New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Reader test: Land Rover Series 2A

2009-09-10 09:11

Elena Fratini

If you see a little Orion Grey Fiat Pal-o on the road, (yes, the "I" fell off), with a one-metre decal covering half of the back windscreen saying "Chicks do it Best in a Landy by far", with a cut-out picture of a Defender in the bottom right corner, you know you’ve just driven past the BIGGEST Land Rover fan on this planet.  

I use my Pal-o as a driving billboard representing my 1967 Land Rover Series 2A, wishing it would speak to the Toyota masses.

Why don’t I just drive my Series 2A, one asks? Yes yes, I can hear your sniggering going, "It’s a Land Rover - it’s probably broken down somewhere". And yes, in fact you are correct, and yes, it is leaving a massive oil stain at this very moment in time, and stands more than it goes.  
But it takes a special person to own one… Mutual respect and, above all, an appreciation of all its characteristics and quirks, of pressing the accelerator seven times before turning the key, or pumping the clutch because second gear has disappeared, or using both hands to get it into neutral. 

Personality by the litre

In my world, THAT is a car with a personality, a car that you are in tune with on a deeper level… A relationship of knowing and accepting all the particularities.

How many of you drive with a Jerry can when going around the block because, of all four petrol tanks, one works as the rest are rusted. Your fuel gauge doesn’t work and you have no idea how many kilometres you get per litre as you have no idea how much petrol goes in it?

All that is certain is that the top speed is 40km/h… downhill, so who needs brakes anyway? And how many of you have to spend more time drying the inside of your car than the outside?
Unreliable? Of course! But as we all know, it’s a Land Rover - the adventure starts anywhere -including at the entrance of UNISA.

With 800 metres before I get to the parking, my Landy dies. Not to worry, it’s probably the petrol, but this time I’m sorted so I don’t have to walk for kilometres like the last time.  

Big little problem

Please note, I have no hazard lights (nor seat belts for that matter) but it doesn’t matter - no-one can miss a massive hunk of green metal on an uphill.
So happily I unlock all the mini padlocks and I fill him up with petrol, and still he doesn't start. By now, I've blocked this whole pile of cars lining up to get into UNISA. As I'm on an incline, I try free-wheeling it out the way, but even with the handbrake down we’re going nowhere.

This becomes a major problem in so much as the traffic officer has to come and let people through and there is even bigger confusion as I have broken down opposite a construction site, so there are trucks coming and going and dust and bulldozers and bakkies and cranes everywhere.

I am also not getting a response from my boyfriend whom I've SMSed by this time hoping he’d come tow me with this 2000 Defender 110…

But sadly, the outcome was less romanticised and I  was, in fact, reprimanded for insisting on driving "that piece of junk".
By now I’m telling everyone who stops that this is the best Series 2A they’ll see in a long time as it is in mint condition! And the BESTEST 4x4 by far (or in this case, not so far). 

Overcoming obstacles

Eventually I have the construction people helping out by trying to loosen the brakes by jacking up my car with a jack with bricks on top of it because it’s too low, and then I came to realise that  both the wheel spanners I own (dating back to 1967), don’t fit at all and I’m wondering why I have them?

We then come to realise that four hours of intense labour have resolved nothing as my wheel bearing is well, f*d.
It’ll be a while before we’re out on the road again, but as soon as we find a wheel bearing that fits on the most spectacular Series 2A you will ever see, we’ll be back irritating all of you by chugging along in traffic!
So now, to all Defender drivers, look out for our waves when we’re back, but in the meantime, respect the Pal-o too!

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