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4x4

NEWS • PRODUCTS • TRAIL GUIDES • WORKSHOP • CALENDAR • OFF-ROAD SCENE DRIVEN New Isuzu D-Max XTR is a serious off-roader

THE UK’S ONLY 4X4 AND PICK- UP MAGAZINE

NEW DEFENDER

4x4 readers have your say on Land Rover’s new off-road hero

One of the very best 80-Series Landcruisers you’ll ever see

STEAMING IN

Jeep’s hot new Gladiator pick-up is on the way. And the Five-Quarter concept is the hottest version of it yet…

£4.75

Across the wastes of Sudan in a late Range Rover

NOV 2019

The story of the craziest 4x4 there’s ever been… 4x4 Cover Nov AKSK.indd 1

01/10/2019 21:28


RIL3900HP / REIL3900HP

MAGflex Pivot FLEX APPEAL

RIL3700HP / REIL3700HP

MAGflex Utility READY FOR ANYTHING

RIL3600HP / REIL3600HP

MAGflex Twist THE GO TO

RIL4000 / REIL4000

MAGflex

MULTI ANGLE

RIL3400HP / REIL3400HP

MAGflex Arc

COMPACT & TOUGH

A Light For Every Job The Ring MAGflex range of Inspection Lamps As one of the first companies to pioneer LED inspection lamps for garages and workshops, Ring has a rich heritage and a strong reputation in workshop lighting. Bright, portable, rechargeable and resistant to oil, dirt and tough enough to withstand the knocks in a workshop, whatever the job.

Visit www.ringautomotive.com and find the right light for your job.

RUBL1000 / REUBL1000

MAGflex Under Bonnet EXTEND AND ADJUST

/ringautomotive

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FLOOR MATS GI200

Range Rover Sport 2013>

There’s no doubting the strength of the hardwearing Rubber Mats and their proven capability to significantly reduce wear and tear in your car. They’re lightweight, very flexible and they’re custom-made. With a raised outer lip to retain any spills, they’ll do a fantastic job of keeping the interior of your vehicle in the best possible condition, while covering up any existing damage.

GI202

GI201 Discovery 4 2015>

LR045096

Discovery Sport 2015>

VPLFS0233

Evoque 2011>

Freelander 2 06-14

LR002516

BOOT LINERS

Freelander 2 06-14

The Boot Liners offer outstanding protection from everyday wear and tear. It will also reduce road noise and, with its raised outer edge, prevent accidental spills from ruining your car’s interior. These custom-made Boot Mat Liners are infused with a long-lasting vanilla scent and are fully compatible with our Dog Guards and Dividers.

VPLGS0260

Range Rover 2012>

LR003894 Ranger Rover 2002-2012

LR006401

VPLCS0279

Discovery 3 & Discovery 4 2004-2016

Discovery Sport (7 SEAT) 2015>

VPLSS0043

Range Rover Sport 2005-2013

VPLVS0089

Range Rover Sport 2005-2013

VPLWS0225

Range Rover Sport 2013>

www.terrafirma4x4store.co.uk | T: +44 1235 832900 | E: sales@frogsisland4x4.com


DOG GUARDS From the older 110, 90 and Freelanders to the Range Rover Sport, Discovery and Evoque, Travall have created an extensive range of high quality dog Guards exclusively for these iconic of vehicles. Each one is made in the UK’s engineering heartland from the best available materials. They laser-cut and precisionweld high grade steel, which is then nylon-powder coated using a unique formula.

GI053 Discovery 3, Discovery 4 04-16

GI055 Range Rover Sport 05-13

This gives their dog guards an attractive and ultra-tough finish which is extremely resistant to scratches and knocks. They are recognised throughout the world for their strength, dependability, ruggedness and reliability, whether on or off the road. So, if you’re looking for a guard that’s just as tough, and as well-designed, as the Land Rover itself, you’ve found it.

STC50479 Defender 90/110 Bulk Head 83-90

GI052 Range Rover 2012>

VPLCS0300 Discovery Sport 2015>

Please check our website for full fitment details:

www.terrafirma4x4store.co.uk VPLVS0218 Evoque 5DR 2011>

VPLFS0146 Freelander 2 06-14

VPLWS0236

Range Rover Sport 2014> & SVR 2015>

VPLRS0375 Discovery 5 2016

VUB500510 Defender 07-16 Station Wagon


NOW STOCKING INTERIOR PROTECTION FROM TRAVALL Terrafirma have teamed up with Travall, the world’s leading producer of Dog Guards, Floor Mats and Bootliners to introduce their products into our range. Travall have been making cost-effective accessories since 2007 and well recognised for quality and ease of fitment.

DOG GUARDS

GI052

BOOT LINERS

VPLCS0279

Discovery Sport (7 SEAT) 2015>

Range Rover 2012>

FLOOR MATS

VPLFS0233

Freelander 2 06-14

SHOP ONLINE AT:

WWW.TERRAFIRMA4X4STORE.CO.UK


November 2019

THIS MONTH 14

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55 12 ISSUES OF 4X4 – FOR JUST £12!

This has got to be the best value offer in the history of publishing… subscribe to 4x4 for a year and it’ll only cost a quid an issue! News 14 20

34

Land Rover Defender At long last, the covers are off INEOS Grenadier It’s going to be a real, British-built off-roader

Tested 30 34

Isuzu D-Max XTR New model is tuned for off-roading Toyota Landcruiser Base-spec 3-door in Commercial form

Every Month 4 6 8 22 96

Alan Kidd Will there be a New Defender Wave? Gallery All manner of 4x4s doing their thing in Africa Mongolia Explorations in one of the last true wildernesses Products Parts, accessories, tools and much more for your 4x4 life Next Month A Land Rover rebuild to top off a life’s work

Features 38 44 50

38

Jeep 5-Quarter The coolest take on the new Jeep Gladiator Expedition Cruiser One of the very best 80-Series you’ll ever see Lamborghini LM002 Is this the barmiest off-roader ever built?

Travel 58

Sudan Crossing a land of two halves in a modern Range Rover

Our 4x4s 66

Defender 90 A just-in-time visit to Strata Florida

Off-Road Scene 70 72 74 75 75

Ardventures New off-road tour company with a familiar face Jeepey Jamboree It was a hot one… hot, but proper muddy Odyssey Challenge Mow Cop hosts the penultimate round Slindon Safari Doubled-up driving days after site next door closes Jacob’s Ladder Permanent TRO may be challenged in court

58

Off-Road Calendar 71 75 76

Pay-and-Play Events Go in as hard as you want UK Convoy Tours Tag-along runs on public rights of way Overland Travel Long-range adventures in your 4x4

72

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Alan Kidd Editor

P

eople become bonded to cars that look after them. That’s why the Land Rover Defender is such an icon, and why so many owners basically fall in love with their trucks. Defenders are very good at taking one for the team. But they’re also very good at letting you know how much grief you’re giving them – from the moan of the engine to the clanking from the suspension and the thumps and boings from the springs, when you off-road a Defender it’s constantly saying This Is What I’m Putting Up With For You. That’s why people don’t fall in love with Landcruisers or Patrols the same way. These are vehicles that just do it, with no great song or dance. Having owned a Patrol, a Landcruiser and enough Defenders to demonstrate with some certainty that I’ll never learn, I can confirm that the only vehicle I’ve ever shed a tear over when selling it was my first 90. It caused me more grief than anything else I’ve ever owned, but in the six years we spent together it became a lifelong friend. The night before I delivered it to its new owner, I went outside to say goodbye and my God, I swear I saw teardrops in its headlamps too. And there it is, right there, the power of a simple off-road truck to turn a grown man into a gibbering wreck. That was just under two decades ago, and here I am still talking about my old 90 like a soppy idiot. Will people still be feeling the same way about the new Defender in twenty years’ time? It’s possible, I guess. But they’ve gone to great lengths to design out the old Defender’s imperfections, and to a great extent those are what made people love it. Land Rover says this is a premium vehicle. The old Defender, even when they started to tart it up, was never premium. That was what made it magical.You could be a blokewot-goes-down-sewers-in-big-rubberboots, or you could be a brain surgeon: whoever you were, whatever you did, it was relevant to your life. It was perhaps the most democratic car ever made. Hence the Land Rover Wave. It’s one of the very best things I’ve ever experienced as a driver. No other car I know of has

Will new Defender drivers still wave to each other? the same effect on people. And again, the person waving back might be a farm hand, a millionaire… it might be someone who’s just stolen it, or it might be the Queen. No other car is so universal, nor so bonding. And you know, if it is the Queen, I reckon she’d probably wave back. Something else I reckon, in fact I’m sure of it, is that there’ll be a New Defender Wave. Based purely on novelty, if nothing else. ‘Oh my God,YOU’VE got one too, how cool are WE?’ and so on. But will people driving old and new Defenders wave to each other? I very much hope so… First time I’m behind the wheel of my Td5 90 and I see a new one coming the other way, of course I’ll wave. I honestly don’t know if the other guy will wave back, though – whether he’ll even recognise what I’m doing, whether he’ll think he’s part of the same community as me… and, most of all I suspect, whether he’ll think something like ‘look at that loser, thinks his old truck is worthy of a wave from me.’ Honestly, I think that’s how a lot of us feel about the new one. Personally, I don’t mind its styling and I like the idea of a Defender that’s comfortable and well equipped, but I’m sceptical about its genuine long-term abilities and I can’t stand the way they’re marketing it as a cool wagon for well-off adventurers. Thing is, that entire paragraph could have been written three decades ago about the then-new Discovery. Every word. And that turned out alright, didn’t it? Selling my old Disco didn’t make me blub, though. And no-one ever waved. And yet it was more of a Defender than the new Defender is. Make sense of that. I want to love the new Defender. I want it to prove itself, and I want this to be the start of a new chapter – not the end of the story. And if you ever see me in one, I want you to wave. Ideally with more than just the two fingers.

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Tel: 01283 553243 Email: enquiries@assignment-media.co.uk Web: www.totaloffroad.co.uk www.4x4i.com Online Shop: www.toronline.co.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/totaloffroad www.facebook.com/4x4Mag Editor Alan Kidd Assistant Editor George Dove Art Editor Samantha D’Souza Contributors Mike Trott, Dan Fenn, Kazuyoshi Sasazaki, Paul Looe, Pip Evans, Tom Traubert, Jenny Bright, Gavin Lowrie, Raymond and Nereide Greaves Photographers Harry Hamm, Steve Taylor, Tomasz Jarecki, Andy Bonner Group Advertising Manager Ian Argent Tel: 01283 553242 Advertising Manager Colin Ashworth Tel: 01283 553244 Advertising and Exhibition Sales Executive Abigail Cooper Tel: 01283 553246 Advertising Production Sarah Moss Tel: 01283 553242 Subscriptions Manager Catherine Martin Subscriptions Assistants Emma Emery, Kay Tunnicliffe, Abi Dutton Publisher and Head of Marketing Sarah Moss Email: sarah.moss@assignment-media.co.uk To subscribe to 4x4, or renew a subscription, call 01283 742970. Prices for 12 issues: UK £42 (24 issues £76); Europe Airmail/ROW Surface £54; ROW Airmail £78 Distributed by Marketforce; www.marketforce.co.uk Every effort is made to ensure the contents of 4x4 are accurate, but Assignment Media accepts no responsibility for errors or omissions nor the consequences of actions made as a result of these. When responding to any advert in 4x4, you should make appropriate enquiries before sending money or entering into a contract. The publishers take reasonable care to ensure advertisers’ probity, but will not be liable for loss or damage incurred from responding to adverts Where a photo credit includes the note ‘CC BY 2.0’ or similar, the image is made available under that Creative Commons licence: details at www.creativecommons.org 4x4 is published by Assignment Media Ltd, Repton House G11, Bretby Business Park, Ashby Road, Bretby, Derbyshire DE15 0YZ

© Assignment Media Ltd, 2019

4x4 21/09/2019 12:30


Bowler Motorsport Accessories Add that extra special touch to your Defender

Lightweight Steering Guards Used in the Defender Challenge, the lightweight steering guard will offer protection to steering arms and linkages, but also offers access for maintenance. It uses existing mounting points and comes with 2 x red towing eyes for recovery work.

Lightweight Sill Protectors Made from lightweight aluminium and available in black and graphite, these sill protectors are used in the Defender Challenge. Supplied with a fitting kit, they bolt onto existing mounting points and do not require welding. Compatible with XS side steps.

Lightweight Front Bumpers – Road & Race Both lightweight and high strength, the aluminium bumpers are handmade at Bowler. They use the existing bumper mounting points and are available in black and graphite. Note - Excludes spotlights shown.

A selection of great looking, high quality accessories from Bowler Motorsport. Bowler is a market leader in the production of racing and high performance all terrain vehicles, and has been since 1985. Based in Derbyshire in the UK, they use both technology and craftsmanship to deliver vehicles and accessories with style, strength, performance and an unrivalled spirit of adventure.

Spectre’ Wheel Arches Produced in the UK and inspired by the JLR Special Vehicles produced Defenders for the film Spectre, these arches are identical in terms of size and shape, are finished in gloss black and come complete with fitting templates.

16” & 18” Lightweight Wheels Made in the UK exclusively for Bowler, these lightweight, high strength wheels are TÜV tested and are used in the Defender Challenge. They have a manufacturers guarantee and are used extensively in motorsport. Maximum load rating 1,250kg. Black & anthracite available.

Rear Step Bumpers Designed to be practical, robust and stylish, this is the Bowler version of the popular NAS rear bumper. Available in black and graphite. The original tow bar and electrics are kept in the same place, and the step, with durable rear treads, conveniently attaches to the rear cross member.

Find more images and part numbers online at www.britpart.com/bowler


GALLERY

In pictures: 4x4s and off-road stories from around the world

Africa and 4x4s go together perfectly. Whether it’s the white Patrols and Landcruisers used by aid agencies and other NGOs, the bakkies used by everyone in rural South Africa or the quirky expedition trucks of all shapes and sizes driven by travellers out to see the world, the Dark Continent (actually, it’s very light) is definitive off-tarmac territory. You might be exploring an iconic landscape like the Sahara Desert in a convoy of overland campers with roof tents or box bodies, or tackling a classic African trail like the fabled Sani Pass. You might be on the adventure of a lifetime on an event like the Budapest-Bamako Rally. Or you might have been parked up watching the animals on a safari drive for so long that the animals have come to find shade under the back end of your truck. Either way, Africa is the place to go for stuff you don’t see anywhere else. Majestic sand dunes? Of course. Towering mountains? Plenty. Barren deserts that literally run to the edge of the sea? No, not like Skegness. Africa is a continent whose wildlife and landscapes are why so many people want to go there – and why so many of them want to do it aboard a 4x4.

