Nissan’s toughest nails 1 500 000km across Africa

  • Hardbody goes equivalent of 37 times around Earth
  • Regularly towed 750kg up to 15 000km per month
  • Survived a shot to its engine block
  • Is this the toughest bakkie in South Africa?
Nissan Hardbody racks up 1.5-million
WORKING BAKKIE: This Nissan Hardbody and its owner Brikan Kannemeyer have racked up 1.5-million  Image: Motorpress / Nissan SA

ROSSLYN, South Africa – Brian Kannemeyer is very proud of his 2.4i Nissan Hardbody, “Madam”, not only for the fault-free 1 500 000km on the odometer but also for the fact that he was witness to every kilometre driven in it over the past years.

“To put it into perspective, Nissan told The Corner, “the distance Madam travelled equals 37 trips around the earth driven at the equator.”

The Nissan’s long-distance data equals that of a South African-built 1996 Isuzu KB bakkie owned by Outshoorn’s Gerhard du Toit in March 2016.and – at the time of the report – “is still running smoothly”. Kannemeyer’s bakkie, however, covered the distance in only six years.

FIRST JOB: A TRIP AROUND SOUTH AFRICA

Kannemeyer, his wife Tamara, and family picked out the then new white Nissan Hardbody 2.4i 16v Double Cab from Schus Nissan in Goodwood, Cape Town, just after the model’s official launch in 2002. They added a number of extras to the order which meant a few days’ wait…

“When we finally picked up our new Hardbody, we promptly took it on a round trip around South Africa, taking in Johannesburg, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth before returning home to Cape Town with our new pick-up,” Brian said.

Nissan Hardbody racks up 1.5-million
THREE GEARBOXES – but only one unopened engine in the 1.5-million km Nissan Hardbody . Image: Motorpress / Nissan SA

“On our trip around the country we caused quite a stir among other rod users who had not seen the Hardbody yet and who could not believe the pace of its 2.4i engine.”

The round tour of South Africa was only the start of many for the Kannemeyers’ Hardbody. For Brian it became his home-from-home as he travelled southern Africa for his shop-fitting business.

FOUR-METRE TRAILERS

“I regularly travel for work, back and forth between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and even as far as 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,” he said.

On these work-trips he would load the Hardbody and trailers up to four metres long with the maximum payload allowed, easily covering 3000 km on a trip and 12 000 to 15 000km a 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 regularly changed oil and consumables while trusting the qualified mechanics at their local dealer to do the major services. Brian also tuned his Hardbody on a dynamometer every two years to make sure everything was working perfectly.

Nissan Hardbody racks up 1.5-million
SERIOUSLY LONG-DISTANCE BAKKIE: The Kannemeyer bakkies cabin has had a sprucing up after 1.5-million km. Image: Motorpress / Nissan SA

But 1 500 000km – nearly a million miles – 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 blow-outs, none of which caused the Hardbody to swerve or sway. In one incident I was travelling from Port Elizabeth with a loaded trailer. It was raining heavily and visibility was very poor.,” he recalled. “Suddenly a tyre burst, but the Hardbody handled it like a pro and I stopped safely. Driving skill certainly played a role but the Hardbody instilled a sense of confidence that has never failed.”.

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On the mechanical side, the 2.4 engine remains unopened and is still performing well. Over time, the mechanics at Nissan have replaced the throttle chamber and alternator, while they also replaced two worn gearboxes. Only recently, Brian replaced the exhaust manifold; the suspension has required no attention, even after so many miles of carrying heavy loads.

And to celebrate? Well, only the best is good enough for Madam, so she  was resprayed in her original colour, the seats were re-upholstered. Once done, Brian could not wait to hit the road again on his next shop-fitting assignment.

“To Nissan, who assembled Madam, you did it with tons of love and care and respect for the finer details. We’ve been blessed with an amazing vehicle, our Madam, and we thank you!”

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