Vodacom’s iconic cars are ready to find two lucky drivers
A project that began with Vodacom’s brief to rebuild two iconic vehicles in the colours and style of two iconic football clubs is now complete.
As he sits down on an orange couch in his workshop in Paarl with a sigh of relief, Gino Lange of LA Customs cannot believe what he’s been a part of over the past four months of his involvement with Vodacom’s Sisonke Siya Winna campaign.
“I think we have achieved what we wanted. It’s been so rewarding to get both of these cars to this point,” he says of a project that has been a ground-breaking one for South African football.
On the workshop floor below him, stand the two vehicles that are a monument to hundreds of hours of hard work and sweat, a bit of stress and frustration, and now finally a lot of relief and satisfaction. The Orlando Pirates-styled Gusheshe and the Kaizer Chiefs-themed Kentucky Rounder are now both finished.
A project that began with Vodacom’s brief to LA Customs in the first week of December 2020 to rebuild these two iconic vehicles – the BMW E30 and Toyota Twincam GLi Sprinter – in the colours and style of these two iconic clubs, and which will then be given away to two lucky fans from each club, is now complete.
“It’s so satisfying and there is a tremendous sense of pride at being a part of history with two such iconic cars and the two iconic football clubs they represent,” says Lange.
“It’s been very cool to be part of something that’s a first like this. A lot of companies do giveaways of new cars, but nobody has gone and done a classic car giveaway of two South African icons like this like Vodacom has done.
As a lifelong car enthusiast, there’s no doubt that this rebuild project has been the most epic journey he has embarked upon – from scouring the countryside looking for two suitable vehicles, to completely stripping them down to nothing but their bare chassis, and then painstakingly rebuilding them and searching far and wide for parts, rewiring them, repainting them and remodelling them in the style of both football clubs. All in the tight time frame of four months.
“It’s been a learning curve. For all the stress, to see the cars done compared to what they came in as, is very rewarding. From what we started with to where we are now has been a very cool journey.
“There were a lot of late nights, that’s for sure. On one occasion we started at 6am the one day, worked through the night and went home at 6pm the next day. I watched the sunrise from our workshop. Our spray man, Brent, fell asleep in the spray booth as I went out to buy us some Red Bulls.”
Then there was that frightening moment when, after completely rebuilding the Gusheshe engine, the unthinkable happened. “It didn’t start. We sat there stunned. I have a photo where eight of us, including the head technician who rebuilt the engine, are standing staring at a computer screen trying to figure out why it wouldn’t start. Then we realised we had simply put the spark plugs in the incorrect order. It was such a small thing. We quickly changed the order and it started like a dream.”
And the lowest point?
“That was definitely the day my business partner Bradley told me he had phoned the entire country and couldn’t find a crank and pistons for the Gusheshe. ‘There just aren’t any,’ he said to me. We sat there for a moment thinking, ‘Now what?’.”
But, as Lange puts it, they made a plan. “You take things apart, you put them together, and if you can’t you make a plan.”
And now here he sits, going through the final checklist of two iconic vehicles that will soon be loaded onto a truck and transported to Gauteng.
“These are very rare and desirable cars. You know, when we test drove them, we’d pull up at a petrol station and out of nowhere you’ve suddenly got eight or 10 people crowding around the car asking you all sorts of questions about it,” says Lange.
Vodacom’s project has created such a buzz online that, shortly after one of the Sisonske Siya Winna videos was posted, LA Customs received a phonecall from a customer who watched it and brought them his own BMW E30 for the full Gusheshe customisation.
“The street cred we’ve gained from being part of this project is insane. On our own private channel we posted a video of our first liquid wrap of a car. We were so proud of this. But the most comments we received was about the Gusheshe standing in the background of the video. People were going crazy about seeing it.”
Lange has his own special wish for the outcome of this Vodacom Sisonke Siya Winna campaign.
“This campaign is so perfectly in touch with the nostalgia of that era in South African football and what people grew up with. I actually hope both of these cars end up in the hands of worthy winners who bleed the colours of their respective clubs, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, because that would be really cool for me. You know, these cars on their own in that time weren’t cool anywhere else in the world. But in South Africa, we made these cars our own. We made them cool. It was a fantastic initiative by Vodacom to do it this way.”
And so will come the day when two cars Lange has lived and breathed and dreamt about for the past four months will leave his workshop for the last time. He plans to hold a little celebration with this team. And then he’s going to sleep.
“They are due to be shipped out of here on a Thursday. I think I’ll probably go to sleep that night and wake up again on Sunday.”
And he’ll no doubt dream of a Gusheshe and a Kentucky Rounder, and his own place in South African football history.
Stand a chance to win one of these iconic vehicles
To stand a chance to win one of these incredible vehicles, fans from both teams simply need to visit the Vodacom now! blog. Entries close on 1 June 2021.
Kaizer Chiefs fans will get to double their entries when they connect and recharge with KC Mobile and for Bhakajuju fans, all they have to do to double their entries is to download the Orlando Pirates Official App.