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Main picture: Morocco offroad trip, by Hans Wakataitea @ flickr.com, CC BY 2.0 Above: Lions Under the Jeep, by William Warby @ flickr. com, CC BY 2.0 Left: 4x4 Shipwreck Trail, Namaqualand, by flowcomm @ flickr.com, CC BY 2.0 Below: Sani Pass going down, by fiverlocker @ flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

4x4 01/10/2019 20:16


SPECIALIST 4X4 VEHICLE DISMANTERS JEEP - LAND ROVER AND MOST MAKES AND MODELS QUALITY GUARANTEED USED PARTS SOME OF THE VEHICLES WE HAVE RECENTLY DISMANTLED:

2015 JEEP WRANGLER JK 2.8CRD

2007 DODGE NITRO 2.8CRD

2016 RANGE ROVER EVOQUE 2.0 TD4

2014 RANGE 2016 ISUZU 2014 JEEP ROVER SPORT 4.4 D-MAX 2.5 DIESEL CHEROKEE MK5 V8 DIESEL KL 2.0 MULTIJET

Top: Mola Mola’s Sandwich Harbour 4x4 tour, by Olivier Bruchez @ flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0 Inset above left: Arsenie Coseac @ flickr.com, CC BY-ND 2.0 Inset above right: Southern Sahara, by David Stanley @ flickr.com, CC BY 2.0 Above: Budapest-Bamako Rally 2015, by BudapestBamako @ flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

2010 JEEP 2007 LAND ROVER CHEROKEE MK4 DISCOVERY 3 2.7 KK 2.8 CRD TDV6

2008 HONDA CRV 2.2 CDTI

Below: Water Crossing at Entabeni by Ryan Kilpatrick @ flickr.com, CC BY-ND 2.0

2006 JEEP GRAND 2006 NISSAN CHEROKEE WK PATHFINDER 2.5 5.7 V8 HEMI DCI Charlton Recycled Auto Parts Vehicle Recycling Centre, Gravel Pit Hill, Thriplow, Cambridge, SG8 7HZ Tel 01223 832656 Email parts@charltonautoparts.co.uk PLEASE VISIT WWW.CHARLTONAUTOPARTS.CO.UK

4x4 AWAITING ADS 2.5pp Gallery + Nov.indd 7

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DESTINATIONS

The world’s greatest 4x4 travel adventures caught on camera. This month, a remote Asian nation where tarmac is a blessed rarity

Mongolia Parts of Mongolia have become over-developed in recent times, with the mining industry in particular expanding at a breakneck pace. In the main, however, it’s the same sprawling rural nation it always has been, with a vast landscape of rivers and mountains pock-marked by traditional yurts. It’s also the home of the huge Gobi desert, though you don’t need to go that far to experience real remoteness. And best of all, away from the highways built by mining money it remains preciously unspoilt. Nonetheless, the government has established what it calls Strictly Protected Areas – national parks by any other name. Here, hunting and mining are prohibited and even low-impact activities like herding and tourism are carefully controlled. What this means is that the march of tarmac is missing these areas out – leaving a network of unsurfaced tracks instead of roads. In Khan Kentii, an area more than half the size of Wales, getting around means negotiating endless rough trails and frequent river crossings, in an area where flooding is common. If you’re lucky, there’ll be a bridge. If you’re really lucky, it’ll still be standing… Main picture: Edge of the Desert – Sunrise, by Zhang Yu @ flickr.com, CC BY SA 2.0 Above right: 4x4 Toyota in Mongolia, by Paulo Fessina @ flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0 Right: Mongolian highway, by Rob Oo @ flickr.com, CC BY 2.0 Below: Andy Smith and Emma Smart

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PERFORMS EXCEPTIONALLY ON ALL-TERRAINS The Grabber AT3 combines superior on-road performance, with exceptional off-road capabilities. It’s a tyre developed to enhance the potential of your 4x4 driving experience. • Features an aggressive pattern to work on multiple surfaces with enhanced grip. • Provides a robust compound for improved tread life on rugged terrain. • Designed for a smoother, confident and quieter drive • Safe handling in all-seasons, indicated by the M+S mark and the snowflake symbol. General Tire. A brand of Continental.

GRABBER 3 AT

YOUR ACCESS TO ANY ADVENTURE

Visit our website for further technical information and details of your nearest 4X4 stockist

WWW.4SITE4X4TYRES.CO.UK | 0870 112 9401 221117-LRO.indd 1

23/11/2017 11:15


Great British Land Rover Show • Stoneleigh Park,

THE BIG FINISH!

Stoneleigh Park gets ready for the biggest event in the Land Rover show calendar – the

T

hat time of year is approaching when Stoneleigh Park is getting ready for the Great British Land Rover Show. The annual season-closer, which is held indoors and can therefore be guaranteed not to get knocked over by the weather, is returning with the usual long list of exhibitors. And best of all, the much-loved Stoneleigh off-road course will be in action again. Under the stewardship of the All Wheel Drive Club, show visitors will be able to experience 2.4 miles of the sort of terrain that’ll get your 4x4 flexing and your pulse racing! Access to the off-road route is by ticket only. And as usual, prebooked tickets offer a saving – they cost £15.00 on the day, but just £10.00 in advance. Previously, the only other outdoor section of the show has been the club stands. Well,

not anymore. For the first time, club stands will be indoors – in a brand new section sponsored by Paddock Spares, the world’s biggest independent retailed of Land Rover parts and accessories. This exciting new section of the show is free for exhibiting clubs. It does have limited capacity, however, and spaces are available on a firstcome, first-served basis. Each club that books a stand will get space for two vehicles, four exhibitor passes, a listing on the show’s website and show guide – plus access to a unique weblink that allows club members to buy advance tickets for a discounted price of just £5.00! To book a club stand, contact Abi Cooper on 01283 553246. Also new for 2019 is the Adventure and Outdoor Leisure Zone, which is at the very heart of the show. This new area is specially for the many Land Rover fans who

dream of exploring the world – within it, you’ll find everything you could possibly need to turn your Landy into an overland machine. And in addition to cool kit like roof tents, camping equipment and accessories, you’ll find companies offering professionally led overseas adventure tours as well as offtarmac experiences on Britain’s green lanes. The bulk of the indoor space, as always, will be taken up by some of the most reputable and desirable brands in the Land Rover community. Whether you’re looking for modifications, spare parts of whatever accessories you and your Land Rover could ever need, you’ll find it here! Once again the show’s headline sponsors BFGoodrich will be exhibiting, as will additional sponsors Terrafirma and Paddock Spares. Other brands present include Syncro Gearboxes, Ruskin

Design, Hi-Pro Performance Tuning, Optimill Race Products and numerous other top specialists in all aspects of the Land Rover scene. And don’t forget our sister publication The Landy, which will be there too! Tickets for the show cost £15.00 on the door, but are currently available for £7.50 – yes, just half price – if booked in advance (with advance ticket sales closing at midnight on Tuesday 19 November. For show tickets and off-road course passes alike, head for www.greatbritishlrshow.com/tickets. It’s going to be a great event – we look forward to seeing you there!

Tickets are half-price when you book in advance – 10 | NOVEMBER 2019

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Warwickshire • 24 November • £7.50 in advance

ever-popular Great British Land Rover Show

it’s all at www.greatbritishlrshow.com/tickets 4x4 2pp GBLRS.indd 11

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All Seasons. All Conditions. All Terrains.

Davanti has spent years developing this AllTerrain tyre, applying the latest design and manufacturing innovation to develop a tyre as comfortable on the road, on the construction site, in the fields or up in the mountains. Terratoura is a high performance All-Terrain tyre. Its innovative tread pattern provides exceptional traction across all environments.

All-terrain, all year round.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT WWW.DAVANTI-TYRES.COM Untitled-3 1

05/06/2019 11:13


land rover defender upgrades & accessories

Head Linings for Defender 90 Comes as a 5-piece kit with sun visor covers & all fittings and fixings. Available in black, light grey & dark grey.

Head Linings for Defender 110

Est. 1981

Comes as a 4-piece kit with sun visor covers & all fittings & fixings. Available in black, light grey & dark grey.

/masai4x4

Internal Window Trims TD5

Replacement Seat Covers TD5

4-piece kit, sides and rear quarter panels. Available in black and grey. For Defenders 1987 to 2005 (TD5).

Available for the front seats, middle seat & both types of middle row (60/40 or 3 seats) Many designs on our website!

Internal Window Trims for Puma 4-piece kit, sides & rear quarter panels. Available in black & grey. For TDCi/Puma with or without side windows (Van Type).

MILNER

Replacement Seat Covers for Puma Available for the front seats, middle row (60/40) & rear foldable seats. Many designs on our website!

TD5 Inward Seat Covers Can go over the top of your old inward seats. Fits tightly, and comes in a variety of designs. Buy in PAIRS.

Lockable Sporting Boxes / Storage Neatly store, protect and lock away items that you regularly or permanently keep in your vehicle.

www.milneroffroad.com TEL: 01629 734411

EST. 1981

M.O.T & Service Parts Suspension Lift Kits Snorkels & Winches Wheels &Tyres Air Suspension Skid Plates Roll Bars Heavy Duty Clutches

** GENUINE & NON-GENUINE PARTS ** Mon-Fri: 8am - 5:30pm Sat: 8am - 12:30pm Old Road, Darley Dale, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 2ER

4x4 4x4 4x4

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4x4 NEWS

MIXED REACTION FROM OFF BRAND LOYALISTS ALIKE AS REVOLUTIONARY DEFENDER All-new Defender has monocoque design, independent suspension all-round and automatic next year • All models have cruise, climate, DAB and heated seats • Commercials set to start

A

lmost four years after the last original-shape Defender rolled off the production line, we finally know what the new one looks like. We know what it will be made from, how it will be equipped and what it’s going to cost. Most of all, we know the new Defender is going to be a very different proposition to the one we’ve come to know so well. It’s based on a monocoque body structure, for example, has all-independent suspension and comes with an automatic gearbox as standard.

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Nonetheless, Solihull is adamant that the vehicle is the real thing. Its monocoque is ‘the stiffest aluminium body Land Rover has ever produced,’ with the ability to withstand a 6500kg snatch load through its recovery point and up to 7000kg of vertical load through its wheels. Towing weight remains at 3500kg, as Land Rover knows it surely must for any Defender. The double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension uses a choice of steel coil or electronic air suspension, depending on the model. With the latter, ride height can be raised

by up to 145mm (just under 6”) for off-road use, and Land Rover quotes an articulation limit of 500mm. Combined with the biggest contact patch of any of the company’s vehicles, this should allow the tyres to find traction in most situations – and for when they can’t, there’s an active locking rear differential on the options list, as well as various off-road tread patterns. Approach and departure angles of 38 and 40 degrees, along with breakover angles of 28 and 31 degrees for the 110 and 90 respectively, are achieved by mounting the Defender’s body

20mm higher compared to those of Land Rover’s existing large SUVs. A short front overhang was achieved by relocating the battery and cooling system, while that at the rear was aided by continuing to mount the spare wheel on the side-hinged back door. Powering the wheels is a choice of engines which at launch comprises two diesel and two petrol options. All are familiar from elsewhere in the Land Rover range: the 2.0-litre SD4 diesel is available in 200 and 240bhp form, while petrol options are the 2.0 Si4 with 300bhp and, at the top of the range, the 3.0 i6 with a

4x4 01/10/2019 12:37


4x4 NEWS

ROADERS AND HARDCORE LAND ROVER UNVEILS ‘FIT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY’

transmission as standard • Two petrol and two diesel engines at launch, plug-in hybrid coming

at £35,000, 90s at £40,000 • Orders open now for 110, priced from £45,240 to £78,800

‘It’s probable that we will see the new Defender follow the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in breaching the £100,000 barrier’

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4x4 NEWS

You can argue all day long about whether or not the Defender looks like it should from the outside. But its cabin is a massive leap forward by any standards, in terms of design and equipment alike. Is there any other vehicle in the history of car making whose interior has skipped so many generations from one model to the next? huge 400bhp. Full figures are yet to be quoted, however both diesels return 37.2mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 199g/km The 3.0 i6 petrol engine is a mild hybrid, and there will also be a plug-

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in option joining the range during 2020. This will be a busy year in the Defender’s launch programme with the 90 coming in to join the 110, followed by commercial versions of both.

The 110 will offer the option of 5, 6 or 5+2 seats, while the 90 will be capable of accommodating up to six. Both will be available in five different spec levels (Defender, S, SE, HSE and X) in addition to the First Edition trim that will be available for the first year of production. Land Rover will also offer four themed accessory packs, as well as more optional equipment than has ever been offered previously on one of its vehicles – including winches, awnings, roof tents and more. Among all the many culture shocks for traditional Defender owners, perhaps the biggest is the long list of standard equipment that’s fitted across the range. Every Defender will have cruise and dual-zone climate, a heated windscreen, auto lights and wipers, heated seats, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, satnav, 360-degree parking aid and

safety tech including autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, driver condition monitoring and traffic sign recognition. Most remarkable of all perhaps, Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system can receive software updates over the air and instal them automatically. This in a vehicle where it also counts as progress to note that the new model has an adjustable steering column. And a dashboard. Reassuringly, all versions of the Defender have a dual-range transfer box. They also have Terrain Response, and models with air suspension get Adaptive Dynamics to go with it. Land Rover is insistent that the Defender will be its off-road flagship, and in addition to the figures quoted above it has a ground clearance of 291mm and wading depth of 900mm. The latest version of Terrain Response gains

4x4 01/10/2019 12:37


4x4 NEWS So what do people make of it? WHEN WE FIRST posted the new Defender on Facebook, readers of both 4x4 and our sister publication The Landy had very split opinions on it. Most were negative – but a good number expressed admiration for the vehicle, in many cases almost despite themselves. ‘I actually really like it,’ commented Anthony Moss, though Tom Quilty countered that it ‘looks like a fashion accessory.’ Cameron Walker, too, said ‘I do actually like it,’ and that view was shared by several others. There was a flurry of comments says the vehicle looks like something from another manufacturer. Suzuki got a number of votes here, as did the Skoda Yeti – but the most common comment was that it looks like a Jeep. Away from the vehicle’s appearance, Andy Crossley had a comment that will ring true with many traditional Defender owners: ‘Three seats in the front – result!’ Adrian Stannard, meanwhile, asked if the panels are bolt-on ‘just in case you damage one doing what the original Defender was designed to do?’ Daniel Irwin’s comment will ring true with many would-be owners, too: ‘If I had the money, I would buy the 110.’ And the Defender’s price did attract a lot of attention. Neil McDougall’s suggestion that ‘it’s a Discovery with a spare wheel and a Bentley price tag’ might suggest that he’s not tried to buy a Bentley recently, but Emma Draper summed up many people’s mood by saying ‘bring back the real 90s and 110s with affordable price tags.’ Not that real 90s and 110s have had affordable price tags for some time now – but at least the original Defender was never ‘just another Chelsea tractor which will sell to the rich and stupid,’ which is what Michael Dennis makes of the new one. Another recurring theme was the articulation on display in Land Rover’s press pictures. ‘Now that’s some flex,’ said Matt Lynn, and yes he was

being sarcastic. Mikey Durdle wasn’t, though, when he said ‘I didn’t know until now that a Defender’s articulation could have gotten worse.’ The vehicle’s reliance on electronics attracted a bit of attention, too. Our favourite comment here was from Luca Garau: ‘I hope there’s an ECU that opens a specific valve just to simulate an oil leak.’ Perhaps the saddest comment, however, and certainly one that ought to worry Land Rover, came from David Irvine: ’None of the real Defender’s iconic looks (I'm serious) have survived. Land Rover have obviously forgotten how universally disliked the DC100 concept was, and regurgitated it. Always hoped that one day I'd buy myself a new Defender. Certainly wouldn't touch this with a barge pole.’ ‘It’s a Disco without the creature comforts,’ said Nick Caton. And John MacLennan chimed in with: ‘Well done Land Rover, you managed to make your entire range pretty much the same…’ But let’s finish off with a positive comment, from Ian MacDonald: ‘I like it. You can definitely see the panel shapes and other distinctive Defender body lines. Mind you, the Defender is really an updated Series 1 mounted on the Range Rover Classic chassis…’

