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The History

1968 - 1995

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Ray Butters Car # 16  

Ray races his first car - 1955 Ford in 1968

Briefly switches to a 5L Chrysler in 1970/71

Back to a 56 Ford in 1975

Moves to 4 Cylinders in 1976/77

21 August 2012

How did it all begin

From Ray Butters


Ray Butters, a gentlemanly character  with a sense of decorum and just a nice guy to know. We are so greatly indebted to Ray for his contribution and keen interest in our efforts to preserve some of the greatest moments and highlights that made the Goodwood Oval so special. Ray Butters is a well known and respected personality in motoring circles and has passed on much of his knowledge and experiences in many articles, the most recent being the SA HotRods Magazine article entitled “ The Glory Days Of The Goodwood Oval Stock Cars” Which is  published on this website (see > Those were the Days > Ray’s article)

The car named R Buttercup ( so Ray told me) was actually an attempt to disguise his racing hobby and so doing, hoped that his parents wouldn't find out.  

I have never been particularly famous for my mechanical skills or my motor racing achievements, but none the less I managed to enjoy many years of involvement in the sport with the Cape Hell Drivers. My first competitive events on wheels were in the Wynberg soap box derby’s, where I befriended a fellow competitor and future Hell Driver Bernie McManus. After upgrading to go kart racing for a couple of years and subsequently having got my drivers licence, I began to hanker for something in a bigger League. I happened to speak to Bernie who mentioned that some guys were planning to Start a new stockcar club, and he suggested that I attend a meeting at the Glendower Hotel in Mowbray, where I duely joined the newly formed Cape Hell Drivers under Jack Holloways chairmanship.

I acquired a badly dented 1955 Ford from a chicken farm in Malmesbury for R75.00 and suitably inspired, approached Pick and Pay in Lansdowne (their only branch at the time) for sponsorship. Raymond Ackerman generously agreed to a figure of R25.00 per night and I was ready to go racing. As I did not anticipate my parents being as excited as I was about these new developments, I entered my car under the name of R. Buttercup. Being a fairly docile “engelsman,” I was never quite such an accomplished hooligan as some of my fellow club members, but we still did some crazy things in those days. I used to tow my Ford Fairlane with a rope tied around my little Renault R8’s back bumper, and once pulled my   tow-car all the way from Vredenburg back to Cape Town with my stockcar after having gearbox problems. On another occasion after my Ford had been written off at Goodwood, I noticed an abandoned and unlicensed 1956 Chrysler which had been impounded carrying sheep by the Ottery traffic department. My offer to buy it could not be accepted, but a hint was dropped that if nobody saw it leave then nobody would notice that it had gone. So by the following evening I had a set of wheels for the next weekends race meeting. In those days it was not good for your car’s well-being to get on the wrong side of drivers like Doep or Deon, but suitable V8’s were relatively easy to find and cheap to race. In all I competed in V8 and subsequently 4 cyl.

Saloons for about ten years, spent a year as a marshall, a couple of years as   club treasurer and about ten years commentating alongside Jack Holloway, producing the programs and handling the clubs p.r.o. work .

My very first car - 1955 Ford in 1968

Me and that dreadful “stolen” 1956 Chrysler in 1970/71

Big John Geldenhuys  #75 giving me a hard time in 1970

Runner up Club Championships 1976/77

Referred to as Ray Butters’ well prepared Datsun

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Off the Track

A most interesting feature must surely be Ray’s fine collection of vehicles and of course his vast display of model cars ranging from 1950 stock cars, rare vintage and classics as well as a unique array of old 1950’s peddle cars - a magnificent sight to see for the enthusiast and undoubtedly of great value.


Above - This lineup of old peddle cars is one  Ray’s prized possessions, not only one of a kind, but irreplaceable.

Left - Ray’s unique collection of model cars.

1959 MGA

1955 Chev V8 Apache

1934 Ford Street Rod (no longer in my collection)

Please click on the “full screen” button        bottom right of viewer

Johnny Clifton