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Dallas

Meet Walter

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On Tuesday we had one of the hottest days I can ever recall in my life. It felt for all money like somebody had opened up a portal to hell and was sending up every kind of boiling hot expulsion into our air. A real stinker, as they say. Luckily I only had one property to shoot that day and as I was driving my little Ford pickup van home I decided that I couldn't carry on this job using an un-airconditioned vehicle any longer. I had to find something else. I was all set to buy myself one of those Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboosts, but the prices would have required a loan and I am trying to avoid debt wherever possible. Somebody told me about the original Hyundai Tuscon being a very good value for money buy, so I have been looking at the classifieds since Tuesday. Today I drove this 2007 model and I was very impressed. It needs a little bit of work done (new exhaust, some re-trimming of door cards and a service) but the price was right so I factored those costs into the deal and decided that I couldn't pass it up. Pulled a proper Mike Brewer "Wheeler Dealer" routine on the seller and got it at a good price (about 20% below book retail). My first ever SUV.

 

Why is it called Walter? When my son saw the pics he said it looks like Walter White's Aztec from Breaking Bad. So Walter it is. And it's white. :) 

 

Walter1.jpg

 

Walter2.jpg

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Is Walter 2wd or 4wd?

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2WD, Chris. 

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Still using ND prefix on the plates? So are Joburg plates still TJ as well, or have they changed the T to G?

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8 hours ago, Alan7140 said:

Still using ND prefix on the plates? So are Joburg plates still TJ as well, or have they changed the T to G?

 

Sho, I think the TJ number plates disappeared in the early 80's, replaced with a computerised jumble of 3 letters, then 3 numbers followed by a T at the end (Transvaal). Those got replaced in the mid 90's with the current GP at the end (Gauteng Province). I think the only two provinces that still use the old City/Town identifiers are here in Natal and down in the Western Cape. The N is usually followed by 1 or 2 letters indicating the town, so ND = Natal Durban, NP = Natal Pietermaritzburg, NPS = Natal Port Shepstone, etc. But then there are some places that don't correlate to the town ID, such as NKR for Ladysmith. 

 

Western Cape prefixes, like their denizens, are not logical at all. CA= Cape Town... 🤔 

 

This Wiki page gives more info. 

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20 hours ago, Dallas said:

2WD, Chris. 

 

I guess that means he is all work and no play, but that is probably a good thing when he is your everyday drive.  That body kit does make him look like he wants to play.😀

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Thanks, Dallas, I was wondering about the plates simply because six numbers after ND really limits the options somewhat. Even little old Tasmania has one letter, two numbers then two more letters, and that's the second change in the 24 years I've been here. It says something about our society when a State with just over half a million people in total runs out of vehicle registration numbers and needs a sequence of potentially nearly 2 million to cope, and is over half way through just 9 years after it started afresh.

 

I also remember the road game us kids used to play in the car on the old two-lane track from Joburg to Durban for holidays working out from where the oncoming cars originated - the South African number plate system was good for that , keeping the kids occupied in the back seat for what was an eight hour drive back then.

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4 hours ago, crowecg said:

 

I guess that means he is all work and no play, but that is probably a good thing when he is your everyday drive.  That body kit does make him look like he wants to play.😀

 

There is a 4x4 version of this car. I think it's the 2.7L diesel CRDi. I got this one at a very good price though, so I can't complain too much. I realised the other day that I have had my little Ford van for 6 years, which is the longest stretch of car ownership I have ever had. She's just been sold to another relative, as with many of my previous vehicles. My father-in-law is still driving the very first car I ever bought, a 1995 VW Golf Mk 1 (the Mk 1 had a very long production span in SA - over 30 years). 

 

3 hours ago, Alan7140 said:

Thanks, Dallas, I was wondering about the plates simply because six numbers after ND really limits the options somewhat. Even little old Tasmania has one letter, two numbers then two more letters, and that's the second change in the 24 years I've been here. It says something about our society when a State with just over half a million people in total runs out of vehicle registration numbers and needs a sequence of potentially nearly 2 million to cope, and is over half way through just 9 years after it started afresh.