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01/10/2019 12:37


4x4 NEWS Farewell to all those perfect imperfections

OWNING A DEFENDER is not like owning any other car. It’s like driving around in your best friend, or someone in your family being a superhero. People don’t just own Land Rovers: they fall in love with them One of the absolutely pivotal reasons for this has always been that Land Rovers are flawed. a new Wade mode at the top of the range, indeed, and there’s a ClearSight Ground View system which shows a camera image of the area obscured by the bonnet on the central media screen. Not that visibility is bad, because the dashboard has been kept low to help create the high-command seating position for which Defenders are so well known. The Defender also offers the first ever application of Configurable Terrain Response, which allows experienced drivers to fine-tune individual settings while others leave it in Auto to make its own mind up about the best settings for the terrain. Like the version of Terrain Response with the new Wade mode, however, this system is only standard on the range-topping X model. This brings us to pricing, which is perhaps the least surprising thing about the Defender. Most observers expected it to start at around £40,000, and Land Rover says the cheapest 90 will cost around that – with Commercial models starting at around £5000 cheaper. The 110, meanwhile, starts at £45,240 with the entry-level diesel engine and

Car makers spend an awful lot of their time trying to achieve perfection, and in doing so they make products that are the opposite of human beings. The Defender is incredibly capable – but it needs you to understand it, to accept its quirks and failings. Owning one is a two-way thing – and that’s why people ascribe human emotions to them. ‘The old Defender was fun to drive, but flawed,’ to quote Land Rover’s Chief Engineer in charge of Vehicle Integrity, Mike Cross. ‘New Defender is fun, but without the flaws.’ Does this mean Land Rover has designed out the very thing that made people fall in love with their Defenders? Having owned enough of the things that I need to count them carefully, I fear it might. With a galaxy of software doing the work for you, no longer will you be immersed in the driving experience the way

climbs to a stratospheric £78,800 in 3.0 i6 P400 X form. It’s expected that the range won’t stop there, either. Plug-in hybrid models may push prices higher still – and when, as seems likely, JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations

you used to be. There was absolutely nothing anodyne about the old Defender: I won’t use that word about the new one, but it certainly is slick and polished. You don’t look at the old Defender and think ‘phwoarr,’ but you come to see it the same way you see your brother or a family pet. The new one… you might fall in love with it the same way you fell in love with Cameron Diaz first time you saw There’s Something About Mary, but will you ever find yourself trying to explain to your parents why this one, this is THE one, and no, Mum, please don’t worry about those puddles of oil on your driveway? Of course not. Because it won’t drip oil, will it? Land Rover has spoken loud and clear: the imperfections are gone. Those lovable, frustrating but unique imperfections which, up to now, have made the Defender perfect. The new one’s job is to replace those perfect imperfections with something else that’s as good at making people fall in love with their trucks. If it can do that, Land Rover will have pulled off the greatest stroke of genius since Maurice Wilks drew the outline of a road-going tractor in the sand of a beach in Anglesey. Alan Kidd, Editor

department introduces an SVX model, it’s probable that we will see the new Defender follow the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport in breaching the £100,000 barrier. As it is, orders are being taken now for the 110, with the 90 due

to follow soon. Land Rover has not confirmed a date by which first deliveries are expected, however with production ramping up at its new factory in Slovakia it’s likely that the vehicles will start appearing on UK roads early next spring.

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01/10/2019 12:37


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01/10/2019 19:02


4x4 NEWS

INEOS CONFIRMS GRENADIER OFF-ROADER WILL BE BUILT IN BRITAIN

I

NEOS Automotive has finally announced what everyone already though was a fact – that its forthcoming new off-road vehicle, flagged up as the spiritual successor to company chairman Jim Ratcliffe’s much-loved Land Rover Defender, will be called the Grenadier. Possibly the first vehicle ever to be named after a pub (the rather inappropriately posh Grenadier in Belgravia, where the notion of picking up where Land Rover left off was originally conceived), INEOS’ 4x4 will be powered by BMW engines and is scheduled to go on sale in 2021. The company describes it as a ‘utilitarian’ vehicle, though it has in the past hinted that prices are likely to start at around £40,000, suggesting it won’t undercut the new Defender by much. But the really big news is that unlike the Defender, the Grenadier will be built in Britain. While also confirming the vehicle’s name, INEOS announced that it has started development work on a new assembly plant in Bridgend – a

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move which it says will create up to 500 jobs in the area. INEOS is investing £600 million in the Grenadier project, part of which will also go towards establishing a factory in Estarreja, Portugal. This is where the vehicle’s body and ladder-frame chassis will be manufactured. ‘We have looked long and hard at possible manufacturing locations for Grenadier across the world, with lots of good options to choose from,’ said Ratcliffe. ‘The decision to build in the UK is a significant expression of confidence in British manufacturing, which has always been at the heart of what INEOS stands for.’ The Bridgend factory is being built on a 15-acre greenfield site adjacent to Ford’s huge engine factory, which will close next year with the loss of an estimated 1700 jobs. INEOS says its new development will create 200 jobs initially, with as many as 500 anticipated in the longterm, although this doesn’t take into account the knock-on effect of its business to the local supply chain.

‘Today’s announcement is great news for Wales and I’m delighted INEOS Automotive will be setting up home in Bridgend, which has a long history of skilled manufacturing expertise,’ said Welsh Government Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates. ‘The Welsh Government has worked closely with the company to make this happen and I look forward to seeing the development of the new site progress ahead of the planned start of production in 2021.’ The Grenadier project was first announced shortly after the original Land Rover Defender went out of production in 2016. It was reported at the time that Solihull had rebuffed approaches from one or more businesses interested in buying the rights to the vehicle; Ratcliffe has made no secret of his admiration for its traditional offroad engineering, and INEOS has been clear from the outset that this is something it intends to replicate with its new truck. In addition to its ladder chassis, the company says the Grenadier

will have beam axles, full-time fourwheel drive, a two-speed transfer case and locking differentials (plural). ‘Class-leading towing and payload capacity, with power and torque to match’ are promised, as is a no-fuss, easy-to-fix body with room in the back of the cabin for a Euro pallet. In addition, INEOS says the vehicle will have the best approach, departure and breakover angles in its class (and therefore, presumably, anywhere), and that its BMW-sourced engines will be specially tuned for off-road use, with high torque at low revs. ’Confirming production in the UK, as well as our investment in Portugal, is a major milestone for the project,’ commented INEOS Automotive CEO Dirk Heilmann. ‘We are progressing well with the design and engineering work, as well as our marketing and distribution plans. In the months ahead, we look forward to sharing more information about the Grenadier and engaging with local suppliers, the community and region, in advance of the start of production in 2021.’

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PRODUCTS

DISCOVERY 2 TAILGATE STRUT FROM DEVON 4X4

IF YOU’VE GOT A Land Rover Discovery 2, there’s a pretty strong chance that you wish the back door was better at staying open. This is especially the case if you use it on terrain with lots of side slopes. Given that more and more Disco 2s are being turned into off-road adventure wagons, this is going to become relevant to an increasing

number of people. Which means more and more of them are likely to be turning to Devon 4x4 for its D44 D2 Rear Door Stay/Assist. This retains the original check strap but adds an adjustable gas strut to assist the door and keep it open. The strut is supplied at maximum pressure, ready for you to adjust it to suit your vehicle

using the allen key included in the kit. This allows you to tailor the weight of the door to your personal preference. The brackets in the kit are supplied in black powder-coat, and all fittings are included. You’ll need to drill the rear door to fit rivet nuts (the tool to do this is included), and some trimming of

the interior is also required. But if you’re planning to base your off-road future on a Discovery 2, it won’t be long before you do far worse to it than that. The D44 D2 Rear Door Stay/ Assist kit costs £99, plus VAT but including carriage within the UK. You’ll be able to find it by visiting www.devon4x4.com.

HEAVY- DUTY BUMPERS FOR JK AND JL WRANGLERS JK OR JL? If you’re into Jeep Wranglers, it’s already a very polarised debate. But there’s one thing we can all agree on: whichever Jeep you prefer, one of the first things you need to do after buying it is fetch off the original bumper and replace it with a proper one. By ‘proper’ we mean tidy, tough and not so big that it has its own dialling code. Like the new HD Stubby Front Bumper from Rugged Ridge, for example. This is made from durable 2.5mm thick plate steel formed into what Rugged Ridge calls ‘a classic off-roading inspired design that blends muscular angles with subtle contours.’ It’s mounted to the vehicle using brackets which conceal the hardware on the inside of the bumper to keep it looking nice and smooth, but there’s no doubting its intent – each bumper has a pair of integrated tow hooks capable of supporting recovery shackle usage, and its lower body is notched on either side to provide jacking points for a high-lift. The bumpers are designed to give your winch a home, too. And of course, being so neatly proportioned means that while they’ll take big hits if they have to, they’re that much less likely ever to come into contact with trees, rocks or the ground. Supplied in a satin black powder coat, the bumpers can also be fitted with Rugged Ridge’s optional tubular HD Over-Rider or HD X-Striker bars for a more aggressive style. They come with a five-year limited warranty and cost from around $440 – that’s before you get one to the UK, of course, but as a general rule of thumb you can replace the dollar sign with a pound one and you won’t be far off. To find our more, pay a visit to www.ruggedridge.com.

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4x4 01/10/2019 20:04


Midlands Truck & Van. New & Used Van Sales & Fleet Management Solutions. We are the approved Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle Dealership representing the West Midlands with locations at Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton. We are proud to offer New & Used Sales and After Sales solutions including 24hr servicing and parts availability. Please check our website for new X-Class promotions. Alternatively please contact one of the below Van Sales Managers. Rob Cotton - Van Sales manager Birmingham - 07990 674 899 Gez O’Reilly - Van Sales Manger Coventry - 07826 950152 Adrian Sewell - Van Sales Manager Wolverhampton - 07500 857198

T&C’s apply. Official fuel consumption figures for the Mercedes-Benz Van range in mpg (l/100km): urban 26.9 - 60.1 (10.5 - 4.7), extra urban 31.7 67.3 (8.9 - 4.2), combined 29.7 - 65.7 (9.5 - 4.3). Combined CO₂ emissions: 112 - 249 g/km. The indicated values were determined according to the prescribed measurement method. These are the “NEDC CO2 values” according to New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). For more information on these values and how they have been calculated please see www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/vans/en/WLTP Official EU-regulated test data are provided for comparison purposes and actual performance will depend on driving style, road conditions, chosen optional extras and other non-technical factors. Midlands Truck & Van Ltd, Wheler Road, Off Humber Road, Whitley, Coventry, CV3 4LA, Tel: 02476 217266, Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, www.midlandstruckvan.com, info@midlandstruckvan.com. © Daimler 2019.

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02/10/2019 09:44


PRODUCTS

MUD - UK’S SAFE HOME FOR YOUR JERRY CANS NOW IN STOCK at Mud-UK is the GMB Mount Locking Jerry Can Holder. As you might discern from the name, this is a locking jerry can holder. It’s more than just that, though. In Mud-UK’s own words, ‘GMB Mount’s Locking Jerry Can Holder incorporates a clever sliding locking strap mechanism that remains attached to the holder, ensuring there are no loose pieces, straps, ratchets to remove or unfasten to lose or leave behind.’ Got that? The point is that these units feature an integral retention strap, which can be locked in place whether or not there’s an actual jerry can contained within the bracket. Having said that, you can also get a non-locking version. Manufactured from a stainless steel external frame which follows the profile of the classic NATO jerry can, the units can be attached to any flat surface using pre-drilled fixing holes within said frame. Alternatively, an optional adaptor bracket allows them to be mounted on to cargo track. The GMB Mount Locking Jerry Can Holder is priced from £85 including VAT. To find out more, go to www.mudstuff.co.uk.

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PRODUCTS

PROTECTAKOTE NOW IN STOCK AT MILNER 4X4

MACHINE MART has published its new catalogue for the autumn and winter. This 508-page tome features more than 21,000 different items of tools and machinery – including various new products and more than 760 price cuts on existing items. Whether you’re a pro or an enthusiast, there’s bound to be something here for you – to find it, order your copy by visiting www.machinemart.co.uk.

PICK-UP OWNERS know all about Protectakote, whose anti-slip paint – ideal for use as a cut-price bedliner – is now available from Milner 4x4. The Matlock-based Japanese 4x4 specialist stocks one and four-litre tubs of the stuff, as well as full kits including rollers, with prices starting from £16 plus VAT. Tough, flexible and easy to apply, Milner says you’ll get the same results from Protectakote as you will from more expensive brands. To find out more, visit www.milneroffroad.com. Here, you’ll find that the company’s site has been renewed, with new features making it easier to use then ever.

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PART OF IRONMAN’S NEW LED range are these 7” and 9” Meteor driving lights. These have a spot beam pattern – in addition to central strips which give them an always-on daytime running light (DRL) function. The lights use 3W high-lux output Osram LEDs, in arrays of 16 (7”) and 34 (9”). This gives them outputs of 48W and 102W respectively, and 4320 and 9180 raw lumens. They distribute 6000K white light, mimicking natural daylight as closely as possible and can be configured so that the DRL strip switches on automatically with the vehicle’s ignition. The lights’ housings are made from heavy-duty die-cast alloy with a shockproof polycarbonate lens, and are rated to IP67 and IP69. This means they’re capable of submersion and high pressure blasts of water, as well as being completely protection from dust ingress. As Ironman says, ’no need to worry about river crossings or where you aim a high pressure hose.’ The Meteor lights are part of a wide range of LED lamps recently launched by Ironman. The company is imported to the UK by West Coast Off Road Centre – to find out more, head for westcoastoffroad.co.uk.

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POWERFLEX HAS introduced a new range of bushes for the third-generation BMW X5, made from 2013-2018, and the contemporaneous X6. These are a Front Radius Arm To Chassis Bush, and a Front Control Arm To Chassis Bush.

The Mk3 X5 had the same chassis and wheelbase as the previous model, however its bushes are different in areas. The vehicle can weigh as much as 2350kg, giving these components a hard life – and when worn, they can be the cause of uneven tyre wear, vague steering and unstable braking. Sounds like a pretty good reason to replace them before your vehicle gets into this condition. To do so using Powerflex kit, pay a visit to www. powerflex.co.uk.

