4x4 Mega World camp­fire story

Leisure Wheels (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

The lit­tle red Isuzu that could

Many moons ago, the term ‘naughty’ meant pulling a funny prank on a friend, or nick­ing the neigh­bour’s ap­ples from the tree in his yard, not do­ing drugs or bul­ly­ing other kids. It was in such a time that a young man de­cided to take an old Isuzu for a drive.

Hen­drik was a real farm lad. Tough he was, and not scared to get down and dirty and do some real hard labour.

He was in ma­tric when he was vis­it­ing a game farm with his best friend. It was school hol­i­days, and af­ter a week of rid­ing horses, shoot­ing at some cans, swim­ming in the farm dam and do­ing some work, too, Hen­drik needed to go to town to buy some smokes, since he had run out. Yes, Hen­drik had a re­bel­lious streak about him, too.

On that day, Hen­drik was alone on the farm, his friend and his friend’s mom away for the day. Now, anyone who has been ad­dicted to cig­a­rettes knows that crav­ing for nico­tine can cloud (ex­cuse the pun) one’s thought process. In­stead of be­ing log­i­cal, some rash, im­pul­sive de­ci­sions are some­times made.

Clearly, Hen­drik needed to get to town, since that was where the cig­a­rettes were. The town was not around the cor­ner, though, more like 10km away. So Hen­drik, in his per­ilous state of with­drawal, de­cided the di­lap­i­dated plaas­bakkie would be just the thing to get him there.

This vin­tage Isuzu, though, was not nor­mally used to drive any­where near the town. That’s be­cause it had no doors, no bon­net and, vi­tally, no brakes. The last time it had been in a road­wor­thy state was about 20 years ear­lier. Still, crav­ing some Peter Stuyvesant, Hen­drik de­cided the re­ward would ex­ceed the risk.

Brakes? Bah. He’d just gear it down, us­ing the en­gine to slow it down, as was done on the farm. He’d just need to plan his stop­ping tra­jec­tory well. He’d also aim for the shop on the out­skirts of town, so as to not at­tract the at­ten­tions of the lo­cal con­stab­u­lary.

Off went Hen­drik in the old Isuzu which, with the ex­cep­tion of the brakes, worked re­mark­ably well from a me­chan­i­cal point of view. The dirt road lead­ing to town was eas­ily dis­patched.

All that was now stand­ing be­tween Hen­drik and a puff was a short stretch of tar. Oh, and a bridge. The shop was just on the other side of the bridge. Up the old Isuzu went, eas­ily scal­ing the slight in­cline of the tarred bridge. But they say that what goes up, must come down and on the other side of the bridge, on a slight de­cline, a strange phe­nom­e­non called grav­ity in­ter­vened.

When the Isuzu be­gan pick­ing up speed, Hen­drik ex­e­cuted plan ‘stop the lorry’ by se­lect­ing first gear. Or he tried to, at least.

You see, the old Isuzu had a col­umn-shift. If you got your aim and tim­ing slightly off, and your clutch ac­tion not spot on, it had a ten­dency to baulk, re­fus­ing to en­gage any gear.

This is what hap­pened to Hen­drik, as the gear­less bakkie picked up more and more speed down the hill.

So the brake and door­less bakkie sped straight to­wards the cig­a­rette oa­sis, which hap­pened to have a glass shop front. And so, with one farm lad be­hind the wheel, fever­ishly step­ping on the brake pedal that didn’t work, one Isuzu ended up driv­ing straight through the glass shop front, stopped only by a heavy wooden counter, be­hind which the cig­a­rettes were housed.

He was so shocked, said Hen­drik, that he clean for­got to buy the smokes he had come all the way for.

In fact, Hen­drik stopped smok­ing for at least three weeks af­ter that. Not that he had much of a choice, mind... he had some ex­pen­sive glass pan­els to pay for.

Above: Hen­drik thought the old Isuzu plaas­bakkie sans brakes would get him safely to his smokes, but the col­umn-shift had other ideas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.