Long live the Condor!
Our friends have Nissan Patrols and Toyota Hiluxes and vehicles like that… but because they’re our friends, we’re welcome in their midst with our “modest” Condor.
I don’t know much about cars, but I can see our Condor impresses our buddies. The car reminds me of our sheepdog – humble but sharp and reliable!
What do you use the Condor for?
We drive 5 000 to 8 000 km five or six times a year. We’ve travelled all over Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, the West Coast, the Richtersveld, everywhere…
By now I have the utmost confidence in this vehicle. Of course, my husband Ponkie (yes, it’s his real name) also has to get credit for his driving skills. The Condor is, of course, a glorified panel van.
Did you make it more comfortable for touring?
You’ll laugh if you see how many bits and bobs we’ve put in the Condor to make it more comfortable. On the front passenger side we’ve installed a small shelf on which I neatly store the coffee flask, water bottle and Wet Wipes.
We had an extra diesel tank (it now takes 117 litres) fitted, as well as a roof rack and a stainless steel water tank on the roof with a pipe coming down the step ladder.
How many people go along on your trips? Do you use a trailer?
Our party is usually made up of two adults and two grown-up children, plus a friend. We would holiday in Botswana for two weeks with all our gear in the Condor and on top of the roof rack. No trailer! And no, we don’t even skimp on underwear!
We removed the rear seat for extra storage space. Ponkie fitted a frame right behind the second row of seats to prevent the luggage that’s stacked high from tumbling onto the children’s heads if he brakes suddenly.
The other day we had a panel installed that slides out. I pack the ammo chests on that so I can easily get them out of the boot. Above the crates and small fridge is a rack covered in carpeting on which we pack the chairs and bedding.
Have you ever had a breakdown or got stuck?
Never. Not once. In fact, once, in Die Hel, we towed a broken-down grader out of the road so cars could pass it on the narrow road.
Why do you prefer the Condor over other 4x4s?
The Condor tiptoes over the sand where Patrols and other heavier vehicles would dig in. Ponkie did have a rear diff lock fitted so we won’t lag behind in Botswana…
The Condor’s ground clearance is a tad low for off-roading. How did you get around that?
We removed the spare wheel, which is usually mounted below the boot, and Ponkie fitted it to the back of the Condor, on a mounting that he welded himself. It swings out when you open the tailgate.
What would you buy next?
It’s a real pity Toyota doesn’t make the Condor any more. There’s the Land Cruiser 70, but we don’t need a new vehicle yet and we can’t afford one now. We’ll wait until the second-hand models make it into the classifieds.
Meanwhile, it’s all plain sailing with the Condor.
What is the fuel consumption?
Ponkie says when fully laden, the Condor uses about 11 ℓ/100 km. We use about half as much diesel as our friends, so we can go on two trips for every one trip they do.