4x4 01/10/2019 20:05


The PWD-X5 features an 8-inch subwoofer, amplifier and DSP in a small underseat form. Wired Remote Control The remote control unit is connected with the DSP amplifier by USB. Use the rotary encoder to select input sources (including Bluetooth audio streaming), sound settings and more.

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02/04/2019 22:38


PRODUCTS

NEW INSPECTION LAMP FROM RING MEANS ‘A LIGHT FOR EVERY JOB’ RING HAS ADDED a new utility lamp to its MAGflex range of inspection lights. And the company promises that the RIL3700HP means professional mechanics will now have ‘the light they need to get the job done.’ Completing the Ring family of inspection lamps, the new unit matches the rest of the range in offering the flexibility required to project a beam of light exactly where you need it. It can be used hands-free, too, and designed to provide a bright pool of light on your work area without needing to be held in place. The RIL3700HP was designed to provide portable but wideangled illumination, with up to 1000 lumens of white LED light for optimal vision. The lamp has two adjustable magnetic bases, allowing it to be used free-standing or attached to a metal surface for

hands-free use, and it also comes with dual hanging hooks. Its body, meanwhile, rotates through 360° so you can position its beam exactly where you need it. The lamp is powered by rechargeable batteries for cordless use and has a an operating time of up to 2.5 hours. It comes with mains and 12V DC charging cables. ‘The MAGflex family of lamps has changed the face of LED inspection lamps, bringing more versatility and choice to professionals,’ says Workshop Lighting Product Manager Jim Gross. ‘We’ve designed our lamps to meet the challenges of modern workshops, so we have a lamp to suit every job and every professional. The new MAGflex Utility is a good all-round source of illumination that is powerful and provides wide-angled illumination but is also portable and easy to position wherever it’s needed.’

The new lamp joins a range also including the specialist RUBL1000 under-bonnet lamp, whose design eliminates shadows when working in the engine bay. Also in the family is the pocket-sized RIL3900HP, which still emits up to 400 lumens of bright, white LED light despite only being just 6mm deep. With more than two decades’ experience in making professional-

quality inspection lights, Ring offers a range of products whose light output, colour temperature, construction and battery life are tested in ISO:9001-accredited labs. The entire MAGflex range is available now, with the new RIL3700HP carrying an SRP of £44.99. To find our more about this and the rest of its family, visit www. ringautomotive.com.

EASY TRAILERING WITH QUICK-HITCH HOWEVER MUCH of a hardcore ’wheeler you are, it’s probably the case that you spend more time towing than you do off-roading. At the very least, the amount of time 4x4s in general spend in the mud is a tiny fraction of the time they spend fetching trailers, transporters and caravans around the place. Now, hitching one on is not what you’d call an overly complicated procedure. But however experienced you are, it’s a lot easier with two sets of hands and eyes on the job. It can take a few cracks of the whip to lock it in, too, especially if you’re on your own. This is something Ifor Williams wanted to change. He’s worked in the towing business for a long time, producing trailers of all shapes and sizes during that time, and is no stranger to the frustration of hitching up. Along with his brother, who trains HGV drivers, Ifor came up with the fairly simple but nonetheless very effective premise that Quick Hitch was built on. Having developed the idea for the product, initially to help drivers pass their HGV driving qualifications, it was presented to the Driving Standards Agency – which duly approved it for production. The Trailer Stop towing system can save drivers time and effort. And as it is also a reliable way of hitching a trailer with speed, it can save you money on repairing your bumper – as well as meaning you can easily back up to your trailer and hitch it successfully while flying solo. So, how does it work? The Trailer Stop is a plate that fits to your tow hook and sits around 4cm behind the ball. In doing so, it increases the target area five-fold. Incorporated into the design, the hinged target plate also folds horizontal to serve as a step up to the truck bed, adding practicality alongside the improved functionality. Quick Hitch has developed numerous variations on the design already, to fit hitches from most manufacturers – including AvonRide, Knott, Bradley and Al-Ko. They are also compatible with Ifor Williams trailers as well as those from Indespension, Graham Edwards and Brian James, and solutions for other brands on the market are being developed on an ongoing basis. So whatever kind of trailer it is that you pull, whether it’s for work or play, cars or boats, agriculture, catering or equestrian pursuits, if there isn’t already a Quick Hitch Trailer Stop to suit your needs you can be pretty sure there will be soon. If you contact the Quick Hitch team via their website, they will find out which system is right for you before getting in touch to discuss it in person – it’s at www.quickhitchtowing.co.uk.

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4x4 01/10/2019 20:05


EXPERIENCED DRIVER DEPICTED

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21/09/2018 15:49


LARGER THAN LIFE

The Isuzu D-Max XTR looks like nothing you’ve ever seen – and there’s not a lot else like

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4x4 01/10/2019 10:42


it off-road, either WORDS: ALAN KIDD PICTURES: ISUZU

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ew car brands in the UK are as flexible as Isuzu when it comes to creating niche models and special editions. The company was the first in the UK to partner up with Arctic Trucks on a showroom vehicle, and its D-Max pick-up is available in a wide range of forms – many of them specced and built post-import, making them unique to this country. The XTR is the latest of these. And, from an off-road point of view, it’s the best. It runs a bespoke suspension system, developed for the vehicle in collaboration with Pedders; this lifts it by approximately three inches, allowing it to run 265/70R17 Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tyres which stand 32” in height. This is at the heart of a truck whose stance sets it apart from other pick-ups in the market. However there’s more to the XTR than just that. Isuzu says it took inspiration from the

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accessorised trucks created by aftermarket modifiers, usually based on the Ford Ranger, which have found great popularity with the lifestyle market. And with room for growth in this part of its product line-up, it hopes the XTR will appeal to customers’ sense of individuality – as well as attracting more attention to its own rangetopping Blade model. And when it comes to attracting attention, the XTR has little trouble. On top of its extra height and bigger tyres, it has a custom body kit featuring extended wheelarches, heavyduty side steps and, definitely the piece de resistance, an extraordinary front bumper which flows upwards into a moulded bonnet guard and headlamp frames. Viewed from the front, it looks like some sort of mythical carnivorous beast with designs upon your soft bits. Where you often expect to find chrome on pick-ups, in the XTR’s case you’ll find black

finishes – textured in scratchresistant Raptor coating, in the case of items most likely to be in the firing line when you go off-road. And underneath, parts of the suspension and brake systems are painted bright green. To complement this, the XTR is available only in white, silver, grey and black. There’s nothing meek about the overall effect. If you think offroad vehicles should be shrinking violets, you’ll hate it. But if you like trucks with a bit of chutzpah, it’ll make you smile. That outrageous front bumper is nicely shaped to add a few more degrees to the XTR’s approach angle, too, so it’s more than just a pretty face. There’s more to it underneath that just a big lift, too. And here’s where the XTR’s suspension differs to the +2” Pedders kit you can get as a dealer option on the rest of the D-Max range. In addition to its longer springs and shocks, it features a redesigned upper wishbone whose ball joint

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Above right: The seats, which are unique to this model, are sports-styled jobs with a combination of suede, leather and carbon leather trim. The latter is a harder-wearing form of leather which is ideal for use on high-traffic parts of the seat Above centre: The steering wheel is trimmed in suede and leather for a blend of grip and wipe-clean convenience Above right: Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus is used for the first time here as an OE tyre. At 265/70R17, it stands 32” tall: helping ensure this extra height doesn’t lead to brake fade are vented and slotted discs with carbon ceramic pads is positioned to deal correctly with the front wheels’ new, longer arc of travel. Ground clearance is quoted at 250mm, which is only a marginal improvement over the 235mm of a standard D-Max, but as is always the case it’s what you do with it that counts. The same can be said of the front brakes, which feature vented, slotted front discs and kevlar ceramic pads. Sounds like overkill, especially as the rear is still on drums, but you only need to experience brake fade once in your life to know there’s no such thing as too much reserve stopping power. A senior Isuzu engineer assured us that the vehicle’s front-to-rear braking balance remains within its original manufacturing tolerances, and our experience behind the wheel (which included a full ABS light-up when a fast-moving VW Golf came head-on towards us round a blind corner) confirmed that it stops very well. The wheel in question is one of the highlights in a cabin that

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remains truck-like but in a very satisfactory way. It’s flatted off at the bottom and trimmed in leather and suede, giving it a pleasing combination of style and grip that makes it nice to handle. The seats add something, too, again using suede and leather to trim a sports-style design which holds you in very well around corners and on side-slopes alike. They don’t have lumbar adjustment, but showed no signs of needing it during what was a lengthy day’s on and off-road driving. They are, on the other hand, heated, which is great – though the button is buried behind you on the seat base next to the door, which makes it much easier to switch on by accident when climbing aboard than on purpose when you’re actually sat in the thing. On the road, the XTR’s extra height makes little difference to its handling. Likewise, the slight increase in overall gearing from its taller tyres causes no problems – though on the subject of gearing,

neither of the available boxes is great. The manual unit is less than precise, even by pick-up standards, while the auto provokes long, gusty bellow of noise from the engine with every change. Overall, we’d choose the manual for both on and off-road use, but neither box does the truck justice. Off-road, while we’d choose mud-terrains rather than allterrains every time, the XTR did a remarkable job over a variety of surfaces and terrain types. It hauled itself up sharp crests and long climbs alike, on both wet woodland mud and loose quarry stone, with minimal traction loss, straddled tree roots effectively and ploughed through ruts with no sign of grounding. Again, this is on a moderate all-terrain tread pattern and without any kind of traction aid in the diffs. It’s remarkably manoeuvrable, too – a trait it shares with the rest of the D-Max range, but with the added assurance that comes from its greater height. Considering the

length of the thing, the corners it can get round without shunting are pretty amazing. Of course, the improvements Isuzu has made to the XTR’s approach angle help it off-road, too, as does the extra articulation in its front suspension. We’ve always rated Pedders’ kit, and it certainly works very well in this vehicle. There are two versions of the XTR available – standard and Nav+, with the latter bringing a menu of DAB, sat-nav and smartphone pairing via an upgraded infotainment module. Prices are £33,999 and £35,149 respectively (CVOTR), with the automatic gearbox adding £1000 in each case. This makes it the most expensive model in the D-Max range – and insurance costs will reflect that. However it also makes a strong case for being the most convincing. There are other ways of getting this much off-road ability – but not many of them come with such a strong blend of practicality and individual style.

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03/09/2019 14:16


DRIVEN

TOYOTA LANDCRUISER VAN

Entry-level Landcruiser offers exceptional off-road and all-round abilities in a compact but stunningly capable package – if you don’t need more than just two seats ON TEST Landcruiser Utility 3-door Commercial

I

n today’s off-road market, the Toyota Landcruiser is pretty much as good as it gets. You could argue about the Jeep Wrangler or the Suzuki Jimny, or even try to make a case for the new Land Rover Defender – but if you want something you could drive straight out of the dealership and into a full-blown expedition, there’s a reason why the rest of the world turns straight to Toyota nine times out of ten.

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The rest of the world does, so why doesn’t Britain? Because for decades, the Landcruiser has been an expensive, high-spec luxury vehicle whose world-class off-road ability has been lost beneath a sea of leather, chrome, wood veneers and electronic toys. That’s why we’re such big fans of the sensible-spec Utility model that came to Britain last year. It takes a just-enough approach to equipment – in the process creating a 4x4 you

can actually afford to buy if what you want is to use it as an off-road toy or workhorse. And better still, you can get it as a van. The Landcruiser Utility Commercial has all the usual attractions of its kind, and is available in both short and longwheelbase form. We’ve got the former here, which costs £26,637 – plus the VAT and OTR costs, obviously, but that’s still a knockyour-socks-off starting point for

a vehicle which, not so long ago, couldn’t be had for less that what counts as deal-breaker money to most of us.

CABIN AND PRACTICALITY The Commercial’s interior feels quite basic – more so than the passenger-carrying Utility, which

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Seats are stoutly trimmed in hard-wearing fabric. No leather, seat heaters or electric controls needed here, thank you. The bulkhead behind them comes up with a few clangs and rattles on bumpy roads but protects a big, usable cargo area; pictured here is a 5-door model, but the 3-door has the same basic configuration

may or may not be psychological on our part – but most of all it has the rock-solid build and material quality you expect of a Landcruiser. The no-nonsense nature of its cabin gives it an element of character that’s perhaps missing in more lavishly equipped vehicles – it’s just you and the truck, and there’s something refreshing about that. With cruise control and airconditioning, it’s not entirely shorn of creature comforts. Indeed, you could say it has the ones that matter most and dispenses with those that don’t. You also get a radio that reaches into the air to pluck out AM and FM

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signals, and allows you to connect your phone via Bluetooth or a USB cable. The system is simple to use, and the other controls on the dashboard are all good old-fashioned dials, switches and buttons which make it ideal for the working life. Behind the driver, almost immediately, is a caged bulkhead. This has a door in it to let you reach into the cargo space which replaces the rear seats. Being the three-door shortwheelbase model, the Cruiser tested here is biased towards agility rather than extreme loadcarrying capacity, but even then it

has a sizeable 1574 litres of space behind that bulkhead. The load area has a flat floor that feels like it’ll last forever, though in typical van fashion you’ll need to lash things down to it if you don’t want them jiving around the pace when you’re out and about. Up front, the seats are sturdy cloth-cloaked numbers which are both supportive and plush enough to sink into on longer journeys. The manual adjustments give you plenty of room for manoeuvre and therefore drivers of all shapes and sizes can reliably find comfort – which is particularly important as this version of the Landcruiser

is likely to start life in the hands of a fleet. Nowadays, it’s easy for functional interiors to feel basic and dated, but there’s a balance struck here which avoids that. The radio and gadgets are hardly cutting edge, but they don’t need to be – they do the job and, truth be told, in most cases they do it just as well as the big-bucks stuff you see on more expensive 4x4s.

DRIVING In the light commercial 4x4 class, the Land Cruiser is predominantly up against one-tonner pickup trucks. So, while there’s an obvious difference between them, it’s relevant to consider how it performs in comparison. When you’re driving an unladen pick-up, you’ve essentially got a compromised ride as the rear springs have to be ready to shoulder a tonne. Here in the Land Cruiser, whose payload rating is 488-593kg, the coils under its back end only have around half the responsibility. Ride quality can hardly help but be better as a result, and there’s little sign of the pitching that can be a bothersome issue on short-wheelbase vehicles. More of the Landcruiser’s weight is positioned between its axle lines, too, which helps make it spritely and agile both on and off-road. At 1975kg it’s hardly a lightweight, but

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Back on the blacktop, there’s a predictably industrial moan from the engine under acceleration, but its peppiness means you can soon back off and let it settle – whereupon cruising becomes pleasantly sedate. Wind and road noise are surprisingly limited; the main imposition on cabin refinement is that caged bulkhead behind you, which rattles when your wheels hit pot holes and speed bumps. Naturally, this being a van, there’s a bit of drumming from the rear panels. This is more limited than on most vehicles of its kind, but it does come through as a mild echo from the back. Either way, turn up the stereo and you’ll be fine. Fuel economy isn’t overwhelming by today’s standards, at 37.6mpg on the combined cycle, but for a serious off-roader with a traditional ladder chassis and so on, it shows how far the industry has come. The tank is pretty huge at 87 litres, too,

so you’d be reasonable to expect a range of more than 600 miles between full-ups. That’ll go down if you’re towing, of course. The Landcruiser is rated to haul 3000kg in this form, which is pretty monstrous for anything with the footprint of a small family car – though of course it’s 500kg short of the legal maximum and that will be off-putting for some.

