During the 1950's three gentlemen, namely Bob van Niekerk, Willie Meissner and Verster de Wit met in a flat in Earls court where they designed the car of their dreams, later to be built in Cape Town and became known as the GSM Dart. Money was becoming a problem so after selling two bodies in England, they brought the mould to SA and set up a company called Glassport Motor Company (Pty) Ltd hence GSM. Two cars were constructed in 1957. They were extensively tested before taking part in their first race at Gunners Circle in Cape Town on the 1st January 1958.
The Dart won in their class, with both Willie and Bob driving. With the mechanical genius of Bob and Willie coupled to Verster's considerable artistic talent the trio built a car equal to the best import if not better. They moved the factory to Bottelary Road near Stellenbosch for more space but eventually moved to Paarden Eiland with much improved facilities. A steady stream of Darts were produced and sold. A need was identified for a more sophisticated GT model and in 19611 the Flamingo was designed and produced. At this stage a factory was opened in England where the Dart was produced as a Delta due to patent rights held by a UK company.
Approximately 125 Darts were built and about 150 Flamingos together with 76 Deltas, up until 1965 when sadly, the factory was closed. These Proudly South African cars were built for almost a decade and became a legend with a reputation of good looks and even more for excellent road holding, ruggedness, safety and reliability, not only locally, but abroad as well. Today, the GSM Car Club of SA proudly assist owners of their cars (THE MOST SUCCESFULL CAR EVER DESIGNED AND BUILT IN SOUTH AFRICA BY SOUTH AFRICANS) that have become collectors items and we are compiling of a register to document and trace the roughly 75% of cars that still exist after 50 years.
The Golden Jubilee of the Dart was celebrated at L'Ormarins in September 2007 where we had 61 GSM Cars. We are hoping to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Flamingo at the same place.
Bob van Niekerk, pictured at his 76th birthday in 2003, with original GSM cars, the Dart in the foreground and a Flamingo behind it, as well as more Darts further along. (Bob passed away on 23 August 2012)
Legenda numquam oblivione delebitur
(A legend never forgotten)
Bob van Niekerk (left) at a race meeting 1950’s