She might be old, but all heads turn when she does. Those unmistakable curves, the way she moves, that glint and glow. It’s rude to stare but when she slides by, but you can’t really help it, can you?
You probably realise that we’re describing a vintage car here.
Older cars from decades back have such beautiful and idiosyncratic shapes and sounds, and we’d like to introduce you to the lady bringing them back to life.
In September 2020, Business Insider SA met Nosipho Kholutsoan, a car restorer turned entrepreneur and self-made businesswoman.
Nosipho is 39, lives in the Eastern Cape and has been sharing her incredible handiwork with the world since she launched Lereku Trading Classic Cars.
She was inspired by a TV show and funded by a loan from her supportive husband.
The first car she restored was a Pontiac, 1947 model. It was rusted and it took her two years and R2,000 to bring back to its original beauty. “This was very, very difficult because it had a lot of rust. I still had financial problems, so I had to borrow more money to buy some parts in order to continue with the process,” she told Business Insider SA.
Fast forward to today, and Nosipho employs four people, owns 20 vintage cars, and commands profits upwards of R50,000 per year. Together with creativity, craftswomanship, and pluckiness, support from loved ones and a business-focused educational programme helped pave the way to her growing success and independence.
“My husband was a mechanic,” she explains to Business Insider SA, “I used to help him, so I‘ve learnt a lot from him.”
Small Business Academy, a program in Stellenbosch University which assists small businesses in rural areas, helped her develop her business model.
Nosipho has carved a niche for herself in a car market that has been struggling with global lockdown and the economic fallout of the pandemic for months.
“I love working with vintage cars because it is a unique project, and I also started my business because it is something unique. It doesn’t have a lot of competition,” she said. There are online sources like Sedgefield Classic Cars and Classic Cars Online, but it’s Lereku Trading that boasts the restoration skills of a self-made woman.
This budding businesswoman’s focus is youth development and she has a strong desire to empower the province’s youngsters who have kids to care for.
Next time you see a sleek set of wheels from yesteryear shining by on the road, it may well be Nosipho’s touch that turns your head.
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