VERDICT

with 175bhp and 310lbf.ft, the latter from deep down at 1200rpm, the responsive 2.8 D-4D turbo-diesel engine pings it round the place with plenty of zest. There’s a really positive steering feel through the rack and pinion steering set-up, too, which is as enjoyably agricultural as it is easy to use. You can have fun working the wheel on a rural B-road, but it’s also usefully manoeuvrable, with a turning circle tighter than that of the current Volkswagen Golf. This of course is good news around town, where the supermarket car park need hold no fear. The three-door Landcruiser is 4395mm long (14’ 5” in old money) and 1995mm wide (6’ 2”), and it has a 96.5” wheelbase, so it has a smaller footprint than its imposing looks suggest – to keep the family car comparison going, it’s shorter than the current Golf R and less than an inch wider than a Renault Megane RS. What this means at the sharp end is fantastic manoeuvrability off-road. If you want a vehicle that’ll take the Garburn Pass at a stroll, the 3-door Landcruiser will be on your shortlist (and short is the word). In an environment like this, the bonnet is shaped to allow a better view of the terrain just ahead of you, which is useful – as may be a display on the driver info screen which highlights the current steering angle. Better not to have to rely on such a thing, of course, but either way the Landcruiser is wonderfully easy to place as you pick your way over the ground.

To us, this just adds to the Landcruiser’s incredible versatility. For something so utterly formidable off-road, and so obviously biased towards serious work and away from uneccessary frills, it’s remarkably civilised on the road. More than that, in fact – with its zestful performance, compact size and and gung-ho steering and handling, it’s downright fun.

★★★★★

Toyota Landcruiser 3dr Van An authentic off-road workhorse. Built to last and great value to buy and own We were already fans of the Land Cruiser – and this commercial version makes us respect it more than ever. It’ll do all the hard work you ask of it, on or off-road, with composure and comfort. No, you don’t get much in the way of fancy kit, but you get a world-class truck instead – and if you can do without seats in the back, you get it at a price that’s as sensational as the vehicle itself.

4x4 01/10/2019 10:41


OVERLOADING IS COMMON

YOUR INSURANCE COULD BE INVALID IF YOU’RE OVERLOADED

4x4 Overloading – a problem easily solved What would your thoughts be if you were told your vehicle, trailer and everything carried on it and in it were not insured? Scary thought isn’t it, but of all the vehicles stopped and checked by DVSA (2015-2016), over 80% were found to be overloaded and/or exceeding the driver’s licence entitlement. When was the last time you checked your vehicle weights? If you knew there was an inexpensive option to avoid your overloading problems, would you be interested? For over 20 years, SvTech have covered GVW rerating on vehicles, from small sub 3.5t vehicles all the way up to 150t Special Types vehicles. SvTech can uprate the GVW of most 4x4’s and in some cases also increase the towing allowances. e.g. Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max – GVW increase to 3500kg + GTW of 3500kg (7000kg combined) A GVW uprate can increase your payload allowance thus reducing the size and number of vehicles involved for transporting your goods. Try using SvTech’s free Load Distribution Analysis program to check your weights. www.svtech.co.uk/lda

GVW AND TOWING ALLOWANCES AFFECTED

HAVE YOU WEIGHED YOUR VEHICLE? DO IT NOW BEFORE THE DVSA DO!

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29/08/2017 14:11


TOP OF THE FORM

Our monthly series on Jeep’s Class of 2019 concept trucks concludes with the best of the WORDS: KAZUYOSHI SASAZAKI PICTURES: JEEP

‘Jeep has built some stunning concepts down the years, wh motor shows, but the M-715 Five-Quarter is right up there 38 | NOVEMBER 2019

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lot – the stunning M-715 Five-Quarter

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ver the last six months, we’ve been looking one by one at the concept vehicles Jeep created for this year’s Easter Safari in Moab, Utah. Uniquely, the Class of 2019 was based entirely on one vehicle – an indication of just how important that model is going to be to Jeep over the course of its life. That vehicle is the Gladiator, the Wrangler-based double-cab that was launched at last year’s LA Motor Show and which will come to Europe in 2020. All six of this year’s Moab concepts are pick-ups of one kind of another, each of them providing inspiration to the many owners who’ll modify their trucks in one way or another – and with the M-715 Five-Quarter, there’s a strong case for saying we’ve left the best to last. Among every year’s crop of Moab specials, resto-modded vehicles are always among the ones that get the most love. And the Five-Quarter is no exception.

s, whether for Moab or other there with the best of them’ 4x4 4pp Jeep 5-Quarter.indd 39

Described by Jeep as ‘a seamless blend of vintage and modern components,’ its name comes from the payload rating of trucks from the company’s history – one and a quarter tons, or ‘five quarters.’ Some of Jeep’s resto-modded concepts have used classic bodies on new frames, but the M-715 FiveQuarter retains its original chassis. The base vehicle is an M-715 from 1968, which has a certain symmetry as it was celebrating its 50th birthday when it went into the Jeep workshop for this project to begin. The chassis itself has been modified, giving it added strength where necessary for hardcore off-roading. Jeep also installed bracketry for the conversion from its original leaf springs to a heavyduty coiled set-up, using tubular top mounts for a set of long-travel Fox suspension units. In addition, the front axle is located two inches further forward than standard. Oh yes, and the vehicle rides rather higher than it once did, thanks to a set of 40”

6.2-litre 'Hellcrate' V8 produces 707bhp – enough to light up even a set of 40" tyres. It’s flanked by tubular shock towers, which in turn carry a custom strut brace NOVEMBER 2019 | 39

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Formed from water-jetted alumiunium panels and finished using wooden slats, the pick-up bed is a work of creative art. The rear suspension units are top-mounted on tubular shock hoops which also support the rear stays for a roll hoop, but mainly it just looks sensational – all the way down to the ‘gin’ and ‘tonic’ lettering on the jerry cans Maxxis Razr mud-terrains on 20” beadlock rims. These live on the end of Dynatrac Pro-rock 60 front and 80 rear axles, each of them containing locking diffs. There’s a lot of strength there, which is just as well because you need a pretty titanic axle to deal with the shock loads developed by tyres of that size – especially when they’re being turned by a 6.2-litre supercharged ‘Hellcrate’ V8. This is the version of the legendary Hemi lump that powers (and how) the entirely-

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unnecessary-and-all-the-better-for-it Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. We’re obviously very well into money-no-object territory here (as you’d expect with a factory-built custom show car), and further eye-popping stuff includes the front of the body – where the sheet metal was removed altogether and replaced by carbon fibre. In the back, meanwhile, the pick-up bed has been bobtailed – though it’s still six feet long. Six feet long and, just a small matter, fabbed from scratch in

aluminium using panels cut by water jets. The welds are left visible to show off the Jeep team’s handiwork and the base of the bed itself is perforated and finished off with wooden slats. It’s all a bit of a feast for the eyes – if you can take them off the deliberately visible rear shock hoops and the tops of those huge Fox coil-overs. These also provide rear mounting points for a roll structure which runs into the cabin through the back of a full canvas hood – whose height has been dropped

by 3.5” compared to that of the original cab. Jeep says this adds to the vehicle’s ‘factory monster truck silhouette,’ which is language we don’t think much of, but between its shape and its height it certainly has a dominant stance. That stance, and indeed that height, tell a story of epic approach, departure and breakover angles (as the photo below left illustrates). But this is Moab, where even the most capable of rigs can grind horribly against the harsh bedrock, so the original sills have been replaced by full length rock rails. At either end, the bodywork is finished off by modified Jeep Gladiator Rubicon steel bumpers for a similar level of strength. Up front, the headlamps have been replaced with new HID lights, and further auxiliary LEDs mean it can be daytime whenever you want it to be. The original tail light housings now hols LED halo lights, too. You’ll see this thing before you hear it – which says something, because with that engine at full chat under load you’ll hear it from the next state. Inside the cabin… well, to put it bluntly, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. There’s a bit of a military theme,

4x4 01/10/2019 10:39


The interior is just jaw-dropping, with more water-cut ally panels making up the dash and door cards. That tranny tunnel is the case from a vintage supercharger, too – what's not to love? with stencilled lettering for the switchgear, but the instrument panel looks like nothing Uncle Sam’s quartermasters ever issued – like the rear bed, it’s assembled from custom components in waterjetted aluminium. Below it, the transmission tunnel was made using the casing from an old 8-71 supercharger, and we can’t think of many more wonderful examples of upcycling in the automotive world. The seats are low-back jobs modified from standard leather-clad Wrangler issue, and beyond them the door cards are water-jetted too. The floors have been sprayed with bedliner to give them greater grip and durability alike, and the overall effect is nothing short of wonderful. That’s a pretty good verdict on the vehicle itself, actually. Jeep has built some stunning concepts down the years, whether for Moab or other motor shows, but the M-715 Five-Quarter is right up there with the best of them. Whether you like your 4x4s classic or modern, standard or modded, set-up for work or built to play, it would take a heart-hearted traditionalist not

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to like this truck. Some of the Class of 2019 demonstrate what you can do by spending your dollars on a load of accessories from Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts – but at the top of the class is this work of pure automotive fantasy. It’s not a truck you could build yourself, at least not without a vast budget and some world-class workshop skills of your own. But the M-715 Five-Quarter is as true as they come to what Jeep, and Moab, are all about. And you know what? It makes us want a Gladiator more than ever…

Below: Jeep's Easter Safari Class of 2019 – with the M-715 Five-Quarter at its head

NOVEMBER 2019 | 41

01/10/2019 10:39


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LONG-distance LEGEND

R

ightly or wrongly, certain types of 4x4 are associated with certain types of off-roading. The Suzuki Jimny is seen as your classic playday hero. A modded Discovery will probably be used on lanes. Most things built since about 2004 are likely to be found stuck with one wheel on a patch of gravel. And so on. The big Land Cruiser 80-Series is famed for being good at everything (apart maybe from fitting through narrow gaps). In particular, though, Toyota’s mighty masterpiece is associated with long-range expedition travel. We’ve featured a good few 80s in this magazine. Some have been heavily lifted in a bid for playday supremacy, but most have been expedition prepped to a greater or lesser degree. Chris Jerman’s is definitely all about overlanding

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– and if you’ve ever seen a Land Cruiser with such a professional level of build, that’s probably because it was built by professionals. ‘I bought a Land Cruiser, drove it into a field to see what it would do, found a deep mud hole, got stuck, had fun getting out and the rest is history,’ is Chris’ admirably blunt account of how he found his way into the off-road game. He’s a regular at events run by Trans-Pennine Off-Road Events and Spondon and District Off-Road Club, though several Land Cruisers later he doesn’t tend to go in as hard any more. ‘I find all the mud a bit much after all this time. So now I’m running a clean vehicle but marshalling for the club so that others can have their fun.’ Good man. Several Land Cruisers later? Yes. ‘They’ve all been Land Cruisers, other than when I bought a

Kia Sorento by mistake. That won’t happen again.’ We happen to think there’s not much wrong with the Kia Sorento, actually. Unless of course what you really wanted was a Toyota Land Cruiser, in which case you should buy a Toyota Land Cruiser. Which, as you ought to be able to tell from these photos, is what Chris did to remedy the situation. Actually, he bought two. Not at the same time, but he describes the first as ‘a practice that set me up for the real deal’. In case you’re wondering, the real deal is the one in the pictures. Chris says he bought it from an old boy in Newark, but he doesn’t know much of its history prior to that – other perhaps than that it didn’t really have any. It didn’t stay that way for long. ‘I just got stuck straight in the day it arrived. I’d done lots of

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The 80-Series Toyota Land Cruiser is said by many to be the best 4x4 ever made. Maybe that’s why so many of those you see being modified are prepped for long-range overlanding. Chris Jerman’s 80 is a case in point – and it’s one of the most beautifully turned out expedition trucks you’ll ever see WORDS: PAUL LOOE PICTURES: HARRY HAMM

It’s never possible to capture the beauty of a drop slide’s operation with a still picture, but when you see the position of the Waeco CF40 fridge/ freezer here you can imagine the way it’s had to travel from its home position. The custom unit it rides on is like poetry in motion. And when the fridge is stowed, the catch can be released on the drawer beneath it… and out comes the larder planning to make sure I got it right first time, and it’s all gone genuinely well. Two years later, it was finished. And my knees hurt.’ Worth it, we’re sure you’ll agree. A few aching joints is nothing compared to the aching heart and bleeding wallet a project can leave you with, not least when the vehicle you create is little more than a pain in the neck (other body parts are available), so the planning paid off.

Makes you ache with longing, doesn’t it? The rear of the Land Cruiser is fitted with an Outback Import drawer system, and every last scrap of space from top to bottom is used for stowage. The extension you see here is home to Chris’ kitchen, in the shape of an efficient two-ring gas hob

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Above left: Toyota’s 1HJD-T 4.2-litre 24-valve engine is one of the best diesels ever made. It’s strong as an ox, supremely reliable and torquey enough to pull a house down at tickover. People don’t mess with these engines – and why would you, when they’re so good in standard form? Chris has left his well alone, making mods only to a few associated systems: the alternator has been upgraded, and the started motor changed for a 12-volt unit to suit a new electrical system which keeps the cranking and domestic batteries separate using a National Luna split-charge system. Also under the bonnet are additional cabling and air hose, a bracket for the fuel filter and an ARB twin compressor feeding a Viair two-gallon tank, as well as pipework feeding the system that provides hot and cold running water Above right: Up top, a James Baroud Explorer hardshell roof rent is sufficiently well specced to be able to boast of having internal power and light. The roof tent sits on a custom extended-length rack from Patriot, which is also home to a Foxwing 270-degree awning with sides Let’s just say that again. The planning paid off. Hint: Do planning – it pays off. Something else that pays off is doing all the work yourself. There’s no end to the reasons for this – it’s fun, it’s rewarding, you learn stuff, it saves thousands of pounds, you get to know your truck inside out and, of course, you’ve got no-one to blame but yourself if it goes pear-shaped on you. Not that that has happened to Chris. When he describes his workshop as being equipped with mig, plasma, lathe and vertical milling machine, as opposed to just the usual box of sockets and a sodding great hammer, you can be pretty sure that the truck’s going to have been done right. And poking around it pretty much confirms that yes, this is a good ‘un. So many of the modified vehicles you see have electrics that look like a rat’s nest, but here it’s all supremely neat and tidy. It goes without saying that Chris has used the right cables and wires around the

vehicle, but over and above that there’s no slack, no unnecessary coils floating around, and it’s all clipped beautifully in place rather than being held down by gravity or shoved under a carpet. In particular, the installation of a CTEK intelligent battery management system behind the rear seats looks like it could have come straight out of a commercial airliner, it’s that good. This is connected to a rear Optima YellowTop, which is kept topped up from a solar panel while running all the vehicle’s domestic systems. To make space for this, Chris converted the truck from its factory spec 24-volt starter to a 12-volt unit. The set-up runs a National Luna split-charge system, and there’s an upgraded 120-amp alternator to help it keep on top of the many demands placed in it. Again, the installation is a thing of beauty. Likewise, the use of space in the back of the vehicle is immaculate, as is the operation

of the custom drop slide that carries a Waeco CF40 fridge-freezer. Next to it are a sink and shower unit running hot and cold water fed by a Kenlowe pump under the bonnet. All this is revealed once the spare wheel is swung away on a custom mount, which itself sits on a rear bumper Chris made himself. The whole boot is a study in packaging – there’s not a scrap of usable space that isn’t working for its living, and once the vehicle is set up for the night it opens out into a fully equipped camp kitchen. You’d expect nothing less after two years in the hands of a man who clearly knows exactly what he’s doing, of course. But this Cruiser really is something special, by anyone’s standards. And it’s not all just about the domestic side, either. You don’t get a vehicle of this age without having to do a bit of remedial work, and the original engine is now mated to the gearbox from a later HDJ100-Series Land Cruiser.

