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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Reader Test - VW Kombi Camper

2009-09-02 07:42

Alex Erlank

This is my kombi. She's a 1970-something Volksie Camperkombi and I bought it for the princely sum of R9000. Three of my friends and I decided that the carpark at Stellenbosch University (Yes I am a student: Who else would have a car like this?) looked a little dull with thousands of dilapidated Citi Golfs and rusty Unos, so we decided to bring some colour to the Stellenbosch campus.
The Candyvan, as it was nicknamed, was in a sorry state when we bought it, but thanks to some very cheap (as in student-budget-cheap) adjustments we managed to get the Candyvan road legal! Because we were enthusiastic 2nd-year Engineering students, we decided to overhaul the Candyvan by ourselves.

Luckily, the damage wasn't too bad. We filled in the rusty spots with fiberglass, we fixed the light electronics, we calibrated the idle to run smoothly, we bought a new battery and of course we gave the Candyvan an ultra classy paintjob. The damage - R4000 or 400 beers (depending on whether you're a student or not).

As you can see, the interior is basically a mini house. There is a cupboard, lights, hardy upholstory and sleeping for 6 comfortably. Not exactly 5-star, but as a student it is luxurious enough.
As any restoration enthusiast will know, there is always one more thing to do before a car is perfect. For some, this would be fitting original wheelnuts, or a genuine cigarette lighter. For us, it is a sound system as loud as the styling. Sacrificing Amstel for Black Label should allow this to happen soon enough.
Our campervan has been the 1st choice transport for many dances and weekend camping holidays and she still feels well up to the job of cruising the streets. I wouldn't exactly say it's a dream to drive, but it has only done 25 434km. Although, as some people may know, older cars only had space on the odometer for 5 numbers, so if it were my guess, I'd say it’s closer to 325 434km...
With quite a few, "I think I'll rather walk" and "I don't want to be late" comments coming from the fellow students when offered a lift, the Candyvan had a point to prove. With a 2,0L Toyota Hilux engine at the back, a mate of mine headed out to the freeway to settle an argument once and for all.
We by no means encourage breaking the law, but when fueled by testosterone in bucketfuls, there was little stopping him. He drove past a speed camera at 136,6km/h. Did we get a fine? Yes, but it was a small price to pay for getting the Candyvan some pride.
 So there you have it. This reader test may not be normal, but the Candyvan is special to us and we look forward to many more adventures in it.


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