Townie on larney 4 x 4s

What is the point of owning a Hummer unless you’re trying to impress upon the world that you’ve got oodles of boodle? Or is it because you get a Harley Davidson thrown in with your purchase?
Issue date: 13 February 2009

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What is the point of owning a Hummer unless you’re trying to impress upon the world that you’ve got oodles of boodle? Or is it because you get a Harley Davidson thrown in with your purchase? Hey, look at me, I’ve got a Hummer and a Harley! It’s all about image.
The same goes for all those other larney, pavement-climbing people carriers, except that you don’t get the Harley too!
And try getting your Hummer, Bee-M, Merc, Porche or Disco off-road serviced in my neck of the woods! Which is why we stick to bakkies made in Japan. Because when you open the bonnet, you can actually see the engine and the other bits that make it go and your local mechanic can recognise everything.
We had a Jozi visitor over Christmas who arrived in his Disco Land Rover, and was determined to coat it in real off-road mud for the very first time. We drove up the mountain track, stopping for sundowners and to admire the view. But afterwards the vehicle wouldn’t start! “Loose battery connection,” I volunteered. We opened up the bonnet to inspect. Well, the battery was the only bit I recognised and the fault wasn’t there. The lights worked, the hooter worked, the electric windows worked, but the starter motor just went click when you turned the key in the ignition.
Perhaps the loose connection was in the starter motor, but where in Hades was the bloody thing? Probably hidden somewhere in the jam-packed engine compartment, behind plastic covers and hoses that a master mechanic would be hard-pressed to identify. We abandoned the vehicle and started to walk the 5km down the track in the dark, with my friend wondering where we’d find a Disco service technician (they don’t call them mechanics anymore) on Christmas eve.
On our way down, it dawned on my friend that the satellite alarm system could have been disconnected by the company who’d fitted it in Johannesburg. Luckily he had his cellphone on him – city types don’t leave home without them! On explaining his predicament and supplying his identification code, the alarm company explained they’d disabled his vehicle because it was far from a national road and up a mountain somewhere and therefore suspected stolen. They’d reconnect it immediately. So back up the mountain track we went.
“Now you know, Townie, why I’d never part with my old Isuzu bakkie,” Jan said. “No one would want to steal it as it wouldn’t be good for their image, but it’ll go anywhere a Hummer can go!” – Derek Christopher     |fw