The spare wheel and high-lift jack carrier is notable because Chris made it himself. It mounts upon a rear bumper which is also notable… because Chris made it himself, too. He’s not scared of spending money on the right stuff, though: an ARB winch bumper, home to a Come-Up 9.5 wound with 11mm Dyneema rope, proves the point

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Above left: If you’re a sucker for a neat installation, this will make you go weak at the knees. The offside rear seat folds forward to reveal a CTEK intelligent battery management system, and stored behind it is a solar panel which comes out to keep the batteries charged when the truck’s parked up for the night Above right: Mains electricity comes from a Waeco 600-watt pure sine wave inverter, and exterior lighting is controlled by dimmer switches. Up top in this picture is what looks like it might be a shower head, which is because… it’s a shower head. Using a heat exchanger fed from an under-bonnet Kenlowe circulation pump, this is a Land Cruiser with hot and cold running water Right: The Cruiser is held up on an EFS 4” lift. And it really is held up, too, because this was specified to deal with a typical running weight of +500kg Likewise, Chris replaced the 3.9:1 diffs for 4.1:1 units to compensate for the 315/75R16 Cooper Discoverer STTs the truck now wears. Hardly an extreme choice of tyre in terms of size, that, but you’ll have worked out by now that he’s not one for making do. No surprise then that the bigger tyres are stopped by uprated brakes, and that the +4” suspension lift was specified not just to hike the vehicle’s height but to cope with an additional 500kg in weight too. Truth to tell, you don’t see many badly modded 80-Series Land Cruisers doing the rounds. That’s mainly because even two decades on, they’re still worth so much money that the

bash-it-with-a-hammer brigade would sooner buy an old Jimny or Discovery, while the bash-itwith-a-stick brethren are more likely to find an MOT-failed Cherokee or Trooper that they can demolish in a quarry prior to weighing it in. That’s one end of the off-road game for you. And relevant though it may be, it’s at the opposite end to what you see here. Chris has build himself a Land Cruiser fit to go round the world with absolute ease – a 4x4 in which age is simply irrelevant and distance is a thing to be enjoyed, not feared. It’s why Toyota made them the way they are – and why the 80-Series will forever remain a legend.

Left: Even if you don’t have stuff to store, this Black Ops cargo net from Rock’n’Road is worth having just for how damn sexy it looks. It’s not obvious at first glance, but as well as the net itself there’s a bottom blanket sitting flush to the bonnet; the hooks attaching it are coated, too, so the vehicle’s paintwork shouldn’t suffer at all

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BIG MISTAKE…

The Lamborghini LM002 was a vast off-road supercar from an era when most 4x4s were still leaf-sprung. It sold in miniscule numbers and crippled the company financially –but was it just a big mistake, or a visionary work of genuis that predicted the high-performance SUVs of today? WORDS: TOM TRAUBERT PICTURES: LAMBORGHINI

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hen off-roaders started turning into soft-roaders and soft-roaders started turning into premium cars, few people could have foreseen the extremes the 4x4 market would reach. Surely this was just a passing fad? Surely the highest echelons of luxury and performance motoring would remain immune? But here we are. Bentley and Rolls-Royce are making SUVs now. Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, BMW – they’ve all turned into well

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established 4x4 makers. And then last year, the unthinkable happened and Lamborghini joined the off-road fray. Except it’s not unthinkable at all. Because it had already happened once before. The circumstances, admittedly, were rather different. Whereas the Urus is an outright performance SUV developed as a consequence of Lambo’s place within the Volkswagen Audi Group, the company’s previous attempt at a 4x4 was rather more ad hoc.

The year was 1977. Exactly a quarter of a century had passed since Ferrucio Lamborghini, infuriated by persistent clutch slip on his Ferrari 250 GT, decided to rebuild it himself so it would work properly. Satisfied with the results, but furious at having been sneered at by Enzo Ferrari himself while complaining about the problems he was having with his car, Lamborghini decided that if you want a thing doing properly, you need to do it yourself – and with that, one of the greatest names in four-wheeled exotica was born.

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Back to 1977. Half the world was watching Star Wars, the other half was listening to Mull of Kintyre and anyone left over was wearing bondage and gobbing at the Sex Pistols. In the world of cars, the MkIV Cortina was new and exciting and the Austin Allegro was at the height of its powers. Or whatever they were. Lamborghini, meanwhile, had developed a reputation as a maker of the world’s most beautiful cars. Their names sounded like poetry: Miura, Espada, Jarama, Urraco. And then of

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course there was the Countach, which to this day remains possibly the most remarkable work of design ever, in any field. Almost half a century on, it still looks nothing short of jaw-dropping, like something transported here from a far distant future. So, the world wondered, what beautiful, desirable work of automotive fantasy was Lamborghini going to come up with next? The answer lies in a concept vehicle the company produced back in 1977. It was called

the Cheetah, which sounds fast – but it was one of the most disastrous failures in the history of car making. The Cheetah’s story began way back in the mid-1970s, when the US Army invited tenders for the vehicle which would replace its old Jeeps. At the time, Lamborghini’s core business was still as a tractor manufacturer (that’s how Ferrucio amassed his fortune in the first place), but having just seen a major contract cancelled at the last minute it decided that this would be

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the perfect way to bring in some much-needed sales volume. The Cheetah sounded fine on paper. A 5.9-litre Chrysler V8 engine drove a three-speed automatic transmission and full-time transfer case. Twin diff locks provided traction, and its rugged chassis was topped off with a fibreglass body providing enough space to accommodate four fully equipped soldiers and a driver. That was on paper. But on the road, it was a different matter. A large cast iron engine is never going to be the best thing for handling – but

when it’s slung out over the back axle, things are bound to get dicey. Despite its size, too, the low-tech LA 360 engine only produced 180bhp – which, combined with a kerb weight of 2042kg, meant the vehicle might reasonably have been called ‘Sloth’ rather than ‘Cheetah’. There was another problem. Lamborghini wasn’t the only company pitching for Uncle Sam’s business: AM General was interested, too, and its submission was the prototype for what would one day be known as the Hummer.

The writing was on the wall. There’s always an element of politics in the awarding of military contracts, so whether the Italian vehicle ever stood a chance is debatable. But when the US Army took the Cheetah for testing in California and succeeded in destroying the only prototype, the game was up. Lamborghini didn’t even bother asking for it back. You might think they’d have seen this as a sign that they should concentrate on building beautiful sports cars with names that sounded like poetry. But no. Whether it was blind faith, or sheer bloody-mindedness, Lamborghini decided to persist with the concept. Quite why a supercar manufacturer was so determined to branch into this sphere of the

Where it all began: the Lamborghini Cheetah makes its world debut at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show. Developed for evaluation by the US Army, it was built by a military specialist in California then shipped to Italy to have its engine and body fitted. Unlike the animal after which it was named, it was slow and no good at changing direction in a hurry: one similarity, though, was that from the very start, it was an endangered species

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The LM002’s front-mounted engine and all-independent double-wishbone suspension are laid bare here. Even in such a huge vehicle, there was precious little spare room in the engine bay – note how high the Countach unit sits, and how it was necessary to add an ugly bonnet bulge to accommodate the air filters (this was smoothed out on later models). Tubular chassis members are visible towards the rear of the vehicle, as are twin coil-overs – a relic, perhaps, of the LM series’ rear-engined origins – and drum brakes. Just what you need when you’ve got a V12 in an off-roader that was about as big, and indeed as heavy, as the stately homes it was destined to be parked outside

automotive market is hard to understand, especially during a period when 4x4s were still largely considered utility vehicles. Lamborghini itself describes this era as: ‘difficult due to strategic mistakes, with the company overinvesting in an off-road vehicle with no prospect of sales.’ Nevertheless, what followed was the LM001, a civilian vehicle little different from the Cheetah except for the inclusion of a new AMC V8 engine. First unveiled at the 1981 Geneva Auto Show, Lamborghini desperately used it to try

and generate interest among oil sheikhs and, still, the US Army, but without success. It seemed the company was slow in learning from its mistakes, as the LM001’s engine was also hung out behind its back axle. During testing, this once again proved problematic, causing the front end to lift at high speed – yet another difficulty on top of overheating and poor brakes. Like the Cheetah, the LM001 never went beyond the stage of a prototype. If it first, and second, you don’t succeed… give up. Oh no. Next came the LM002. This time, Lamborghini relocated the engine to the front of an entirely new chassis, and the engine in question was a V12 Countach unit. The new layout allowed better

interior packaging, with the cabin now capable of accommodating six seats. Finally, perhaps, it was starting to make sense. Lamborghini finally had a vehicle that someone might actually want to buy. This heady prospect appeared to give the company a nosebleed, so it quickly went back to building ridiculous prototypes no-one sane would want. First came the LM003, which was basically an LM002 with a 3.6-litre VM turbodiesel engine. This weighed 2600kg and had 150bhp, and you can guess the rest. It was probably as fast as any other Lamborghini up to about 1mph, but what it did fastest of all was be given up as a bad job. The LM004, meanwhile, went in the opposite direction, with a 7.3-litre V12 unit delivering 420bhp. This ultra-4x4 lorded it with a spec list including things like a phone and fridge (this was the early 80s, don’t forget), but despite its monstrous engine it still wasn’t any quicker than the LM002 and yet again, just the one prototype was produced. The 7.3-litre unit was in theory available to special order as an option on the LM002 throughout its production life. This never appears to have been made official, however, and it’s not known whether any were ever actually built. By now, anyway, almost a decade had passed since the Cheetah was first unveiled. Those Star Wars fans had watched agog as the Empire struck back and the Jedi returned; Paul McCartney had sunk from the heights of Mull of Kintyre to the obscure depths of Press to Play; Sid Vicious was dead and instead of punks we had Spandau Ballet and Frankie Goes to Hollywood; and instead of the Cortina, Ford had just started building the glorious new Sierra Cosworth. It was 1986. The year of Diego Maradona and the Hand of God. Finally, after nine years of experimentation, trial-and-error and downright

The LMA prototype was presented as a military model, with a gun turret in the space freed up by moving its engine in the front. It was no better than the ill-fated Cheetah at appealing to the world’s armies – but with a new chassis and in-house power from the Countach V12, it was this vehicle that would ultimately become the LM002

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The LM002’s interior doesn’t look like much these days, but when it was new this was the height of luxury. It came clad in acres of leather and you could specify it with equipment like TVs and VCR video recorders, fridges bullet-proof windows and in-car telephones. The latter was especially useful as the driver’s and passenger’s seats were located in separate time zones

messing about, the Lamborghini LM002 was finally unveiled at the Brussels Auto Show. Lambo was still making the Countach at this point, and it was as stunning as ever. Sitting beneath it was the Jalpa – less hairy-chested, but one of its prettiest ever cars. And then, boom. In waded this square-sided monster of a thing. And what a monster it was. ‘Excessive’ doesn’t even begin to describe the LM002. It was a colossus, an extravagant fantasy boasting the sort of presence you normally only get from a Marvel villain bend on global destruction. It was basic, truck-like and lurid – but it would do 130mph, which is still fast by 4x4 standards today and, back then, was quite simply unheard-of. To put it into focus, it went on sale at a time when British 4x4 buyers were getting to grips with exciting new vehicles like the Suzuki SJ413, Isuzu Trooper and Daihatsu Fourtrak. Yet most of us have never even seen one. It was mainly glimpsed in glossy magazines, or parked (on double yellows, natch) outside Harrods. The 1980s was a pretty up-yours sort of a decade, and the LM002 said UP YOURS like nothing else. It was so egregious, not even the vilest of yuppies dared be seen in one. The very first LM002 went to King Hassan of Morocco, and demand soon grew among

other dignitaries, oil magnates and super-rich celebrities. It quickly became known as the ‘Rambo Lambo’: the list of famous owners included Hunter S Thompson, who wrote about terrorising Porsche drivers on the San Francisco highway, and Sylvester Stallone, no doubt impressed by the reference to his own movie character in the vehicle’s nickname. Mainly, though, what demand there was came from the Middle East, and that’s where Lamborghini concentrated its marketing efforts for the vehicle. A full leather interior was standard, along with a wide range of options including tinted power windows, a premium stereo, televisions, refrigerators, video recorders and bullet-proof glass, making the LM002 one of the first true luxury 4x4s. It was also the first real performance 4x4, despite its cumbersome size and brick-like aerodynamics. That V12 engine gave it a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds (not much these days, but back then even the Countach itself only managed 5.1), and when it wasn’t burning along the blacktop at a maximum 130mph, it was defeating the terrain with its 305mm ground clearance, 120% gradient capacity and capacity to wade through everything from sand dunes to fastflowing water. These abilities were aided in part by the vehicle’s Scorpion tyres, specially developed by Pirelli to allow an optimal compromise between on and off-road driving behaviour. They were also able to withstand the most extreme temperatures on the planet, as well as being drivable when nearly flat.

