To the moon and back: the van that can

Owners Noel and Janet Alexander with their van.
Owners Noel and Janet Alexander with their van.

IT’S the little van that can. This Toyota HiAce has made a trip to the moon and back — in fact, it’s a mere 140,000 kilometres out from landing on the moon for a second time.

That’s figuratively speaking, of course.

With 1 million kilometres having clicked over on the odometer, Noel and Janet Alexander’s 1993 model could well have covered the 384,400 kilometre trip to the moon, returned to Earth, and set off again for another journey.

Or the former taxi could have driven from Sydney to Perth 254 times, or around the world 25 times.

The Alexanders, from Culcairn, say despite the million clicks, the van is still reliable — and there’s no way they will part with it any time soon.

“We would drive it to Perth tomorrow,” Mr Alexander said.

“Being an old taxi, you know it’s been serviced regularly and it’s been looked after, even though it’s done the kilometres.”

The couple bought the van for $1000 in Albury 12 years ago when it had 760,000 kilometres on the dial.

“We thought we would be lucky to get six to 12 months out of it,” Mrs Alexander said.

“But it just keeps going.”

The couple used the van for their courier business for seven years and found many other uses over the years.

“We have slept in it, used it as a horse float and often been called upon to help people move furniture,” Mrs Alexander said.

At the weekend, they were eager to capture the million-kilometre milestone on camera, which meant driving around Culcairn until it was about to click over.

“We weren’t sure if it would click over or get jammed on 999,999,” Mr Alexander said.

“It did click over and showed all zeros.”

Mr Alexander drives the van to work in Albury during the week, a 132-kilometre round trip from Culcairn to Murray Valley Recyclers.

But it’s not ready for the scrap heap just yet.

“It’s ready for its next million,” Mrs Alexander said.

Jacob Toyota Wodonga general manager Dean Jacob said the van had been checked out and confirmed it was still the original motor.

“It’s a case that it’s been looked after and it’s seen them through,” he said.

“The best I have seen is about 600,000 kilometres with the original motor.”


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