Classic car fans look away now - nine irreplaceable historic vehicles, including the last Beetle built on the Volkswagen South Africa production line in 1978, were damaged beyond repair after a car carrier transporting them overturned while travelling from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, according to a local report.

A Port Elizabeth paper, the Herald, said on its website that the VW and Audi vehicles were on their way back to VWSA's refurbished auto pavilion museum in Uitenhage.

Among them was a 2002 T3 microbus, the last to be built in Uitenhage, a 1958 Beetle, the 1978 Beetle, a 1979 Passat, a 1970 Audi 90, a 1973 Audi 100S, a 1975 Audi Coupe, and a 1959 Beetle, the report said.

VWSA communications general manager Bill Stephens told the Herald that the accident happened on Tuesday morning near Albertinia as the cars were coming back from Cape Town where they had been part of a display during the VWSA 55th anniversary celebration. The cars had been displayed at the Groote Schuur Manor House where a celebratory dinner was held.

Stephens reportedly said the cars could not be replaced because each was unique in the history of VWSA, representing an exact milestone.

"This is the worst that could have happened because if they were new cars they could be replaced - we can't replace these ones. This is a great loss for us," he told the paper.

Stephens added that VWSA was going to look for similar models and restore these when found.