Jaco Van Der Merwe
There have been plenty of speculation about Ford’s plans to unveil a brand new small bakkie in North America that could eventually find its way to South Africa. But until a such time, a spiritual successor for the Bantam hits our showfloors, should that ever happen, the pre-owned market is the only place you’ll find South Africa’s beloved little Blue Oval half-tonner.
The third generation of the locally built Bantam went out of production in 2011 and even after almost a decade, these vehicles are still plentiful on our roads. Whether they are used for work or recreation, they are renowned for toughness and versatility and offer an attractive alternative to bigger and more expensive one-tonners.
The only half-tonner left in the local market, the Nissan NP200, starts at a tad under R200k which is a bit steep for buyers on a shoestring budget looking for a bakkie. But some research through the pre-owned listings on autotrader.co.za and cars.co.za show that there are plenty of half-tonner gems out there at more affordable prices. And a large chunk of those wear a Bantam badge.
Following the first two generations Ford’s half-tonner, respectively based on the Mark III Escort in the 1980s and the Mazda 323 in the 1990’s, the last reincarnation of the Bantam was based on the Fiesta and first rolled off the assembly line in Silverton in 2002. They were initially offered with a choice of two petrol engines, the 1.3 and 1.6-litre Rocam (Roller Finger Camshaft) and a choice of four trim levels: base, XL, XLT and XLE. As part of a second facelift in 2009, a 1.4-litre Duratorq turboodiesel engine was introduced to the line-up.
You can find a good selection of almost all the engine variants and trim levels on sale. And apart from the niceties the better specced models offered, most of the listings include aftermarket extras such as canopies, tonneau covers or doors, rubberised loadboxes, tow bars, roller bars, nudge bars and in one case, even sublime black leather seats. All these fitments add up and a properly specced Bantam with relatively low kilometers is worth its weight in gold.
The diesel options are limited as these models were only sold for two years before the Bantam was discontinued. And most of them have quite a bit of mileage on the clock, but most will argue that even with 180 000 km the engine has probably only just been run in. And these oil-burners is bound to offer exceptional fuel economy.
In a bakkie-mad country like South Africa every household needs a bakkie and you don’t have the budget for an expensive double cab, there are other ways to get the job done starting from as low as around R40k. Like the famous old television advert use to tell us: “Boet, you need a Bantam…”
Here is a list of the best buy pre-owned Ford Bantams we could find.
Bantam 1.6 XLT – 2012 – 130 000 km – R119 950
Bantam 1.6i (Aircon) – 2009 – 67 678 km – R119 900
Bantam 1.4 TDCi – 2011 – 98 600 km – R115 000
Bantam 1.6 XLT – 2011 – 177 527 km – R109 900
Bantam 1.6 XLT – 2010 – 109 000 km – R109 900
Bantam 1.3 XL – 2010 – 81 000 km – R104 900
Bantam 1.3 XL – 2003 – 110 420 km – R99 900
Bantam 1.4 TDCi (Aircon) – 2010 – 172 290 km – R89 900
Bantam 1.3i (Aircon) – 2009 – 206 298 km – R89 900
Bantam 1.6 XLT – 2004 – 93 003 km – R79 900
Bantam 1.3i – 2006 – 143 000 km – R79 900
Bantam 1.3i (Aircon) – 2008 – 135 000 km – R69 900
Bantam 1.6 XLT – 2005 – 224 000 km – R59 000
Bantam 1.6 XLT – 2007 – 274 000 km – R49 900
Bantam 1.6 XL – 2005 – 203 000 km – R44 000
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