A legend back on the roads...
I've got a special place for a Datsun Deluxe. It started on my dad's lap, on a farm road, trying to keep a car on the road at the age of six. That was where my love for the brand started and by the time my legs were able to reach the clutch, I was demanding to take the wheel (always somewhere on a gravel road, when it was safe to do so and even in our back yard, around the house). A couple of weeks ago I was invited to do a trip with Vesa Eskola through South Africa and Namibia but I was not able to make it, due to other work commitments during that time. I did however get the opportunity to ask Vesa a couple of questions, just before he left South Africa. See his answers below: The old Datsun Deluxe was legendary, regarding its fuel economy. How did the Go do during the trip in that regard?
We did 9800 kms with average consumption 6,9 l/100 km. And we were really pushing the car hard – especially on those empty long stretches in Namibia and Botswana. We also did almost 2000 km on dirt roads. Not bad, I would say. You could easily get under 6 litres in normal driving conditions. What was the most impressive animal you so in the Kruger park and why did you like that specific animal?
We did not see any lions or any other big cats unfortunately. The most majestic animal for me was elephant. They are such interesting, intelligent and caring creatures. You can read their emotions from their faces also. I’ve driven through many of the roads that you’ve done but in a bakkie (pick up truck). How did the vehicle cope with the different road conditions and what was the worst roads during your trip? Did you puncture/damage any wheels?
We had two punctures, that’s all. No mechanical issues whatsoever. And today lots of people look at small cars and think they are pure city cars. If you go back 30-40 years, most the family cars were not bigger than a Datsun GO. For me a good ground clearance is more important than four wheel drive. And we were driving some interesting back roads as well. Of the 9800 kms we did, we did almost 2000 km on dirt roads. The suspension was handling different road conditions well. Did you give yourself enough time for South Africa or would you come back/do it differently?
When you do 9800 kms in 16 days, it’s clear, you have not seen enough. You have seen a lot, but not enough. The good thing is, you have a glimpse of the country as a whole, so you know what you want to see when you come back. And I will be back. I am intrigued about the Midlands, I saw only a very small part of it. I would love to do the Kruger Park again with better time as well. And those back roads around Cape Town with all those wineries… What was your favourite town and why?
Joburg, because it was busy and bursting with life. Durban, because it was so laid back. Cape Town because of the scenery. If you want to read more about Vesa's adventures in South Africa, click here. Tip: If you are are using Google Chrome as your browser, you can right-click on the text to translate to English.
* All photos provided by Vesa Eskola