For supercar owners, the opportunity to travel to a holiday home, a second home or a satellite work base from where to run their business affairs is essential… as is having their supercar in purring form all revved up and ready to roll. Such owners might almost say that this is priceless—but, of course, what they would mean is that it is worth the price!
Residents of the luxury The Crystal hotel in Camps Bay enjoy Panoramic views of the Atlantic and spectacular sunsets from every apartment, with a price point in the region of R60 000 per square metre should you choose to purchase one of the units. These owners also never have the frustration of coming to Cape Town and being denied the opportunity to cruise Camps Bay’s palm-tree-lined main drag or chicane around Chapman’s Peak’s bend. Why the special treatment for them? Well, quite literally they get special treatment from what some are calling the horse-power hotel, or the supercar motel—and the groomsman behind the spit and polish is a young man called Byron van As.
Byron was brought in to care for the residents’ supercars shortly after this unique club was formed, and it’s hard to think of someone better suited to the job. By the age of 12 he had already built his first car, a Ford Capri. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place, however, when he revealed that he first started working on cars at the age of 8. His eyes fairly gleam when you talk supercars—or any cars, and if I owned the keys to a supercar I would want Byron grooming her throughout the year.
When you gaze across at all these magnificent machines lined up in long rows you get the sense of staring at a stable of powerhouse horses. However, aside from the pure spectacle of it, there’s also the history that grips your imagination. Some vintage speedsters were in the Club that day, but what gave us the biggest thrill was resting a palm on the hands of a Perana Z-One series— as it is one of only seven in the world, and it was made up the road (if you’re driving a supercar) in Port Elizabeth. It’s a highly sought-after collector’s item.
Mind you, in terms of major thrills, it would have had to be the little red Fiat 500 that was parked deferentially to the side of some of the big car names. Small and submissive in appearance, I was wondering why Byron was smiling as he walked over to it, opened its dinky door and put the key in the ignition.
It looked like a little Fiat, but under the hood was a Ferrari engine – and what a sweet scream of sound it was. The Abarth-fettled 695 Tributo Ferrari limited edition is not so much a collector’s piece as a collector’s delight, and the comfy bucket seats and incredible detailing inside makes it a real party piece.
Safe as a house of cars
There is naturally 24-hour security with a plentiful spread of CCTV cameras to safeguard the garage filled with supercars, not to mention the 24-hour safe in which Byron keeps all the keys. On a vehicular level, he takes care of the cars by attaching trickle charges to them as well as working slowly and deliberately in order to minimise the chance of any electrical wires scraping the bodywork. Primarily, though, he ensures that they are kept spick and span and always ready for use, which his exactly what a supercar owner would want.
Even the engines all looked brand new thanks to his methodical touch. Of course, this is more than just a Lah-di-dah rest-stop for cars, it also serves as upmarket accommodation for the drivers.
“We manage a number of apartments in The Crystal and our chairman happens to be a car fanatic—he is incredibly passionate about cars. He owns a number of apartments here and one day he started to park his vehicle here, and then so did a number of other owners,” said Chantel Wessels of The Crystal.
He was suddenly struck with the idea of starting a car club based on exclusively and only for owners of apartments in The Crystal.
“All of a sudden we had quite a number of guests who started to bring their flashy cars around,” Chantel smiled.
The Crystal Car Club was started because owners had their prized leisure vehicles… but yet they had no-one to look after them. When the chairman brought Byron in to oversee the garage he could see he was made of the right stuff, so he handed all his cars over to Byron, who took ownership of the club and has never looked back since.
“After a while we looked at offering a whole range of car services so that we would take care of the key, do battery checks, check if the car has a leak and basically just keep it in tip-top shape,” said Chantel. “But Byron is such a star with cars. He actually drove my car the other day and, afterwards, he told me, ‘Do you know that your discs might need replacing?’ and I was like, ‘Whoa! No I didn’t.”
“If you take a car for a drive you can feel everything that’s wrong with it—it’s just something that you pick up over time,” said Byron, who grew up watching his mechanic father working on car engines.
While most of us know what it’s like to charge a normal car battery, with supercars it’s a whole different ballgame. Byron showed us a number of batteries, and all were located deep inside the supercar engines.
You would need to strip half of the car down just to slide your leads into place for a charge. However, with so many supercars under his wing, Byron has installed a special charger adapter that makes it easier to keep the cars juiced up and ready to roll when their owners come calling.
Village n Life consists of a group of independent hospitality establishments and tourism-related commercial ventures. The Executive Directors and their specialised departments provide support to the business units in terms of new ventures, strategic matters, marketing, sales, human resources, facilities management, finance and administration. It also manages around 60% of the apartments in
The Crystal with as much care and attention to detail as Byron lavishes on the cars in his Club. Owners and guests at The Crystal can have their apartment dusted and polished, windows washed, linen changed and they can even have their shopping done and be welcomed by a well-stocked fridge to their exact specifications.
All in all, one would have to describe The Crystal experience as all-round Super!