Good friends and fast cars, what more could you ask for?

The Nissan 1400 turbo named ‘Ben 10’ which Collin and Norman race around the country in. Picture: Supplied/Auto Rush

The Nissan 1400 turbo named ‘Ben 10’ which Collin and Norman race around the country in. Picture: Supplied/Auto Rush

Published May 9, 2024


THE saying "if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far go together”, is manifested in Collin Naidoo and Norman Naidoo’s 25-year friendship, both on and off the race track.

What started out as a rivalry, turned to friendship and eventually morphed into a brotherhood backed by their shared love for speed and high octane.

With Norman, 56, playing the alchemist under the bonnet of their Nissan 1400 bakkie and Collin steering the little green rocket, the duo have racked up accomplishments across South Africa and have earned a reputation for being one of the fastest teams around.

Collin Naidoo [left] and Norman Naidoo stand alongside Kevin 11, the turbo bakkie that they built. Picture: Supplied

At the heart of their bakkie named ‘Ben 10’ is the beloved Toyota 4AGE 16 valve motor, tweaked and tuned, pushing the bakkie down a quarter mile in 9.7 seconds, which is Collin’s fastest recorded time.

Collin, 55, a manager at a construction plant company, said he first met Norman, owner of Ice Berg Auto, at a street race event 25 years ago.

Collin raced a Ford v6 at the time while Norman was in a nimble 2 litre Ford Escort.

“Norman and I met about 25 years ago. We met up on the street. He built a car for one of his buddies and we decided to race that car and that car gave me a hiding on the street.

“It had a little Pinto engine [Ford] on it and I was a V6 man at that time,” Collin explained.

Norman’s version of how they met was similar, adding that he built the car which beat Collin for another “ballie”.

“It was a Ford Escort Mark 1. I built the car for another ballie and I decided to pimp it up for him and we went the Pinto 2 litre way. That’s when Mr Naidoo here, my so-called brother here tried to take it on and go into hiding of his life,” Norman said.

Since, Norman beat Collin out on the street, the two have teamed up and decided they could get more done together, and so they did.

Enter Ben 10, a green naturally aspirated Nissan 1400 bakkie powered by a 4AGE Toyota Twincam top with a 1800 bottom end, which Norman dubbed a “mixed masala” engine.

The first Ben 10 bakkie that Collin and Norman built for drag racing. Picture: Supplied

The pair raced the first version of Ben 10 all throughout South Africa before they changed it up and decided to strap on a turbocharger in hopes of achieving faster times.

“It was really fast for its class and we had a lot of fun with the boys we raced, many of which are still racing to this day.

“We went to a lot of places with that bakkie and ran a best time of 11.5 seconds,” Collin added.

After having their fun in the green Ben 10, the team then built a burgundy 1400 bakkie named Kevin 11.

Kevin 11 ran the same set-up as the Ben 10 bakkie, except for the turbocharger and few other changes.

Kevin 11 coming off the line at a drag event. Picture: Supplied by Noman Naidoo

“It was a 7A engine with a mix masala in the bottom. It had nice cams and head work and a dictator management system,” Norman explained.

But Kevin 11 met its demise at Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone during a national drag racing event.

Collin came up against another 1400 bakkie but could not make it to the end of the track in one piece.

“We were on a knock out system and we were into the semi-finals and I had to race a bakkie from Cape Town, which was Glen’s bakkie- another 1400 with a rotary engine.

“And when we left the line we were neck and neck and at the 200 metre mark I decided to hit the high boost and the bakkie couldn't hold and it went straight into the wall on the left hand side,” Collin said.

Kevin 11 after the crash at Dezzi Raceway. Picture: Supplied

After the crash, Collin and Norman took all of the parts from Kevin 11 and put it into the new version of Ben 10, another green 1400 bakkie.

“It is the exact same set up as the burgundy Nissan,” Norman said.

Ben 10 engine set up. Picture: Supplied/ Auto Rush

With the newly built Ben 10 decimating vehicles on the track, Collin and Norman plan to take the new build into the low 9-second bracket in the coming race season.

As for the future, Collin hopes his son Kaylin takes up the reins in his powder blue Datsun GX and carries the family name forward while Norman hopes to continue building race cars.