For those of you who didn’t see on social media already, I bought a car. Her name is Greylene and she is a 2022 Suzuki Jimny.
I have never been a “car person”. I have never thought much about cars and never understood why people spend such insanely large amounts of money, time, and brain space on cars. My previous car, Henrike — named for the very dear, now-departed friend who sold her to me — was a tiny, no-frills, 2007 Hyundai Atos, and she suited my needs perfectly for a decade.
But I’ve known for a while that the time was coming for me to buy a new car. I wanted to explore South Africa more by road, and Henrike, with her doughnut-sized wheels, could no longer take me to all the places I wanted to go. I also wanted a car that felt a little safer and stronger — a car that could hold its own on Joburg’s pothole-riddled streets and stand up to the city’s aggressive taxi drivers.
I kept putting it off though. I was so attached to Henrike, still an incredibly trusty little car, and finding a new car seemed like such an unpleasant chore…until the Suzuki Jimny wormed its way into my subconscious.
I started seeing Jimnys all over the place. They are everywhere and they are cute. I hate using the word cute to describe a car — I know it makes me sound like such a stereotypical girl — but I defy you to come up with a better descriptor. This car seems to have been designed specifically for Instagram.
Jimnys are small but sturdy, utilitarian and elegant at the same time. They’re great for driving on dirt roads but also great for navigating busy city streets. I started talking to people I know who own Jimnys, many of whom are women (although lots of men drive them too), and everyone who has one loves it. Many of them have bought multiple, consecutive Jimnys.
Jimny people are cultish — the kind of people who wave to other Jimny people on the road. They love their cars, and their cars are part of their identity. Jimny people are car people.
Suddenly, to my own great shock, I wanted to become a Jimny car person. Very soon afterward, in a matter of weeks, I did.
Last weekend Thorsten and I took Greylene on her first road trip (with us at least) to a holiday home on the Vaal River, about an hour outside of Joburg near the weird town of Deneysville. I need to write a longer post about why I decided to buy a Jimny and my future plans for this cultish car. (I have big plans!) But in the meantime, here are a few pictures of Greylene on the trip.
What Happened to Henrike?
Even before I decided to buy a Jimny, I’d been thinking about what I would do with Henrike if I got a new car. I couldn’t just trade her in at a dealership. So I decided to give Henrike to Lucky.
Lucky is one of my oldest friends in South Africa and he lives at my old house in Melville, so Henrike is just a short drive away whenever I want to visit. Lucky loves cars — a true car person, in the best sense of the word — but he’d never owned one. Now he does, and that makes both Lucky and me very happy. I know Henrike (the person) would be happy too.
There will be much more of Greylene to come in future posts.