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Is this South Africa’s toughest bakkie?

Nissan Hardbody a beloved family member of the Kannemeyers after 1,5 million kilometres on the clock.

Brian Kannemeyer is very proud of his 2.4i Nissan Hardbody, called ‘Madam’, not only for the fault-free 1 500 000km on the odometer, but also for the fact that he was witness to every single kilometre driven in it over the last 14 years. Is this South Africa’s toughest bakkie? To put it into perspective, the distance Madam covered equals 37 trips around the earth driven at the equator.

Brian Kannemeyer is very proud of ‘Madam’, SA's toughest bakkie
Brian Kannemeyer is very proud of ‘Madam’, his 2.4i Nissan Hardbody.

Kannemeyer, his wife, Tamara, and the family picked up the brand new white Nissan 2,4-litre Hardbody Double Cab at the dealership.

“We immediately took it on a round trip across South Africa, touching base in Johannesburg, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth before returning home,” says Brian.

The quick roundabout tour of South Africa was only the start of many long journeys for the Kannemeyers.

The quick roundabout tour of South Africa was only the start of many long journeys for the Kannemeyers. This trusted bakkie became Brian’s home away from home as he travelled across South and southern Africa with his shop-fitting business.

“I regularly travel for work, and I am back and forth between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and even as far as the Limpopo Province. I also travel to Namibia regularly, and Madam and I often visit Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, Swakopmund and even as far as the Angolan border for work,” says Brian.

On these work-trips, Brian would load the Hardbody and hook up trailers up to 4m long with the maximum payload allowed, easily covering 3 000km on a single trip and 12 000 to 15 000km in a single month.

Despite his tough travel schedule, Brian has never missed a scheduled service – which was required almost every month – up to 300 000km. Thereafter, he and his sons would regularly change oil and consumables, while trusting the qualified mechanics at their local dealer to do the major services.

Madam (the toughest bakkie) has had some wiring ripped from her by a log in the middle of the N3

But 1 500 000km do not all roll by without incident. Madam has had some wiring ripped from her by a log in the middle of the N3. She was once hit by a stray bullet that grazed the engine compartment and she survived an attempted theft in the Kannemeyer’s driveway, as well as an attempted hijacking on one of Brian’s many trips.

“I also vividly remember three tyre blowouts, none of which caused her to swerve or sway.

Brian’s Nissan Hardbody remains unopened and is still performing well

On the mechanical side, the 2,4- litre 16-valve engine of Brian’s Nissan Hardbody remains unopened and is still performing well, despite the distance it covered. Over time, the mechanics at Nissan have replaced the throttle chamber and alternator, as well as two worn-out gearboxes. Only recently, Brian replaced the manifold and its branches, while the suspension has required no attention, even after so many miles of carrying heavy loads.

And to celebrate 1,5 million kilometres? Well, only the best is good enough for Madam, so she was resprayed in her original colour, while the seats, having worked overtime on Brian’s many long trips, were re-upholstered. Once done, Brian could not wait to hit the road again on his next shop-fitting assignment in his trusted companion.

 

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Tristan Wiggill
Seasoned writer, journalist, photographer, and editor.
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