For many the current lockdown means finally having the time to complete a long-neglected project. For Barend Craven of Kalkheuwel this project entails a fully functional ‘baby’ Land Rover that stands only 700 mm on its wheels.
“I inherited the Landie from my landlord after it had sat partially completed in his garage for more than ten years. The Toylander comes in kit form from England and he bought it in 2003. The body and wheels were assembled and his children pushed it around for a while before it was retired to the garage. When I moved in and saw it, I asked if I could finish it. And then the lockdown came, and I finally had time.” After so many years in storage, bits and pieces of the kit had gone missing and Barend had to improvise. “These kits and vehicles are open to customisation and one can add whatever you like and as far as your skills allow. I love the fact that you have to find ways to make things work. It is mentally challenging and very entertaining,” he says.
“It also requires skills in steel work, auto electrical knowledge, carpentry, and auto paint. Being a handyman by trade, I have a large variety of tools and some knowledge in all these fields. I just love it!” The baby Land Rover runs on two 12/24v electric motors connected to two 12v car batteries. It boasts a soft start controller unit and the rest of the electrical components such as headlights, indicators, horn and hazard lights work off a 12 volt system connected to one of the series connected batteries. It is almost finished and will be by the end of lockdown if he can get hold of a specific primer and the correct Land Rover paint. “My aim is to have it completed, stripped, sprayed and reassembled by the end of lockdown so I can get back to work that in fact earns money,” he laughs. “This is an expensive project. It was bought in 2003 for 860 Pounds and sells for 1 860 Pounds today.” Barend says the Landie will be able to carry two six-year-olds or a small adult and can reach an approximate speed of 8 km per hour. “It will be such a good feeling to see it finally drive out of the garage in its full splendour.”