The LM002 was not without limitations of its own, however, particularly in the fuel economy department, returning an appalling 7mpg. Considering the cost of filling the vehicle’s 70-gallon fuel tank (‘you don’t get coupons,’ said Car magazine, ‘you get gifts’), running an LM002 was an expensive proposition – though this didn’t deter the wealthy sheikhs and LA stars who stumped up the $99,000 asking price to purchase one. If this makes it sound as if Sant’Agata was swamped by orders, don’t be fooled. Although the production lifespan of the LM002 lasted from 1986 to 1993, during this seven-year period only 328 vehicles were built; it’s not known how many came to the UK, but think single figures. Later examples got a Diablo engine instead of the originals’ Countach unit, the seminal Lambo having finally breathed its last in 1990. But before the LM002 itself went out of production, the company did finally manage to land a military order when the Saudi Arabian army bought forty, with stripped-out interiors and machine gun mounting points. As sales plodded along and profitability remained a far distant dream, Lamborghini once again put its complete lack of realism on display when it decided to enter the 1989 Paris-Dakar Rally. With its engine pushed to a whopping 600bhp, the comp-spec LM002 was fitted with a full roll cage and upgraded suspension… but then the project ran out of money and was abandoned. A modified version of the LM002 did participate in the Rallye des Pharaohs in Egypt and an off-road rally in Greece, on both occasions driven by Sandro Munari, but the company’s quest for Dakar glory remained as pie-in-the-sky as everything else about the LM. In many ways, indeed, Lambo’s failure to compete in the Paris-Dakar is symbolic of the LM’s unfulfilled potential. With sporadic civilian sales and no prospect of serious bulk orders from Middle Eastern armies, it was never going to be a long-term success – something Lamborghini should, to be honest, have recognised as soon as the original Cheetah was so soundly beaten in its quest for Uncle Sam’s billions. In 1992, it was Lamborghini’s US importer which made one final effort to save the vehicle,

‘The 1980s was a pretty up-yours sort of a decade, and the LM002 said UP YOURS like nothing else. It was so egregious, not even the vilest of yuppies dared be seen in one’ 54 | NOVEMBER 2019

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Above: The LM004 prototype was meant to be the ultimate in luxury, with equipment like a fridge and phone which, in the mid-eighties, would have put it at the cutting edge of in-car technology. It was powered by a 7.3-litre V8 developing 420bhp – this engine remained an option available by special order throughout the LM002’s production life, but none are ever known to have been built Below: If you want to actually see an LM002 in the metal, pretty much the only reliable way of doing it is to visit Lamborghini’s Centro Eccellenza in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Which says something… Pic: Lamborghini LM 002, by NAParish @ flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

creating a special American edition with an upgraded interior, MSW/OZ wheels and chrome bumpers. Although unveiled with much ceremony at the 1992 Detroit Auto Show, only sixty of the vehicles were ever made, and production of the LM002 finally ceased for good the following year. During this same period, the Humvee was converted into a civilian vehicle and rebranded the Hummer – the beginning of a success story which went on to breed the H1, H2 and H3 models, the latter a global product trading on what became one of the motoring world’s most recognised and notorious brand names. Under the shadow of the original Humvee and its all-American image, the LM002 (which, if fuel consumption is anything to go by, was even

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more ‘American’) slipped quietly into history to become the forgotten Lamborghini. All the same, even today the LM002 is seen by many as the Hummer’s forerunner. To Lamborghini, that would be a bitter-sweet epitaph for a glorious failure – but just as the Miura and Countach were decades ahead of their time, so the LM002 presented a vision of an era, decades later, when affluent customers would be willing to pay anything to buy the best in ultra-luxury performance off-roaders. Lamborghini went through financial turmoil in the years following the LM002 era, before finally finding stability as part of the VW stable and going on to hit previously unimagined heights of commercial success. And the story has come

full circle with the arrival of the Urus. The top end of the 4x4 market is a more exclusive place now than anyone would have imagined back in the 1980s… anyone, perhaps, but the top brass at Sant’Agata who refused to give up on this offroad monolith. Were they deluded, or misunderstood visionaries? The world certainly wasn’t ready for the LM002, that’s for sure. But back then, would anyone have believed that thirty years on, people would be spending a quarter of a million pounds on an off-road Bentley? It might have been a big mistake, but the Rambo Lambo was a ground-breaking work of genius too. Maybe the Countach wasn’t the only Lamborghini to be so far ahead of its time after all…

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SUDAN-LY I SEE…

En route from London to Cape Town, the largest country in Africa turns out to be a land

WORDS AND PICTURES: RAYMOND AND NEREIDE GREAVES

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of surprises – and contradictions

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herever your travels take you in the world, on any expedition there’s a point at which things change. You’ve set off from home, everything is very familiar and, even though things start to become more foreign, you still feel relatively at home. But then you’ll cross a border or a mountain pass, or reach some other watershed on the road, and you’ll know that now, you really are a world away from home. For us, that moment came when we disembarked from a ferry across Lake Nasser and found ourselves in Sudan. It’s an experience many people have had when travelling from Britain to South Africa via what’s known as the Eastern route. You start with Europe, then experience the Middle Eastern cultures of Turkey, Egypt and the lands in between – which are very different to our own, of course, but still allow you to feel like a holidaymaker rather than a traveller. The Lake Nasser ferry itself comes as a shock to many people, because it’s so crowded and, if you end up below decks, so stiflingly hot and smelly. We were lucky and managed to get a prime spot in the shade of a lifeboat, so the experience turned out to be quite pleasant, but once into Sudan we knew we were no longer in our comfort zone. Even Egypt, while it is certainly part of Africa, is very touristy in places, but no we were into the unknown. Talking of comfort zones, ours was still somewhere on Lake Nasser. We were travelling aboard our Range Rover L322 (to the best of our knowledge, the first time anyone had ever tried to make this

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trip in such a vehicle) and the barge carrying it, along with various other overlanders’ vehicles, was a couple of days behind the ferry. This gave us two days to spend in Wadi Halfa, a place which the Bradt guide describes as ‘the end of the earth’. Well, it’s either the end or the beginning, depending on how you look at it. We had made friends with four German guys who were following the same sort of route as us in a couple of Defenders, and along with some other travellers with motorbikes we hung out in the town playing cards, talking and laughing until the barge finally docked. Our target was to make for the capital Khartoum, then beyond there head towards the Ethiopian border at Gallabat, and we had given ourselves just over a week in which to do it. By the time all our cars had been unloaded from the ferry (a fearsome business involving a couple of planks and a lot of nervous tension) and cleared customs, it was late afternoon, but we were all chomping at the bit to leave Wadi Halfa and get underway. So along with our new German friends, we decided to head off in convoy and find somewhere to camp in the desert. This could have been extremely tough, had we made the trip just a few months previously. We had read that the section of road between Wadi Halfa and Dongola was 185 miles of unpaved track through the desert – but just in time for our arrival, it had been beautifully paved! So we cruised along at a serene 100km/h, unable to believe our luck. Perhaps this removes some of the romance and challenge of the trip, but in reality

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If you’re travelling through Africa by what’s commonly referred to as the Eastern route, the Lake Nasser ferry is something of a rite of passage. People are carried on the ferry itself, while cargo, including vehicles, follows a day later (or two, if the captain decides not to leave on time). What this picture doesn’t show is that the Range Rover made the crossing with a load of crates leant up against it, resulting in respray-level damage – something that seemed lost on the captain when he came around after disembarkation asking for baksheesh… we (and no doubt the car) were very grateful. Not that there wasn’t off-roading to be done along the way. In fact, with the sun sinking lower in the sky there was an increasing urgency to find somewhere to camp. Ideally we wanted to be out of sight of the road, meaning an excursion into the desert to drive behind a hill. After some scouting, we found something that looked suitable. And to get there, we gave the Rangie its first proper taste of off-roading, traversing rocks, soft sand and steep slopes. Low-range gears and the ability to raise the vehicle on its adjustable air suspension were hugely useful here, and it coped imperiously. The guys in their Defenders were noticeably less concerned about what the sharp rocks might do to their tyres, however – that’s the beauty of tall sidewalls! As the sun sank below the horizon, we all swung into action to set up camp and make a decent meal. Setting up the Rangie’s tent is simplicity itself, so we were soon busying ourselves with setting up the primus stove… and, once again, we managed to get threefoot flames out of it while setting everything adjacent to it on fire. The Germans found this absolutely hilarious, needless to say, but despite the drama we were soon settling down to a delicious meal of barbecued (no, not cremated) beef and vegetable stew.

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In the pitch darkness of the desert, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped fast. The Germans had a tarpaulin from which we could erect a wind break, so we all huddled around the glowing embers of the barbecue coals and joked and bantered well into the evening. Meeting these guys had turned out to be a real stroke of luck; they were excellent travel companions. In the green Land Rover were Reisefuhrer Benedikt, cerebral and cultured, and his copilot Nora, fun and sophisticated. In the orange vehicle was Christian (who generally introduced himself as ‘Chris’ in Islamic countries!),

practical and resourceful. His co-pilot up to Addis Ababa was Levin, aristocratic and full of acerbic quips and one-liners. All in all a great team. None of us slept too well that night – the wind made too much noise for any decent rest. And it was cold. So after a leisurely breakfast of Dorset Cereals from Waitrose, which had made it all the way out to Sudan, we set off on the perfect, desolate road, direction Dongola. Occasionally we got a glimpse of the Nile, but mostly it was arid desert on both sides and there were very few cars or even people to be seen. It was very comforting to be in a convoy!

Before Dongola, we pulled off the road into the sand and drove into a tiny town. We had heard that here we could get a boat across the Nile and take a look at one of the many Egyptian ruins that punctuate this section of the river. Our intelligence was good – soon we were in a small motor boat crossing the mighty Nile. ‘Are there crocodiles in this bit of the river?’ someone asked nervously. ‘Oh yes,’ replied our guide. ‘But today it is quite windy so they are probably deep underwater.’ Very reassuring indeed. Selib Temple turned out to be an interesting ruin in the EgyptianRoman style, and visiting it without the industrial-scale harassment that comes with being a tourist in Egypt itself was nice. But to some extent we were all getting archaeological fatigue, so we didn’t linger. Crossing our fingers, we made another trip across the Nile – but then before we headed on our way, we were invited into someone’s house for tea. How very welcoming, and a typical gesture of the Northern Sudanese. The house was cool, calming and colourful. The owner of the house was able to make basic conversation with us and his children were beautifully behaved. We had delicious Sudanese tea and some biscuits which were lovely and fresh. They did taste suspiciously like Walkers shortbread, but we weren’t going to complain about that… We had anticipated staying in Dongola before continuing to Khartoum, however the new road meant we were making such good time that instead we could see

One of the good things about all-in-it-together experiences like the Lake Nasser ferry is that they give you the chance to make friends with other overlanders. The authors spent their time on the crossing with four Germans who were travelling in a couple of Defender 110s, and by time the vehicles arrived in Wadi Halfa they had resolved to set out through Sudan in convoy. Which, as it turns out, is about the only way to see any other cars on the journey through the northern half of Africa’s biggest nation

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Turns out Egypt isn’t the only place in the world with pyramids. It’s just that in Sudan, you can get to see them without a swarm of aggressive tourist trolls making you wish you’d stayed at home some more of this region. So we headed straight across the desert to Karima; interestingly, on our map of Sudan there isn’t even a track marked between Dongola and Karima, but now there is wonderfully smooth tarmac. No doubt funded by Chinese money, some bits of infrastructure are developing fast here. We made Karima at sundown and we all knew exactly where we were heading. We had read that Sudan’s only boutique hotel (the

Nubia Rest House, run by an Italian lady) was here and, given that we all have hedonistic tendencies, we beat a path to its door. Not unreasonable, having spent the previous week either on a ferry, in a $6 per night hostel or in the desert. A hot shower would be as welcome as a comfortable bed. The tarred road ended in Karima and we had to roam around on sandy tracks to find the hotel – which, as it turned out, stood by itself in the desert,

directly overlooking the main local attraction, Jebel Berkel. After registering with the local police, which you have to do in Sudan before checking in to any hotel, we relaxed and enjoyed this oasis. Who exactly this had been built for we are not sure, as tourists are a bit thin on the ground here, but that didn’t worry us as we devoured a fine Italian dinner to the sounds of Chopin’s Nocturnes. It was all so good, we all stayed for a second night.

We were really enjoying the friendliness of Northern Sudan, and there was a fine example of this the following day as we wandered around the ruins at the base of Jebel Berkel, a towering rock monolith overlooking our hotel. Here, we encountered a local school outing; all the kids were excited to see us and out came their smartphones to take our photos! We took lots of photos of them, too, and they crowded around the camera afterwards to

Khartoum is one of those never-again cities, but the northern part of Sudan is very friendly and welcoming – the sort of place where, in keeping with the rules of Arabic hospitality, strangers will invite you in for tea. There’s also a remarkably smooth new road from Wadi Halfa to Karima, which had just been completed shortly before the authors made the trip – though everyone is so friendly round here that the desert is already making itself at home on top of the tarmac…

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Khartoum wasn’t very nice, so it was a good place to get stuff done – like treating the Range Rover to new air and fuel filters, with 5500 miles now on the clock since leaving London. Carrying diagnostic equipment is pretty much essential when you’re away from home in a vehicle such as this – and it was also worth an invite to the British embassy, because it turned out that a bloke there hadn’t thought of this before importing an L322 of his own… see the results. It was just a really happy, friendly scene, with never any suggestion of payment – which would certainly have blighted such a situation in Egypt. The next day we departed, diverging from our German friends – but with a rendezvous planned a few days hence in Khartoum. Our journey south to the capital was without incident, but a breakdown here and the outcome could have been very different – the 250-mile drive through the desert was one of the most remote of our entire trip. On the whole journey, we probably saw no more than ten other vehicles in total. As we headed south, the temperature steadily rose. The desert had been sunny but not searingly hot, as we were making the journey in winter, but in Khartoum it was thirty degrees or more during the day and warm in the evening. One can only wonder what it is like in the summer, when it regularly hits fifty degrees and sometimes fifty-five… To get into Khartoum, we first had to drive through Omdurman. A young soldier by the name of Winston Churchill fought here in 1898 as Lord Kitchener’s forces routed a much larger Mahdist army during the re-conquest of Sudan, but today it is simply a sprawling mess of slums, souks and shabby buses ferrying commuters. And it was here that we noticed that the

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smiles, waves and friendliness of Northern Sudan had disappeared. Khartoum is low-rise, grey and uninspiring. Its greatest attraction is the confluence of the White and Blue Niles. The White Nile, rising in Uganda (or is it Rwanda? Or Burundi?) is much more silty than the Blue Nile, which rises in Ethiopia. As a result, it is easy to distinguish the two as they merge. We would now be following the Blue Nile into Ethiopia, where we would see its source at Lake Tana. We wouldn’t be seeing the White Nile again until Uganda. Finding little that inspired us in Khartoum, we abandoned sight-

seeing and concentrated on rest, laundry and lots of other prosaic tasks – the sort of stuff you never think about when you’re planning an expedition, but which needs to be done just as much as it does back home. We gave the Range Rover some love, too – at 5500 miles from home, we decided it would be wise to change the fuel and air filters to tide it over before the major service we had planned for it in Nairobi. We did a lot of research into the wisdom or otherwise of using an L322 for this trip before committing ourselves, and found little to worry us in the standard of the vehicle’s

engineering. And sure enough, thus far it had run faultlessly all the way from London. The Rangie even scored us an invitation to the British embassy, thanks to a chap who imported an L322 of his own into the country when he was posted there. It turned out that he had a few problems with his vehicle, so we agreed to meet him and use our diagnostic equipment to try and pinpoint their source. Some thoughts on Sudan here. It is the biggest country in Africa but has a population of only 40 million. In the easy-going North, it is easy to forget some of the realities, but it is a fundamentalist state and throughout our time within its borders, we were living under Sharia law. Drinking alcohol is banned. Sex before marriage is punishable by stoning. Stealing is punishable by amputation of a hand or arm (as demonstrated by various beggars in the streets). Women have absolutely no rights. Photography of government buildings, roads, bridges or just about anything of interest is banned. You need a photography permit to photograph anything that isn’t banned. Guards with guns are everywhere. Plain-clothes policemen and secret service are everywhere too; we came to expect everything we did to be watched. To share a hotel room, we had to pretend to be married, fake wedding rings and all. After a while, all this started to weigh on us and we started to get a little paranoid. Surely it would only be a matter of time before we were spotted transgressing Sharia law? Surely they would work out

