LP 1413 at the Cape of Good Hope

Classic vehicle


An LP 1413 has been doing faithful service since 1977 at the Cape of Good Hope.

De Villiers Lategan searches for the right word in his head, in the dictionary, on the internet: "Bestendigheid," he finally calls out triumphantly. It is a mystery to him, a wiry South African, why he did not hit on the word straight away in his native Afrikaans. After all, reliability has been a major theme in the life of the 50-year-old director of "Lategan’s Sementwerke" in Wellington, South Africa.

Out of the 14 vehicles in his fleet, one has a particular place in his heart: the Mercedes Benz LP 1413 – by far the oldest truck in the fleet. The "bubble nose", as the legendary short-nosed vehicle is known at the Cape of Good Hope, has reached the grand old age of 37 and is still in use every day.

"The bubble nose is one of the family," says Lategan, who even has the original invoice to show: his father paid 15,000 South African rand for the truck; that was 17,250 US dollars at the rate of exchange back then.

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