Listen to any old driver of a South African bakkie, and they will tell you how reliable and resilient those vehicles were. Like 74-year-old Gerhard du Toit from Oudtshoorn who has clocked over a million kilometres on his Isuzu bakkie.
Having a bakkie with 1.7-million kilometres on the clock is quite an achievement.
Gerhard du Toit compares his relationship with his Isuzu D-MAX (previously known as the Isuzu KB) bakkie, Roadrunner - which is also the name of his courier business based in Oudtshoorn - to a long and prosperous marriage.
"You have to understand that I treat my bakkie very well and talk to my bakkie every day. I ask the bakkie to drive nicely and tell the bakkie that I rely on it, to get me where I need to be,” said an earnest Du Toit.
Do you have an older vehicle still in good running with a very high mileage? Please Email us your story and images, and we will share it.
He uses Roadrunner to travel between Oudtshoorn and George twice a day, every day, for his courier business. This daily commute is through the scenic, yet treacherous Outeniqua Pass with several sharp corners and 90-degree bends.
But it is not the more than 300 kms per day that Roadrunner travels that makes this bakkie a true workhorse: “I stop and start the bakkie between 80 to 100 times per day. This is as I drop off the parcels or pick up parcels at my various clients in the two towns. I have had to replace my front seat covers twice already, but I think Roadrunner may still outlive me one day,” chuckled Du Toit.
Other than his unique and careful driving skills, Du Toit also keeps his bakkie in top condition by never missing or skipping a service.
"That is a given; you do not miss that 10 000km service for anything. Other than the oil and filter changes, wheel alignment and so on, there is never any major problems when I take the bakkie for its service,” he said.
Du Toit, who is 74 years young, has been driving Roadrunner since his retirement over 15 years ago, when he started his courier business. The previous owner of the bakkie was his brother, who first bought Roadrunner in 1997, when it was just a young demo model with only 7000 kilometres on the clock.
Buying Roadrunner was a decision he never regretted.
The D-MAX is Isuzu’s class-leading diesel bakkie that has earned a reputation over more than 40 years for its durability, reliability and capability. It is proudly built at Isuzu Motors South Africa in Port Elizabeth.