1.5-million Isuzu KB bakkie
4x4, Motoring News, off-road

Real roadrunner: Desert-deliveries Isuzu racks up 1.5-million km

LES STEPHENSON

1.5-million Isuzu KB bakkie
OLD BUSINESS PARTNERS: Gerhard du Toit and his long-distance Isuzu KB bakkie. Image: GM South Africa

OUDTSHOORN, Western Cape – ‘Around the World in 40 Days’ is a famous story and movie but ‘Around the World 40 times (or at least very close to that) in 20 Years’ has yet to be written.

Should it be, it could be be based on Gerhard du Toit’s South African-built Isuzu KB bakkie.

Here in the heart of South Africa’s Ostrichland, Gerhard du Toit’s (very) trusty 1996 KB has racked up 1.5-million kilometres and, he says, “is still running smoothly” as the backbone of his Roadrunner courier service.

1.5 million km Isuzu
DESERT DELIVERIES: Gerhard du Toit does his run through the Karoo desert twice a day. Image: GM South Africa

As 1 500 000km is 37.5 times around Earth’s Equator, the bakkie brand’s motto ‘Isuzu delivers’ certainly holds true. The Corner hopes to hear from him, or Isuzu, should the bakkie make it to the magic 40 laps and even, perhaps, two million clicks.

Du Toit told The Corner in a media release: “My brother bought the bakkie in 1997, a demo model that had covered only 7000km. When I retired in 2003 I needed a reliable vehicle to start my courier business so I decided to buy my brother’s Isuzu.”

It’s a decision he’s never regretted. “Despite its age the bakkie has helped me to run my business for many years. I travel between Oudtshoorn and George twice a day, every day.”

Oudtshoorn, for those of you who’ve never been there, has a harsh climate. It’s on the Olifants (Elephants) River in the dry and dusty semi-desert called the Karoo where the temperature can range from 40+C to below freezing, dust storms are not infrequent and storm flooding a threat.

Du Toit knows well that regular maintenance service is vital. “I made sure the bakkie was fully serviced every 10 000km with genuine Isuzu parts. I might not be able to take it on the Dakar Rally but I have complete faith that it will take me where I need to be, and back, without any problems.”

NO PLANS FOR A TRADE-IN

The truck, he adds, is “still in excellent condition and running on all its original parts” 20 years after it left the production line at the General Motors assembly plant in Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s eastern coast..

He doesn’t plan to trade it in any time soon… who knows, it might make it to two million kilometres. Especially as its owner admits to speaking nicely to it every day.

“We have a good understanding,” Du Toit chuckled, “and an agreement that our relationship will last for years to come.”

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