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Porsche Panamera crowned 2018 SA Car of the Year

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Reader test: Nissan 1800 bakkie

2011-01-20 07:38

GRANDAD? Richard can't imagine putting down this old dog.

Richard Fitzpatrick, Cape Town

I bought this bakkie second-hand many years ago and its “Book of Life” alleges that it’s a 1995 Nissan 1800 but, like some of the women I’ve met, I’m not entirely convinced about her age... It looks and feels older.

It could be compared to your old family dog; the car that is, not the woman. And like your faithful old mutt it leaves its fluids in places that it shouldn’t. Also, you know that soon you will have to start thinking the unthinkable.

But trade-in value is similar to what you would be offered for your back catalogue of Die Campbells CDs and the spec level is best described as “Zimbabwean” - no aircon, no radio, no central locking, no power steering.

Paradoxically, spec a Porsche to this level and they will slap an “RS” badge on its arse and charge you a small fortune for it, figure that one out! So, supercar spec? No! Supercar thirst? Yes! The fuel consumption can be summed up in two words – Herschelle Gibbs…


Mileage is somewhere north of Apollo 11 so to complain about reliability would be harsh but, oi, the engine – it’s had its top off more times than a porn queen. My mechanic doesn’t write Nissan 1800 on the invoice, he writes Pension Fund.

Not surprisingly, power isn’t too readily available either. I’ve never been one for figures when it comes to kiloWatts and torque but it’s fair to say my toaster pushes out more power and I once met a Trappist monk who had more torque. You would hope that the engine might have a nice melodic note to even out this lack of power; well, on a scale of 1-10, it scores a Steve Hofmeyer. So no, it’s not good there either.

On the road the ride could best be called jumping castle. The steering is oil tanker-like direct and the gearbox is as precise as stirring your morning tea but there’s something about having a car for many years. It’s like your old dog; get out the lead and it's always willing. Load this bakkie until it’s groaning and it’s still keen to get out there, it struggles up hills just like your old dog, but it gets there.

Sometimes it’s not about having the newest, fastest or shiniest car in town, it’s about the years you’ve spent together getting to understand the eccentricities. Like Old Faithful, you will it to keep going and you know that it can`t go on for ever, but just because something is old it doesn`t mean you have to get rid of it.

I mean, ask yourself, would you have your grandad put down just because he’s getting on a bit?

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