Sad goodbye to a legend

Mabuyane Kekana

Mabuyane Kekana

The Nissan 1400 has been around for so long that the thought of seeing it go never entered one's mind.

But Nissan South Africa had to do the dirty job of announcing the end of the popular Nissan 1400.

The longest surviving car in the South African motor industry, the Nissan 1400 has seen it all and outlived most.

The 35-year-old bakkie will have a replacement, the new Nissan NP200, which will be launched in September.

The job of phasing out the 1400 stared in 2005, according to Nissan South Africa General manager light commercial vehicles, Chris Schell

The decision was prompted by new government legislation controlling emission levels.

But Nissan SA at the same time decided to honour this legend by making 150 special models of the 1400. It will be called the Heritage Edition and will be priced at R89100.

The 1400 was loved and cherished by most South Africans through the years, though it was said to be one of the most hijacked vehicles on our roads.

With more than 275000 units sold in South Africa, Nissan's iconic 1400 half-ton bakkie is the longest-serving vehicle in the history of the South African motor industry.

Small business owners and fleet operators continue to swear by the evergreen 1400 bakkie and are saddened by the news of its farewell, according to the maker.

The Nissan 1400 made its debut in South Africa in 1971. The original Datsun 1200 evolved into the Datsun 1400 in 1980 and became known as the Nissan 1400 in 1990.

It has a well-deserved reputation as the ultimate small workhorse, thanks to its reliability, low maintenance requirements and modest sticker price.

In both the Standard and Champ guises it has stood strong as one of the most affordable commercial vehicles on the South African market for the past decade.