Our new wheels

Sorry for being so quiet this week.  After returning from vacation I just didn’t really feel like writing and just chilled at home with the wife for the last week of the school holidays.  Tomorrow she’s on the job again, so I’ll also be back to my regular writing and studying schedule (once I figure out exactly what that is).

In the meantime, check out our new wheels.

Ford Ka
I tawt I taw a Tweety bird

Legally she’s the wife’s and technically she’s not new – we bought her second-hand from my sister with 90 000km on the clock but she’s still in excellent condition.  On Wednesday we packed our survival kit and headed to the vehicle registration office and after a fairly painless two hours in line (except for the guy in front of us who never stopped talking, even when he started repeating himself) she is now registered to the wife (we still have to pay my sister, though).  With power steering, ABS, aircon, airbags and mag wheels she’s a far cry better than the one she’s replacing.

Daewoo Matiz
Mommy, what’s wrong with that poor car?

I called this one the White Jellytot (if you don’t have Jellytots where you’re at, they’re basically gumdrops covered in castor sugar – they don’t come in white).  It’s a Daewoo Matiz (since Daewoo merged with GM it’s been sold, with a few modifications, as the Chevy Spark) that the wife got from her father when she started working.  It was already old when she got it, and now stands at 230 000km.

The two dents visible on the bonnet are from guinea-fowl strikes – a very common hazard on the roads around here and I’ve heard of one taking out an entire engine, but due to the slanting nature of the bonnet they simply bounced off.  We haven’t really had any problems with it (I once even drove 300km in it with a failed ball-joint – when we drove up the driveway when we arrived home the bearings literally fell out) and it gave us excellent fuel consumption, but it had none of the luxuries or safety features that come standard with most cars nowadays and we have been thinking of replacing it for some time now.  When my sister made us an offer to buy her Ka (that’s what it is – a Ford Ka) we felt it was finally time to let go.

This week we had it serviced, fitted new tyres and another ball joint (opposite side from last time) and I realised selling a car’s expensive!  We spent all Friday afternoon cleaning it, scooping (this isn’t hyperbole) the accumulated dust of thousands of kilometres from the cavity under the boot which holds the emergency tyre, polishing the dash and fitting new hubcaps and yesterday sold it to friends of ours whose daughter has to start learning to drive (their car’s automatic and over here you have to pass your driving licence test in a stick-shift).  It will then become hers when she heads off to varisty at the end of next year.  We mentioned to them that it dies whenever you drive through water (an interesting design quirk in this car has the distributor cap positioned underneath the engine block) but they still wanted it, so I only hope the car doesn’t eventually ruin our friendship.

And so begins a new era in driving in our household.  Of course I’m still holding on to this one:

Nissan bakkie
I’ve been driving it for eight years and still haven’t been able to come up with a good name for it.

I got this 1.4 litre Nissan from my dad when I started working.  It’s one dependable little machine (except that it eats batteries – I really need to get someone to look into that for me) and, especially as Nissan no longer makes them, I’ll probably never sell it unless I really, really, really need the money.  Over here we call a pickup like this a bakkie.  Bakkie is the diminutive of bak, the Afrikaans word for bowl.  Interestingly, all models of pickups, from half-tonners like this up to 3-ton flatbeds are all called bakkies.  We do, however, refer to the load bed section as the bak, no matter the bakkie‘s size.  A car’s boot (or trunk, if you’re American) is also called its bak, or if you’re a purist, the kattebak (which translates as cat’s bowl…don’t ask – I have absolutely no idea.)  Ain’t language fun? 😉

I’ve never had any mechanical problems with it, it gives great fuel consumption, parallel-parks like a dream and the load-bed is the perfect size for my puppet stage (though that’d probably be because I built the puppet stage to the load-bed’s measurements).  Oh, this would probably be a good time to mention that I have advanced puppetry training and also build my own puppets.  Don’t have a lot of opportunity to use those skills, though, so that’s why it hasn’t come up yet.  Hey, what about if I started a weekly puppet show on If all else fails…use a hammer?

That’s enough nonsense for now.  Tomorrow it’s time for another Song Title Challenge here on If all else fails, but I’m fresh out of song titles.  If you enjoy this weekly feature, please suggest some new titles for me by clicking here.

8 thoughts on “Our new wheels

  1. The Ford Ka fascinates me.

    They sell it in Europe and in South Africa but not in the United States.

    It’s hard to know why. Other brands sell a car in that size over here…


    1. Similarly I’ve noticed the same model is often sold in different countries under different names. There’s probably some reason for it, though I don’t know nearly enough of the industry to even warrant a guess.


      1. You’re probably right. Then companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz probably have a better approach with assigning their models numbers or letters. Though that can also be taken too far. Saw a Top Gear a while back where they were in China. They have cars called stuff like XJ8-493K and so on. Sound more like a licence plate number than a car’s make.


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