Die-hard Polo racks up 1m smiles
WHERE IT ALL STARTED: VWSA MD David Powels hands over a new dashboard cluster to the Esterhuizens for their Volkswagen Polo Classic on the same line that this Polo was produced on in 2004.
A salesman from Soutpan, near Bloemfontein, has driven his 2004 Volkswagen Polo Classic sedan for a million kilometres without accident or mechanical fault.
That's further than a trip to the Moon and back, or to driving around Earth's equator 25 times.
'JUST SIX DASHES'
Gerrie Esterhuizen, 67, said he and his wife Magriet had long wondered what reading the odometer would show once their faithful car reached the million-kilometre mark.
Esterhuizen said: "After 999 999.9 kilometres, the [odometer] just shows six dashes, although the trip meter carries on working."
Volkswagen SA invited Esterhuizen to visit its plant in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape to celebrate his car's achievement. It still, Esterhuizen says, has its original engine and other key parts.
The Esterhuizens kept meticulous records of their Polo's odyssey that had spent most of its life on the roads of the Free State and parts of the Northern Cape, North West and Lesotho.
66 000+ LITRES OF FUEL
"We travel up to 800km a day from our home and back, often spending more than 10 hours on the road while seeing clients, mainly in small towns in our sales territory," Esterhuizen said.
The Esterhuizens clocked up between 8000km and 10 000km per month but in years gone by they often drove more than 12 000km a a month. They estimated that the millionkilometre journey used 66 666 litres of fuel.
"That's an excellent figure of about 700km per 50-litre tank, or 15km/litre. Working out the cost over the years at an average of R8/litre, that's about R533 000 in fuel costs."
Maintenance costs were too low to estimate, he said.
Although the car has required two new fuel pumps, "the engine has never been opened since we bought the car at Alan Hudson Motors in Nelspruit", Esterhuizen said.
"Its clutch, starter, alternator, exhaust system, radiator, and oil pump are all original. I have never experienced such outstanding reliability in any other vehicle I have driven."