• Driven the equivalent of 37 times around the Earth
AN SA BAKKIE STORY: Survived a bullet to its engine block, resisted an attempted theft and hi-jacking... Brian Kannemeyer's Nissan Hardbody has a seen a lot in SA over the course of 1.5-million kilometres! Image: Motorpress
• Regularly towed 750kg up to 15,000km per month
• Survived a shot to its engine block
• Resisted an attempted theft and hi-jacking
Rosslyn - Brian Kannemeyer is very proud of his 2.4i Nissan Hardbody affectionately named 'Madam'.
His venerable bakkie has racked-up 1 500 000km on its odometer. Kannemeyer has been witness to every kilometre behind his Nissan for last 14 years.
To put it into perspective, the distance 'Madam' travelled equals 37 trips around the earth driven at the equator.
Part of the family
Kannemeyer, his wife Tamara and their family picked out then new white Nissan Hardbody 2.4i 16v Double Cab following the bakkie's official launch in 2002. In their excitement, they added a host of extras resulting in few more days to its eventual delivery.
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Kannemeyer: “When we finally picked up our new Hardbody, we promptly took it on a round trip across South Africa, touching base in Johannesburg, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth before returning home with our new pick-up.
"On our trip around the country, we caused quite a stir among motorists who had not seen the Hardbody yet and who could not believe the pace of this 2.4i engine."HAPPY CAMPER: Brian Kannemeyer posing proudly with his beloved 'Madam'. Image: MotorPress
Tour of SA
A tour of South Africa was only the start of many long trips for the Kannemeyer’s Hardbody. The bakkie became Brian’s "home away from home" as he travelled South and Southern Africa with his shop-fitting business.
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Brian said: "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."
On these work-trips, Brian would load the Hardbody and trailers up to four metres long with the maximum payload allowed, easily covering 3000km on a single trip and 12 000km 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 perform the major services. Kannemeyer also tuned his Hardbody on a dynamometer every two years to make sure everything was working perfectly.
Gallery: Is this SA's toughest Nissan Hardbody?
Kannemeyer did not achieve 1 500 000km 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.
'Suddenly the tyre burst'
Kannemeyer said: "I also vividly remember three tyre blowouts, 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. Suddenly the tyre burst, but the Hardbody handled it like a pro and I could bring it to a safe stop. Driving skills certainly played a role, but the Hardbody instilled a sense of confidence that has never failed."
On the mechanical side, the 2.4 litre engine of Brian’s Nissan Hardbody remains unopened and is still performing well, despite the distance it covered. Over time, mechanics have replaced the throttle chamber and alternator, while they also replaced two worn gearboxes over its lifetime. Recently, Kannemeyer 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 and the seats re-upholstered.
Kannemeyer said: “To Nissan, who assembled Madam, you did it with tons of love and care and respect for the finer details. We have been blessed with an amazing vehicle, our Madam, and we thank you!”