 

I also remember the road game us kids used to play in the car on the old two-lane track from Joburg to Durban for holidays working out from where the oncoming cars originated - the South African number plate system was good for that , keeping the kids occupied in the back seat for what was an eight hour drive back then.

 

We call the current GP plates "Gangster's Paradise". :D 

 

It is kind of odd that Natal are still using the same system that's been in place since way before I was born. Not sure why that is. The only thing that's changed is the colour of the plate and the numbers. We used to have black on yellow, now it's blue on white, except for public transport which is black on white. Personalised plates are green on white and government red on white. 

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1 hour ago, Dallas said:

 

 

We call the current GP plates "Gangster's Paradise". :D 

 

It is kind of odd that Natal are still using the same system that's been in place since way before I was born. Not sure why that is. The only thing that's changed is the colour of the plate and the numbers. We used to have black on yellow, now it's blue on white, except for public transport which is black on white. Personalised plates are green on white and government red on white. 

 

:D :D Makes me thankful we left when we did. I can't even picture living in a place like Joburg these days, and haven't even the faintest desire to revisit that place ever again, even though I was born there.

 

Number plates have always held a fascination for me given the different parameters various jurisdictions place on them. Here in Australia it's strictly chronological, and if the registration expires or the car changes the State it's registered in, the new registration will have current plates, not those of the year of the car or its first registration like in some other countries. Each State has its own plates and numbers, so that's as far as you can tell as to the actual location the vehicle is registered to. I guess this number-plate nerdiness is directly due to my mechanic Father, who had a thing for details like this.

Speaking of number plates, here's one of my Father on the day he left home for good in his new BMW 315/1 (or 319/1) in July 1936 with perhaps the simplest number plate, and no prizes for the location of the photo (that's the pre-war Brandenburg gate, Berlin), and also how an enterprising 20 year old got his money out of Hitler's Germany and onto a boat in Turin, Italy, having driven it over a few days via Switzerland and France to Italy, and thence by ship to South Africa. Note the degree of planning - he bought a right-hand drive one specifically so he could sell it for the best return when he finally reached Joburg via Capetown. (It's also how he later ended up in the South African Army fighting the Fascists through East Africa and Italy, and thus avoided the gas chambers and crematorium ovens of Auschwitz that took the rest of his extended family in 1942.)

 

SgEZd0Q.jpg

 

His successful plan was copied after a fashion (but without the life-threatening urgency) in a similar way when we left South Africa 28 years later with an Austin A55 in a ship's hold and as much cash as he could stuff into a false chassis member he made up for the car, which my mother drove around for two years prior to avoid authorities noticing a big withdrawal of cash over the R2,000 emigration limit just before departure, and which Dad always referred to as the "Rolls Royce" for reasons that were lost on my innocent pre-teen ears. Nor could I understand the paranoia that accompanied every decision as to where to park the car when out shopping or visiting. :D I believe he used an old car this time to avoid heavy import duties at the Australian end.

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Terrific story, Alan. And wow, what a car! Imagine what that must be worth today, assuming it still exists. 

 

Jo'burg is a Godawful place. I couldn't imagine living there permanently. Unfortunately for most of my generation it has become the only place they can find work of any kind, so they go there. You wouldn't recognise it at all today though if you went back. Most of the development has occurred in the northern suburbs, Sandton, Rivonia, Roodepoort, etc.

 

If anybody needs a prime example of the rat race and what it does to you, just visit Johannesburg. 

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13 hours ago, Dallas said:

Terrific story, Alan. And wow, what a car! Imagine what that must be worth today, assuming it still exists. 

