Earlier this year the Isuzu team at General Motors South Africa (GMSA) set out to find two special vehicles to celebrate the heritage of the Isuzu brand in South Africa. Isuzu owners throughout the country were invited to enter the competition in one of two categories; the Isuzu with the highest verified mileage and the oldest Isuzu in South Africa.
Thousands of entries were received from Isuzu fans across South Africa unearthing a number of very special bakkies that demonstrate the toughness and durability of these vehicles.
The winning Isuzu bakkie with the highest mileage had 1 004 000 km on the clock and is still going strong. The vehicle, owned by Mr Douglas Smith from the Eastern Cape, is a 1997 Isuzu KB which has had a hard working life in the 15 years since it left the Kempston Road plant in Port Elizabeth. Smith is the vehicle’s second owner and uses it mainly on his farm and for anything else that needs to get delivered.
“This bakkie’s first owner was a good friend who bought the vehicle along with two others for his engineering business to manufacture and perform repairs on front end loaders, dozers etc. For three years it transported this heavy equipment all over the Western Cape,” said a proud Smith.
The Isuzu KB continues to serve its current owner well past the 1 million kilometre mark, delivering heavy loads under harsh conditions. “I have had my Isuzu for 12 years now and the amount of hard labour this vehicle has done has astounded me. It has transported almost 300 tons of rock and gravel to help me build a road on my farm and probably another 200 tons of sand and cement. I have also used it to transport tons of fuel drums all over South Africa for helicopter support and towing horse trailers in the Baviaanskloof,” said Smith.
Smith was rewarded with a R 100 000 travel prize for the highest Isuzu mileage entered into the competition. The Smith family will be jetting off shortly on a holiday to the United States.
The winner of the second category, the oldest Isuzu in South Africa is, Mr Singh Samsunder who has had his vehicle since 1979.
Singh Samsunder, the retired former owner of Shepstone Battery Works in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal bought his Isuzu KB almost-new in 1979. He still owns it today, 33 years later.
“The bakkie was used mainly to transport batteries on a daily basis. I then decided to hold onto it after selling the business as it is a part of the family. It is like a samurai warrior. I feel like it will last me forever. I have been very lucky with this Isuzu KB bakkie. I have had no problems whatsoever with it,” said Samsunder.
Samsunder’s Isuzu has covered an impressive 537 670 kilometres to date – 16 000 kilometres per year from new. He has received a R 25 000 fuel voucher as reward for his oldest working Isuzu in the country.
Isuzu has also rewarded other entrants in this competition with prizes such as off-road equipment and vouchers to experience the Isuzu Off-Road Academy which provides 4×4 training for outdoor enthusiasts.