Built in Port Elizabeth throughout the 1970s, the design would mature into the 1980s and today pristine examples remain some of the most desirable of all South African Fords.
Eventually replaced by the Courier, which would foreshadow today’s Ranger, the Cortina bakkie was an excellent example of necessity (Ford requiring a bakkie to rival Japanese product), being the trigger for dedicated local innovation.
The one to have, both back in the 1980s and in a contemporary collection, is the V6 version, powered by Ford’s venerable pushrod-valve gear 3-litre Essex engine.
The Land-Cruiser 70’s archival and testament to what the Datsun brand name once symbolised. A slightly comfier cabin and less punishing ride made the Safari bakkie more tolerable to drive on tarred roads and once the bitumen became brittle, and real off-road terrain beckoned, it was tremendously capable.
The inline six-cylinder engine also gifted this bakkie its long-nose styling aesthetic and an iconic styling feature was the offset Datsun badge, which wasn’t centred on the grille but mounted to the left.
The fourth-generation Hilux would establish Toyota’s dominance in the local bakkie market, a sales status it has never rescinded.
Despite awfully plastic interior materials, uncomfortable seats and statically underpowered 2.2-litre petrol engines, the Hilux 2200 double-cab 4×4 finally convinced both Land-Cruiser and Land Rover bakkie owners that perhaps there was an alternative to their traditional formula of adventuring and overlanding.
These solid-axle Hilux bakkies had brutal ride quality but were unbreakable and although open-road cruising ability was asthmatic at best (in parallel with curiously tragic fuel consumption), they are amongst the most capable off-road vehicles ever built – even by 2018 standards.
In fact, the Hilux 2200 SFA double-cab’s greatest achievement, is that it is considered a viable adventure vehicle purchase, three decades after the original launch. Something which can’t be said for any of the fourth-generation Hilux’s rivals, which have all been recycled as scrap. Mostly.
With the Amarok only debuting in late 2010, you’d imagine VW was a spectator to the local bakkie market for decades. But it wasn’t.
Although VW couldn’t compete with the large bakkie class that Hilux effectively standardised in the 1980s, it saw a great opportunity for a front-wheel-drive lifestyle bakkie, which wasn’t as slow as those being produced by Ford, Mazda and Nissan.
The result was a loadbin enabled VW Golf, called the Caddy, and it was perfect for those urbanites who required something to toss hobby accessories in the back, but who didn’t yet have kids.
Caddy was much quicker than a Nissan 1400 and more driveable than Ford Bantam, being powered by a 1.8-litre engine, which made it a junior performance bakkie of sorts.
Perhaps the only bakkie from its era which could rival Hilux for durability, these first ‘square-faced’ Isuzu’s became legendary within the South African agricultural and rural community.
Isuzu popularised direct-injection diesel technology in the local market, which meant quieter compression ignition engines with slightly less vibrational harshness – and an excellent ratio of fuel consumption to workload.