 

 

Yeah, well of course I looked that up when I found Dad's meticulously orderly "exit" photo album - at auction during 2018 one went for US $386,000. 😧

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Getting things done over this period has proven a little difficult, but happy to say that Walter passed C.O.R. (certificate of roadworthiness) today after having a new rear exhaust baffle fitted last week. That was a lot more costly than I expected! Anyway, after he passed inspection today I had the aircon serviced, so I'll be chilling between jobs for the rest of summer. 😎 Tomorrow the title and new license disk procedure gets done (more money) and then on Monday he'll get a proper service. The final two items on the list will be to get the re-trimming of the door cards done and headlights polished. Oh, and I also need a proper stereo fitted. One with Bluetooth, etc. 

 

IMG_1616.JPG

 

The old baffle getting removed.

 

IMG_1621.JPG

 

a/c service in progress

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Dallas, the Tucson has proven itself to be a reliable and therefore a popular vehicle in both OZ and NZ, so hopefully your example will prove to be the same for you.  Some describe Hyundai and its sister company Kia as the new Toyota.

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Not much tread depth on the front tyres...

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7 hours ago, vivionm said:

Not much tread depth on the front tyres...

 

It's actually not bad - the image is deceptive. They should still be good for quite a while. 

 

Sadly it looks like I am going to have to replace the clutch. :( 

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These repairs are an annoyance, that is for sure.  On the other hand, the body looks to be quite straight and over say the next few years you will not need to worry about the clutch or muffler again for quite some time.   Mechanical stuff is not too bad, but rust and panel damage is a real killer on the wallet!

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That's exactly my thinking too, Hugh. There were other options of this model for sale at fairly higher prices. However, even after attending to the repair of the clutch and possible replacement of the cam belt (I have no service history available), I'll still be better off than I would have been on a car that might have been younger. Strangely though, this one was the oldest model I was looking at (2007) yet it had the least amount of mileage at 148,500kms. Once all the necessary parts have been revived at reasonable cost via my private mechanic contacts, I'll have a decent vehicle that I don't owe any money on. If I had bought the Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost I would have had to take out a loan to finance the gap and that wouldn't have been nice. 

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Dallas, it might pay to have a chat with your mechanic about the cam belt replacement. 

 

Some engines behave gracefully when the cam belt breaks and just stop working, but without doing themselves any damage. 

 

Others, such as some that were fitted to an early version of the Holden Astra, destroy the top half of the engine.  What was worse in this particular case was that the belts in some (not all) instances were failing well before their 50,000km replacement intervals were being reached.  (Accountants should never be allowed to design engines, LOL!)

 

Sorry for being a right royal PITA, but best to be aware - and my apologies in advance if you already have this one covered off - as it sounds as if you have.

 

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No worries, Hugh, I love talking about cars. I actually didn't know that about the modern cam belts, so thanks for sharing. Our mechanics have always drilled it into us that we need to be aware of the cam belt replacement intervals because of what you have said. It's quite an expensive service, so I think they might not be letting on the whole truth about what happens if they do go on modern cars! :D My last two vehicles have both had timing chains so I haven't had any major service costs. The wife has a little Ford Figo (old Fiesta shape) and it costs a fair whack to replace that item. 

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17 hours ago, Dallas said:

 

It's actually not bad - the image is deceptive. They should still be good for quite a while. 

 

Sadly it looks like I am going to have to replace the clutch. :( 

Sorry. I was relying on the image. Obviously, the Mark One Eyeball is better.

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4 hours ago, Dallas said:

That's exactly my thinking too, Hugh. There were other options of this model for sale at fairly higher prices. However, even after attending to the repair of the clutch and possible replacement of the cam belt (I have no service history available), I'll still be better off than I would have been on a car that might have been younger. Strangely though, this one was the oldest model I was looking at (2007) yet it had the least amount of mileage at 148,500kms. Once all the necessary parts have been revived at reasonable cost via my private mechanic contacts, I'll have a decent vehicle that I don't owe any money on. If I had bought the Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost I would have had to take out a loan to finance the gap and that wouldn't have been nice. 

Cam belt replacement is important. If a worn or slack belt skips a cog the valves could hit the pistons and destroy the engine.

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