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1007 does Knysna

2007-07-23 08:01

David Mosely

The USP, unique selling point if you will, of the Peugeot 1007 is a set of natty sliding doors. The creative brains at the French automaker have christened them as the Sesame Doors, which is rather apt because the 1007's doors are highly comical.

For about three seconds they held my friends' attention rapt, like a lost bolt of lightning in the middle of a Cape summer. Then a squirrel skipped past and off they all trotted behind it, far more interested in a cuter version of a rat than my highly unique MOT.

Watch out Knysna!

I was in Knysna for the Oyster Festival and the 1007 was slightly fitting for the occasion. It is, I guess, something of a family car. If all three members of your family are similar in height to three of Snow White's boarding chums.

If that's the case then this is the car for you and your gnome off-spring.

However, if you're over five-foot and you're intending on ferrying more than one person to and fro I might suggest something with more substantial dimensions. Luckily I was only transporting a very petit lady friend to Knysna.

"Hey Bron. Do you want to drive first." Er, no.

"Why not? This little beast is awesome. It simply purrs with sex appeal."

Ja, Dave. And if any of my friends see me behind the wheel of that thing I'll have to wear a brown paper packet on my head for the rest of the year.

"Bron, if any of your friends see you in this car with me your street cred will instantly soar. Fair enough. Have it your way. I'll just soak up the cool when we pull into Knysna's main road."

David Blaine is no match...

I'll tell you what I liked about the Peugeot. It was a nice colour. And when I opened the Sesame Doors from 40 metres. Oh my word. Watch out David Blaine, because this David's brand of street magic is unstoppable and not nearly as mundane as yours.

The sliding doors so stunned the car guards on duty that I was able to escape their grubby claws without passing on nary a penny.

The chant for the weekend was "doors open", and in that respect the 1007 always delivered. One dreadlocked Knysna local even dropped to his knees and started praising the second coming of Rastafari, Jah himself cruising the streets of the Garden Route in a tricked out Peugeot. Hey, stranger things have happened. Like my friend Dave thinking he could beat me to the finish at the Knysna half-marathon. Unlucky bud, maybe next year. Not.

Right, so the Peugeot. Where was I? Yes, it was a lovely blue colour. So that was good. And I've always loved the Peugeot emblem. The Lion Rampant (pilfered from The Royal Standard of the King of Scots, the flag used historically by the King of Scots. History lesson over) certainly speaks to my sensibilities and my Scottish heritage. But I'm afraid that's where the love ends.

Furiously speeding towards Knysna for a first taste of the local brew, the invigorating Bosun's Bitter, I soon realised that the 1007 drives with all the silkiness of a salted slug creeping through melted tar.

Every time you change gears on the automatic, semi-automatic, whatever the hell it is, transmission the whole car jerks violently forwards.

There is a paddle on the steering wheel to change gears with, but I kept turning on the back windscreen wiper instead. Not a problem when you're idling in the driveway, but somewhat disconcerting when you're overtaking a BP tanker on a steep incline. Not that I did that. But you know, there are some people who would attempt such lunacy. Tut tut.

Boot space is also a problem with the 1007. Thankfully Bronwyn had only packed one make up bag and one tent in case she got lost on her way back to our holiday accommodation one night. I, on the other hand, was not impressed. I could only squeeze one case of Amstel long toms in the boot, one running shoe and a photo of my girlfriend. The rest I had to send to Knysna with a courier service.

Perfect! But for whom?

When we arrived in Knysna the car drew much attention, but they were hardly the fawning gasps I had anticipated. One kid in a baby chair, sitting in a car next to us in the traffic, started pointing and laughing.

A gang of Knysna skateboard heavies jeered at Bron in the passenger seat as she started to slink slowly under the dash board. Even some old geezer with his walking stick tried to sell us the merits of the classic automobile. "They don't make them like they used to," he muttered, ambling past and heading towards a brown Ford Cortina.

And here's what bugged me while I was driving the 1007. Who on earth is the car made for? Single mom? Maybe. Single dad? Ja, right. If he wants to live alone for the next ten years. Family? Never. My question was answered, however, on out last night in Knysna.

Relaxing on the deck of our house and enjoying the winter sun, the very genteel Henry and Matilda (or something like that) arrived to pick up their 20-something daughter. "Ooh, look at that Henry," mewed a jaw-slackened Matilda. "Isn't that the most cutest car you've ever seen?" "Harrumph, Harrumph," responded the gruff-throated Henry. "Why yes, of course, the Peugeot 1007. Ah, yes, the sliding doors. Very excellent. Very excellent indeed. I say young man, what about a Pimms and Lemonade while I inspect this fine piece of machinery."

And now we know. If you're well into your dotage, the Peugeot 1007 is the car for you. Indeed.

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