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OWNER ZONE


“Parts are freely available and it’s


easy to fix. I can repair it myself or find a mechanic wherever I go – not like modern cars that need to be plugged into computers before anyone will look at them.” Many of the parts are


interchangeable with the 1973 Toyota Celica he keeps and runs in Germany. He bought that from the same Franschhoek farmer, but shipped it to Europe when he and his entourage returned there.


“SOME PEOPLE MIGHT CALL LONG, EMPTY ROADS BORING, BUT THEY MAKE ME VERY HAPPY.”


His Corolla has not only travelled the length and breadth of SA, but has also ventured into Moçambique and, most recently, Namibia. “I filled the boot with parts, including


two spare tyres and lots of oil – this car uses quite a bit of oil. I took out the back seat so that I could fit in my mountain bike and the rest of my luggage.”


Behrens took the backroads


travelling north, visiting friends along the way, before entering Namibia. He turned off the main road to Windhoek, the capital, and descended into the Namib Desert via the steep and winding Gamsberg Pass. After being uncomfortably jolted


on the severely corrugated dirt roads, he reached Walvis Bay on the Atlantic coast. “I’d been there often before, but only by merchant ship,” says the lifetime traveller. His road trip then took him to


Swakopmund, Windhoek, Grunau, back into SA’s Northern Cape and home to Cape Town in extremely hot weather. It took him 12 days to cover 6 100km, all without power steering or air-conditioning. “I could probably afford a newer,


‘better’ car, but why should I replace something that will go forever and that I love?” he asks.


A MILLION CLICKS AND STILL TRUCKING


Two trusty Quantums in the Unitrans passenger fleet have clocked up one million kilometres, proving that when looked after properly, these people-carriers really are the backbone of our nation


When Toyota has a customer calling in to order a spare part, it’s not often that the requested piece of equipment is a new odometer. But that’s what happens when a vehicle’s clocked up an incredible one million kilometres. What’s even more incredible is that the Unitrans Passenger fleet recently requested two new odometers, because two of the Quantums in its fleet have both achieved that impressive milestone – and both are still going strong, says Leon Nelson, the Technical Director of Unitrans Passenger Ltd. He’s quick to share the glory, praising the depot on the


West Coast near Vredendal for looking after the vehicles so well that they’ve both passed the million-kilometre mark. The Quantums still have their original engines, gearboxes and drive axles, and have only needed minor services – which is quite surprising, given the hard work Unitrans demands of them. The vehicles are operated by its Megabus division and mainly transport mineworkers from the towns of Lutzville and Vredendal to the Brand-se-Baai mining area. “The Megabus Lutzville operation is managed by Hannes van der Walt, who oversees the operations and workshop,” says Nelson. “All maintenance – weekly


inspections, lubrication services and preventative maintenance – is done in-house at our depot in Lutzville.”


Unitrans specialises in passenger transport through operating divisions including Greyhound, Citiliner, Mega Coach, Mega Bus, Bojanala Bus and Magic Transfers. “We run a fleet of approximately 1 400 buses and coaches, and we have 70 Quantums in our fleet,” says Nelson.


“Quantums are practical vehicles with a reliable design and if you look after them, they’ll look after you. The two that have clocked up one million kilometres are both approximately six years old and we’re going to let them continue running until they start giving us problems.” The only special attention they’ve needed was new odometers, because at one million kilometres, the original odometer stops working!


Above:


Nelson with his team of drivers and mechanics.


21


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