WATCH | The 50-seater plane that found its home next to the N1 highway

20 July 2020 - 13:51
By Anthony Molyneaux and Esa Alexander

Along the N1 highway, 30km out of Cape Town, there's a 50-seater aeroplane perched on steel pillars, pointed south.

The plane has become a landmark for Western Cape motorists, but how did it get there?

The 1950s Convair 580 was bought by Les Boshoff, 86, a retired property developer, from a Nigerian aviation firm called SkyJet Aviation Services in 2017. The idea was for the plane to act as an advertisement for Boshoff's car museum.

After buying the plane for an undisclosed fee, Boshoff took it apart at Cape Town International airport and transported it to his Wijnland Auto Museum along the N1.

Over three days the plane was reassembled and, by use of a crane, perched on top of steel pillars.

“If I had known how much work it would take, I would have never done it. But the plane operates as a lovely advertisement for my car museum,” says Boshoff.

Boshoff's museum is home to more than 300 antique vehicles, rare sports cars and rusted old Fords, Chryslers and Chevrolets. Boshoff doesn't make his money from the visitors to his museum but from the film industry.

“You see that rusty old broken-up car over there?” Boshoff says, pointing to one of the hundreds of beaten up cars sitting in the sun. “That's gold.”

By remodelling the old vehicles, Boshoff has cast his cars in Hollywood films such as Ask the Dust starring Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell and even Chinese thrillers looking for scenes of destruction. “I enjoy the process of turning something that people think is of no use into something fascinating,” he says.

The Convair 580 has drawn visitors from around the world, according to Boshoff, and for R100, visitors to the museum can climb the air stairs into the passenger plane, fully kitted out with seats and eating trays, as cars whizz by on the busy highway outside.