ but for the most part it stays in the garage – he believes there’s no better way to preserve a classic than to drive it daily.
With no formal training, Stuart kicked off his media career writing motorsport press releases before taking up a position testing modern cars for a contemporary motoring publisher that owned Classic Car Africa. In 2005 he took on the role of editing this bi-monthly magazine, before teaming up with a partner in 2007 to purchase the dying classic. Together they grew it into a 100-page high-gloss offering that is distributed nationally in major retail outlets. A new partner came on board in 2015 and despite a decline in printed media, growth in this niche has seen the magazine evolve to a monthly offering, distributed in both digital and hardcopy format. By focusing on South Africa’s unique motoring history it has also found favour abroad and is now sold globally.
The large support base and continuous need to be on the ground means Stuart regularly comes into contact with a vast number of classic owners and cars, and understands the ups and downs of the game.