Brian Kannemeyer is very proud of his 2.4i Nissan Hardbody, “Madam”, not only for the fault-free 1 500 000 km on the odometer, but also for the fact that he was witness to every single kilometre driven in it over the last 14 years. To put it into perspective, the distance Madam travelled equals 37 trips around the earth driven at the equator.
Kannemeyer, his wife Tamara and their family picked out the brand new white Nissan Hardbody 2.4i 16v Double Cab from Shus Nissan in Goodwood just after the model’s official launch in 2002. In their excitement, they added a host of extras and subsequently also a few extra days to its delivery, while everything was being fitted to their new Hardbody.
“When we finally picked up our new Hardbody, we promptly took it on a round trip across South Africa, touching base in Johannesburg, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth before returning home with our new pick-up,” says Brian.
“On our trip around the country, we caused quite a stir among motorists who had not seen the Hardbody yet and who could not believe the pace of this 2.4i engine.”
The quick roundabout tour of South Africa was only the start of many long miles for the Kannemeyer’s Hardbody. This trusted bakkie became Brian’s home away from home as he travelled South and Southern Africa with his shop-fitting business.
“I regularly travel for work, and I am back and forth between Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and even as far as the Limpopo Province. I also travel to Namibia regularly, and Madam and I often visit Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, Swakopmund and even as far as the Angolan border for work,” says Brian.
On these work-trips, Brian would load the Hardbody and trailers up to four metres long with the maximum payload allowed, easily covering 3 000 km on a single trip and 12 000 km to 15 000 km in a single month.
Despite his tough travel schedule, Brian has never missed a scheduled service – which was required almost every month – up to 300 000 km. Thereafter, he and his sons would regularly change oil and consumables, while trusting the qualified mechanics at their local dealer to do the major services. Brian also tuned his Hardbody on a dynamometer every two years to make sure everything was working perfectly.
But 1 500 000 kilometres – nearly a million miles – do not all roll by without incident. Madam has had some wiring ripped from her by a log in the middle of the N3. She was once hit by a stray bullet that grazed the engine compartment and she survived an attempted theft in the Kannemeyer’s driveway as well as an attempted hijacking on one of Brian’s many trips.
“I also vividly remember three tyre blowouts, none of which caused the Hardbody to swerve or sway. In one incident, I was travelling from Port Elizabeth with a loaded trailer. It was raining heavily and visibility was very poor. Suddenly the tyre burst, but the Hardbody handled it like a pro and I could bring it to a safe stop. Driving skills certainly played a role, but the Hardbody instilled a sense of confidence that has never failed,” says Brian.
On the mechanical side, the 2.4 litre engine of Brian’s Nissan Hardbody remains unopened and is still performing well, despite the distance it covered. Over time, the mechanics at Nissan have replaced the throttle chamber and alternator, while they also replaced two worn gearboxes over its lifetime. Only recently, Brian replaced the manifold and its branches, while the suspension has required no attention, even after so many miles of carrying heavy loads.
And to celebrate 1.5 million kilometres? Well, only the best is good enough for Madam, so she was resprayed in her original colour, while the seats, having worked overtime on Brian’s many long trips, were re-upholstered. Once done, Brian could not wait to hit the road again on his next shop-fitting assignment in his trusted companion.
“To Nissan, who assembled Madam, you did it with tons of love and care and respect for the finer details. We have been blessed with an amazing vehicle, our Madam, and we thank you!”
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