Vodacom’s Gusheshe rebuild is iconic in its detail
The true value of something iconic is often seen in its detail. For car collectors, this comes through in the interior.
The true value of something iconic is often seen in its detail. For car collectors, this comes through in the interior. A 1953 Corvette with chrome gauges. A 1934 Bugatti Type 57 with its wooden dash. Or a 2021 Gusheshe with black and white stitching, and the Orlando Pirates logo on the seat headrest.
After months of grinding, painting and rebuilding in the LA Customs workshop in Paarl, Vodacom’s Sisonke Siya Winna Gusheshe is now being finished with an interior that will make it the envy of any fan of this iconic car, and definitely the prized possession of any true Buccaneers supporter.
The lucky Orlando Pirates fan that wins this car will have a collector’s item that with its highly original interior will be able to hold its place alongside most classic car collections. “For the interior of this Gusheshe, we’ve gone with black leather and white stitching, and then the Buccaneers logo on the headrest,” says Gino Lange, the founder and owner of LA Customs. “We’ve kept the interior clean and simple. Attention to detail is key here, and we’ve really brought the Orlando Pirates authenticity into this car.”
A tremendous amount of thought and detail has gone into the seats alone.
“The Gusheshe seat is a more classic-style seat. It doesn’t have the floating headrest and is more in the classic BMW style. But we decided to slightly modify the design of these seats. The original BMW 325i E30 seat had piping in the middle, but my feeling is that the piping gets a bit busy. It’s also often where the seat breaks. So to counter this we’ve gone with the three saddle stitches. I think it makes the seat look cleaner and neater. We also sourced premium leather for the seats.”
But before being able to put these finishing touches on the Gusheshe’s seats, Lange and his team had their work cut out for them just to refurbish the seats of a vehicle that when they’d found it was certainly iconic but in need of plenty of TLC.
“These seats were actually quite twisted and out of shape when we found this vehicle. Sourcing seats like this today is very difficult. I found a set of front seats for the Gusheshe and the cost was R15 000. That’s not even re-upholstered. That’s just in the condition they were in and still needing to be upholstered. So we stripped the original seats down completely and reshaped them.”
At the heart of the BMW’s seats is a design that sets them apart from any other vehicle, and in their own way makes them iconic. “The Gusheshe seats don’t have much foam in them. They’re that typical BMW seat with more spring and hessian, so it has a bit more bounce to it. A lot of people buy after-market seats and just cover them and put them into a car like this. But that spring and hessian is so iconic of this car.”
Lange also sourced a specialist tradesman to work on the seats alone. “The craftsman we use for our seats knows how to repair them, so he broke them down and reshaped them for us. It’s a delicate process because with seats you have to know and understand the different layers of padding, how to shape them, how to steam them back into place because once you put the leather on them. You’ve got to steam them so the leather actually takes hold of the foam.”
The LA Customs team’s eye for detail has extended to the steering wheel of this car, which has also been personalised for this project.
“The steering wheel has been re-upholstered in a different leather called Alcantara. It’s basically suede but it’s very sought after, especially on a steering wheel. We’ve also added a white line at the top of the steering wheel to show you the centre line when you turn. The logo in the centre of the steering wheel will also be the Orlando Pirates logo, which we’ve inserted with a process called doming which gives it this gel overlay and a 3D look to it.”
The interior of this car wouldn’t be complete without an upgraded sound system, and here the team at LA Customs has brought a true Vodacom touch to this vehicle.
“We’ve installed a killer Focal sound system on the Gusheshe. Focal is made in France and is one of Europe’s top-end sound systems. We’ve gone for a split system, so we have a mid-range speaker and a tweeter and that’s separated by what we call a crossover which separates the different ranges. Then we have a sub-woofer which is your lower end sound that goes in the boot and is fitted in a box. We have door speakers as well. But what I’m really excited about is that we’ve got a custom head unit that interfaces with your phone. So you just clip your handset into it and then you can stream your music through all the popular music apps, which are also supported by Vodacom. I’m so confident about the sound in this car that when you listen to the Buccaneers play on the radio, it’s going to be just like sitting in the stadium.”
Once again, Lange and his team have brought an incredible amount of detail to just the sound system alone.
“Overpowered bass is a problem in a lot of sound systems in cars. Ideally, you want a system that is balanced, so you want to feel the low-end thump of that bass, but you want to hear those high and medium notes as well. It’s a very delicate balance. The installer we’ve used for this sound system is absolutely passionate about sound. He’s done a custom boot install and lighting up the boot as well.
“We’ve had to buy a full new wiring system for this sound system, because the thickness of the wire also dictates the quality of your sound, so you have to spend a little bit more on better wiring. It’s no use having high-end speakers, amplifiers and head units but you have bad wiring. You’ll lose all of that good sound in the wiring. And we have additional capacitors, so you don’t pick up engine sound, as well as additional fuses. Make no mistake, this is a super high-end sound system.”
Every single aspect of this exclusive Sisonke Siya Winna rebuild project has been planned and worked out down to the finest detail.
An icon deserves nothing less.