Vodacom revs up a loud, proud Gusheshe beast for Buccaneers fans
Loud. In your face. Dependable. That’s your typical Orlando Pirates fan. It’s also exactly what made the Gusheshe one of the most iconic cars in the townships.
In November last year, Vodacom tasked the team at LA Customs in Paarl with the job of searching South Africa for the right Gusheshe that would be perfect for an exclusive custom-rebuild in the colours of Orlando Pirates, and for one lucky fan to win as part of their Sisonke Siya Winna campaign.
At the heart of that rebuild is the iconic BMW 325i E30 engine – a 6-cylinder beast that personifies the Buccaneers spirit and which gives this Gusheshe its classic sound.
“The thing that made this engine so popular was that German precision and excellence behind it. It was known to be able to handle hard work and be dependable,” says Gino Lange, the founder of LA Customs, who has been waiting for this exact moment to put this engine back where it belongs.
“We’ve painted the Gusheshe in that classic black Buccaneers colour, we’ve selected the right rims and tyres for it, and the next step was to drop that engine in and get this baby started.”
But to reach this point with the engine was a significant challenge for the team.
“When we sourced this Gusheshe, the body was still in a good condition but we knew the engine needed some work. Vodacom and Orlando Pirates expect the best, so we reached out to my good friend and engine expert Vito Marzocco, who helped us strip down the motor completely and refurbish it.”
It was across town in Marzocco’s workshop where the beating heart of this Gusheshe was lovingly restored by using the latest technology, including precision injector machine cleaning, to ensure its optimal performance for the lucky fan that will win this car.
“This has been a complete rebuild of this engine. The challenging part is sourcing the parts to rebuild an engine like this. But I’ve personally overseen the work that’s gone into this engine and it’s going to be amazing. When you start this engine up you’re going to hear that classic 6-cylinder purr. That is the most iconic thing on this engine – the sound and the way it revs,” says Marzocco, who can’t hide his own admiration for the Gusheshe.
“You know, from the start of the so-called Group C era of cars, this car was a dominant car and an icon in South Africa. The German technology that went into this engine was phenomenal.”
Lange has personally witnessed the precision and care that has gone into recreating a mechanical masterpiece for this Gusheshe, from the long hours and late nights spent taking the engine apart piece by piece, laying it all out on workbenches, and then meticulously restore each part.
“All the pistons have been redone. We needed new high-compression pistons and they were a real challenge to find, but we got them. We replaced the crankshaft, which was just as hard to source. Fortunately, we found somebody who had one and was saving up to use it in a rebuild project of his own, but he then decided to sell it to us. We’ve also cleaned up the intakes and so much more.
“This engine rebuild had its challenges, but we’ve mastered it. When we put this new engine into the Gusheshe, it will be as if it came from the factory and in showroom condition. In fact, I think it may even run better.”
For Lange, there is no more perfect match in terms of the Gusheshe’s engine, its iconic sound, and the Orlando Pirates fans.
“Orlando Pirates is a loud and bold team, and the Gusheshe is equally rough and raw and in your face. It’s a performance car that’s out to make a noise. In my opinion, the two of them match up perfectly.”