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Some cars rooted in our Heritage


FOR this Heritage Day we take a look back down Memory Lane. We have compiled a list of some of the most iconic cars to have ever roamed our streets over the years. Which of these have you owned? Write to us and let us know.

Toyota Conquest/Tazz

The Sixth Generation five-door hatchback that was made in South Africa was marketed as the Toyota Conquest. Production began in October 1988, with a 1.3-litre 53kW engine. The Twin Cam version of this model was also sold as the RSi Twin Cam; it developed 96kW.

Later on, in October 1996 an entry-level model called the Toyota Conquest Tazz appeared. This model had a very low equipment level, originally only available in a four-speed manual and was missing things such as a rear windshield wiper and a cigarette lighter. However, the Tazz received a twin-tip exhaust and body-coloured bumpers. A five-speed became available three years later. From October 2000 the car received a light facelift with a more ovoid front-end treatment and the name was simply changed to, Toyota Tazz. This model continued to be built until the 5th July, 2006.

Toyota Hilux

The Hilux started production in March 1968 as the RN10 in short-wheelbase form with a 1.5-litre engine, producing 57kW in the Japanese market spec, and in Japan it was available at Toyota Japan dealership retail chains called, Toyota Store. This was upgraded to a 1.6-litre inline-four engine in February 1971.The modification to the engine was enough for a claimed 130km/h top speed.

In April 1969, a long-wheelbase version was added to the range. The short-wheelbase version also continued in production for many more years. The long-wheelbase version was not sold on the North American market until 1972. Here, in South Africa, we really fell in love with the Fourth Generation Hilux, which was introduced in 1983. Toyota introduced a new generation of the Hilux in most markets in late 1988 but the Fourth Generation remained in production until 1997 in South Africa. Toyota says this was due to South African "content laws," which made it cheaper to continue to produce the Fourth Generation Hilux, rather than to retool the plant for the Fifth Generation.

Citi Golf

The Volkswagen Citi Golf was produced by Volkswagen in South Africa from 1984 until the 21st August 2009. It was a face-lifted version of the original Volkswagen Golf Mk1 hatchback, which ceased production in Germany in 1983. The car was only produced with right-hand-drive.

When Volkswagen released the Golf Mk1 in 1974, the car was an overnight success. It was easy and economical to drive with exceptionally good handling compared to other small hatchbacks of the time. It was also easy and inexpensive to maintain. Volkswagen South Africa started assembly of the Golf Mk1 in 1978. When the Golf Mk2 was launched in 1984, VW South Africa found itself falling short of a demand for a small, affordable entry level car, as the Golf Mk2 was bigger and somewhat more expensive than its predecessor. The best viable option for VW South Africa was to continue producing some variant of the Mk1 to fill the gap in the market, as they already had all the tooling in place at the VW assembly plant in Uitenhage.

Toyota HiAce

Introduced in 1967, the HiAce was offered as a cab over pickup, delivery van, and a stretched commuter vehicle. It was also called the HiAce Commercial in camper-van configuration. Here, in South Africa, we know them as taxis. They pester us on the roads and haunt us at every turn but they are a huge part of our country’s heritage. They form part of a thriving business, which services many a South African citizen. Today we know the HiAce as the Toyota Quantum.

Volkswagen Combi

The First Generation of the Volkswagen Type 2 with the split windshield, informally called the Microbus, Split screen or Splittie among modern fans, was produced from the 8th March 1950 through the end of the 1967 model year. From 1950 to 1956, the T1 (not called that at the time) was built in Wolfsburg; from 1956, it was built at the completely new Transporter factory in Hanover. Like the Beetle, the first Transporters used the 1100 Volkswagen air-cooled engine.

The Third Generation was introduced in 1979 and was produced up until 1992. It was the last Volkswagen van to use an air-cooled engine. Today, the Volkswagen T6 features some of the latest technological advancements in both practicality and mechanical areas. It is seen as a luxury van here, in South Africa.

The Ox wagon

The Voortrekkers used the wagons during the Great Trek north and north-east from the Cape Colony in the 1830s and 1840s. Often, the wagons were employed as a mobile fortification called a laager, such as was the case at the Battle of Blood River.

After the discovery of gold in the Barberton area in 1881, Ox wagons were used to bring in supplies from former Lourenço Marques. James Percy FitzPatrick worked on those Ox wagons and described them in his famous 1907 book, Jock of the Bushveld.


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Submitted: 08-03-2019
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Submitted: 08-03-2019