UKZN Mechanical Engineering Department on display at Cars in the Park exhibition.

Petrol heads abounded at the annual Cars in the Park exhibition held at Ashburton outside Pietermaritzburg where UKZN Mechanical Engineering students and staff showcased some of their most prized mechanical designs and possessions.

The UKZN display showcased four vehicles – a 1926 Ford Model T, a convertible Ford Mustang, the UKZN Solar Car and a Technology human-powered Pedal Bus. The theme of the stand was Past, Present and Future: Evolution of Technology in Motor Vehicles.

In perfect weather conditions, the national car show attracted more than 1 500 vehicles from across South Africa. There were about 100 stands and individual displays, with around 15 000 people attending.

‘These unique and innovative vehicles tell the story of the evolution of engineering design and transportation over time,’ said Dean and Head of the School of Engineering, Professor Glen Bright.

‘There are 100 years between Ford’s Model T and Mustang, as displayed by the UKZN stand. This clearly represents the amazing advancements humans have made in automotive technology innovation. As we approach Industry 4.0, the Technology Pedal Bus and Solar Car give a glimpse of transportation of the future.’

While the Solar Car, Ford Model T and Mustang were major draw cards at the UKZN stand, it was the Pedal Bus that was the hot favourite with the crowds. The pedal bus is a multi-passenger human-powered vehicle that can be powered by a maximum of 10 cycling passengers, while the steering and braking is controlled by the driver.

‘A big thank you to the Mechanical Engineering workshop staff and students for the effort they put into making this day a success,’ said Bright. 

Words: Steve Camp