4x4 01/10/2019 10:32


that we were not really married? Well, we were spotted making a minor transgression. Late one evening, returning to our hotel from a pleasant riverside barbecue with fellow travellers, we decided to make an illegal simplification to an over-complicated road junction. Immediately, we were spotted and stopped by a hostile-looking and zealous traffic warden. He angrily pointed out the signs that banned our manoeuvre and demanded a fine of one thousand dinar. The language barrier was a major issue here and we hated to point out that the local currency was pounds, not dinar… After a few minutes of neither side understanding the other, anyway, another road user made exactly the same manoeuvre. We pointed this out to the warden and as he walked over to rant at the other driver, we just drove off into the night. We left Khartoum the following day. There’s nothing much to see on the way to the Ethiopian border, so it was just a matter of covering the 370 miles or so it takes to get you there. There’s an interesting history lesson to be learned from the land between Khartoum and Wad Madani, however, which is a thriving agricultural region. This is one of the positive legacies of British colonisation. Around the time of the First World War, a very ambitious and enlightened irrigation

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and agricultural scheme was implemented in the region, covering a million acres and with proper inclusion of local farmers. The area continues to be a major producer to this day. The other thing we learned about Wad Madani is that it’s very easy to get lost there. We drove, and drove, and eventually we picked up the main road again, but this was yet another occasion on which we were left wondering why, in Sudan, outside of Khartoum itself we had not seen a single road sign, road number or anything else that might be useful for navigation. Stopping for lunch, we opened the Range Rover’s doors to be hit by a wind so strong and warm it felt like standing in front of a giant hairdryer. It might still be winter, but definitely no longer in a form we recognised… Unfortunately, progress on these roads was frustrating due to a combination of traffic, pot holes and the occasional check point. Thus we had to stop for the night in Gederef, the last town of any note before the border. The hotel was mediocre at best, the room only enlivened by the odd cockroach, and dinner was even worse. It usually pays to order something simple when you’re staying in more basic places like this, but they managed to make even a pizza truly horrible.

So the following day we rose early, covered the remaining 90 miles or so to the border at Gallabat and, after the usual hour of paperwork, crossed into Ethiopia. Sudan had been a tale of two halves. The North of the country was beautiful, very friendly and, in truth, a pleasant surprise – but from Khartoum south to the border it was flat, featureless and all rather grumpy. As a travel experience, it did indeed represent the watershed in our expedition when we could no longer pretend we were in any way close to home – but in the end, we were happy to leave it behind.

It wasn’t just that travelling here had become a bit of a chore, however. Ethiopia is a country which promises much to overlanders, and as we cleared the border and set off it was with a renewed sense of anticipation. Sudan was what it was, but it had brought us to another destination – and, as always on the road, that made every mile worth it. Raymond and Nereide drove their Range Rover from London to Cape Town in the first half of 2010.You can read the full story of their expedition at www.lilongwedown.com

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OUR 4X4S: PROJECT OFF-ROAD 90

Very Defender things…

A day’s laning in the mountains and forests of Mid-Wales points up the most irritating part of Defender ownership. And no, it’s not the constant need for new rear crossmembers…

I

t’s been a few months since we last carried anything about Project 90. I still don’t truly know what to do with it, which has got to be further evidence of it being pretty damn good as it stands. A couple of months ago, I reported that the 90’s rear crossmember has started to rust out. This first presented itself as a mudflap making a bid for freedom, and confirmation came when the MOT slapped an advisory on it. Since then I’ve been toying with whether to spend money on a new crossmember – or go the whole hog and spend more money on a galvanised chassis, knowing that one day, somewhere down the line, every Defender ends up needing one of those anyway. Decisions, decisions. Ultimately, money did what money does best – but mainly, I took the tester’s advice, which was that the 90 is still a long way off being worth the investment of going galvy. Defender chassis are pretty stout if they’re looked

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after, when it comes down to it (and mine has been, with an almost 100% known history and a list of receipts that makes your eyes water), but as we all know their rear crossmembers are made of tinfoil. The rest of the vehicle might be as stout as HMS Ark Royal, but its back end can still resemble the Tirpitz after a good duffing-up from Our Boys. So, one rear crossmember on order. Obviously, nothing is ever that easy: do you get a normal or heavy-duty one, do you get it galvanised, do you get just the basic crossmember or one with extensions, and in the latter case should you choose short or long? The price just about triples across the range of options so, while you definitely don’t want to cut corners, you don’t want to over-order either. And then Britpart went and came out with a new half-chassis, which didn’t confuse matters any less. At the time of writing, I still haven’t a clue which option I’m going to go for.

Meantwhile, having spent most of the summer parked up while I was doing other stuff, the 90 has actually been seeing some action recently. We’ve got a story coming up in a couple of months about whether you’re better spending £18,000 on a brand new Suzuki Jimny or a mid-priced Defender Td5, which involved a day’s laning aboard one of each, and the results were very interesting. Without wanting to land any plot spoilers, our reigning 4x4 of the Year is a brilliant little thing in lots of ways, and I’ve thought long and hard about getting one to replace my 90 – but having taken both of them along some of my favourite rights of way, my thoughts are now much more definite than they used to be. Talking of my favourite rights of way (and more or less everyone else’s, too), the week before penning these words I took the 90 for a day out in Mid-Wales. This started by pointing up what is by a long way the most tedious thing about owning a

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Defender (and there is competition). I trawled through loads of hotels’ websites before finding one with the magic words: ‘secure car parking.’ Brilliant. It’ll still be there in the morning. I arrived and the secure car park was in fact an open space next to a residential road. ‘Well, it’s got CCTV,’ said the woman who worked there. In these situations, do you leave a Defender in the shadowy bit at the back of the car park, hoping that no-one notices it, or in full view at the front, hoping no-one wants to risk being seen having a go? Given that most Land Rover thieves are quite happy to strip a vehicle on your drive, however well lit it is, while their scabby mate keeps guard, I think the answer is obvious. The shadows it is – you might think otherwise if it’s parked in the same place every night and passing slags get to know it’s always there, but keeping it out of sight seems like the best policy for a one-nighter. Anyway, it lived. And the following day, it excelled. Just as you’d expect. On a mixture of Cat A gravel and stone, sloppy wet woodlands, steep rough mountain trails and endless surface water, it sloshed its way through the lot without missing a beat. This is exactly the sort of work the 90 was built for, and indeed for which its modifications were intended: the work was done in 2006, when it was nearly new, and back then most people were still trying

Already being in water this deep before you realise you ought to have dropped it into low box is a bad idea. Don’t ask us how we know to create the ultimate Defender with at least 35” tyres and trailing links that could survive an asteroid hit, but mine was specced more modestly – 3” on the suspension, good roll cage, nice sensible 265/75R16 tyres, a winch you can trust. A solid lane truck, in other words. No need for diff locks, no need for the sort of tread pattern that digs ruts you could build a house in. In fact, those kind of tyres are the opposite of what you want on a green lane, at least if

you care even a little about it still being open in a few years’ time. Which brings us to Crychan Forest and Strata Florida, where the ground alongside the rights of way has been damaged in several places by people going off-piste. Now, as we’ve pointed out before in this magazine, there are forests in America where the landowners actually build play areas for 4x4s in order to attract visitors to the area, which seems fantastically simple and obvious but

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OUR 4X4S: PROJECT OFF-ROAD 90 It’s been a while since the rear crossmember announced its ill health by chucking a mudflap on the ground. The MOT wasn’t unduly troubled by it, but unlike the slow puncture we mentioned last time out this ain’t going to fix itself. One last lane trip before it goes under the axe. Oh, go on then, one more. And so it goes on… in Britain sounds like the sort of thing that would get you run out of town by an angry mob dressed in white sheets and carrying burning crosses. As it happens, shortly after our day on the lanes Powys County Council announced that it was going to close Strata Florida for a spell while doing drainage work on the right of way. That set a few alarm bells ringing, but the order says that ‘the closure will take effect from 14 October 2019 to 13 April 2020 or until works have been complete, whichever is sooner.’ They’re not out to smash up anybody’s fun. As far as I’m concerned, the rights of way and highways people at Powys deserve to be knighted. The county is a shining example to many others which are falling over themselves to jump on off-pisting, obnoxious though it is, as an excuse to slap down TROs. Can you imagine a statement like ‘due to its popularity, the route will be closed for the shortest possible time’ coming from the mob at the Peak District, for instance? Anyway, back to the 90. It actually did that very Defender thing of developing a noise on the way through one of the many water troughs in Crychan, which sounded worryingly terminal but then stopped as soon as it had started. I’m pretty sure it was something caught in the transmission or one of the wheels, though there was no sign of anything when I was grovelling around

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underneath it (also a very Defender thing). Anyway, it slugged its way through the lot, scaled Soar Y Mynydd without a hitch and dealt with Strata Florida better than I dared hope. There were places where I’d probably have locked the back diff if I’d been able to, but it waltzed though faultlessly without one – and there was precious little sign of the traction control firing up, either. Oh yes, and that was with the tyres at their standard pressures. There’s a lot of road work in between these lanes, after all. And then on the way home, having seen us safely through a frankly terrifying looking little section of the lane where you have to crawl over a sharp side-slope that will have you falling (or rolling) directly into a deep part of the river if you get it wrong, it did another very Defender thing. Having rendezvoused with George Dove for the day’s photography, I got to watch him setting off for home in a cool new Ford Ranger Wildtrak, while I looked forward to another three hours aboard the 90. I thought he’d make it back to the

office about half an hour before me, but in the end it was more like two minutes – and while, yes, I was feeling quite achey and a trifle deaf after what had by now amounted to a total of around twelve hours behind the wheel, actually the journey home was a cinch. And all the way through it, I was enjoying the brilliant, brilliant view of the road you get from a Defender – which, I will never get tired of saying, compensates more than you could ever believe for all the extra creature comforts you get in every other kind of car. Yes, it’s cramped. Yes, it’s rubbishly equipped. And yes, it’s all a bit loud in there. But no, for a day’s laning you wouldn’t swap it for anything else. Except the rear crossmember. I’d swap that for one that’s made of metal, right enough. Another very Defender thing.

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YORKSHIRE 4X4 FOUNDER LAUNCHES NEW EXPEDITION AND TRAINING BUSINESS Pictures: Mike Trott

ARDVENTURES IS A NEW name in off-road travel – though its owner is very well known around the expedition and green lane touring scene. Russ Dykes first came to prominence as the man behind Yorkshire 4x4 Treks, having previously run an

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independent 4x4 workshop and before that been dealer principal at a Land Rover franchise. He was a director of Ardent Off Road Adventures since that company’s inception a couple of years ago, but has now gone back to running his own show – while offering a

comprehensive range of services to clients looking for driver training or 4x4 tours, whether in the UK or further afield. Russ is quick to point out that the apparent similarity between the names of his old and new companies is no more than coincidence: ‘ARD are my initials. I have had several business called ARD and it is not a play on Ardent. I just felt I could not go backwards to Yorkshire 4x4 Treks.’ Ardventures is unusual in that as well as offering tag-along tours in your own vehicle, it offers the option of hiring one of its own trucks. In addition, customers with Range Rovers and Discovery 4s and 5s are able to hire a set of 19” or 20” wheels and BFGoodrich AT3 all-terrain tyres for the duration of their trip. ‘You may have the right vehicle but wrong wheels,’ explains Russ. ‘The 20” ones have done the

Balkans, Morocco, the Pyrenees and Marquenterre with various clients.’ Also available to hire is an Oztent RV3 – ideal for first-time customers who like the idea of long-range off-road travel but aren’t yet ready to invest in a full range of camping equipment. Talking of long-range travel, Russ intends to pitch the company’s offerings towards the top of the market. ’I will continue with all the treks I have designed and run for the last few years,’ he explains. ‘Many of our treks are outside the normal 4x4 tour company profile. Most of ours are hotels based, targeting folk with Range Rovers and other high-end 4x4s.’ Ardventures’ own vehicles are a Discovery D4 Commercial modified by Prospeed and a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited featuring a range of AEV equipment. Russ says the Discovery is ‘touch wood the best vehicle for the job I have ever driven,’ and that

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OFF-ROAD SCENE

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OFF-ROAD CALENDAR ardventures.co.uk

Pay-and-play events 13 October 4x4 Without a Club

3 November

Devil’s Pit

Parkwood 4x4

Essex, Rochford and District 4x4 Club Rayleigh, Essex

Frickley 4x4 Frickley, South Yorkshire

Protrax Tixover, Northamptonshire

Slindon Safari Slindon,West Sussex

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10 November 4x4 Without a Club Harbour Hill,West Berkshire

Hilll N Ditch Mouldsworth, Cheshire

Protrax

Thames Valley 4x4

01757 638479

Picadilly Wood Bolney,West Sussex

Frickley 4x4

East Grinstead,West Sussex

sales@ardventures.co.uk

Minstead, Hampshire

Explore Off Road Silverdale, Stoke-on-Trent

Mud Monsters

4x4 Training Facilities at Askham Byran College, York

Muddy Bottom

Essex, Rochford and District 4x4 Club

Minstead, Hampshire

Morocco Balkans Galicia Pyrenees Alps UK

Tong, Bradford

20 October

Muddy Bottom

RUSS DYKES 4x4 Adventures

Slindon,West Sussex

Harbour Hill,West Berkshire Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire

the Discovery 3 and 4 has become one of the most common choices for overland preparation. Another interesting observation is that for many customers, price appears to be no object. ‘Treks for 2020 are filling up fast,’ says Russ. ‘And interestingly, the ones that sell first are the high-end £3000 to £6000 treks.’ Russ is also reintroducing a range of UK venues, which Ardent dropped last year to concentrate on overseas work. These include routes in Wales, Salisbury Plain and the Lake District – however the majority are in his long-time home stamping ground of Yorkshire. With prices starting at £180 for a two-day UK tour and climbing to £5750 for two weeks in Morocco with hotel accommodation, Ardventures offers a wide range of services to suit the majority of clients. To find out more, visit ardventures.co.uk.

Slindon Safari

Broxhead, Hampshire

26 October Burnham Off-Roaders Tring, Hertfordshire Kirton Off Road Centre Kirton Lindsey, North Lincs

Rayleigh, Essex Frickley, South Yorkshire Tixover, Northamptonshire

Slindon Safari Slindon,West Sussex

17 November Explore Off Road Silverdale, Stoke-on-Trent Hilll N Ditch Mouldsworth, Cheshire

Muddy Bottom Minstead, Hampshire

Mud Monsters

27 October

East Grinstead,West Sussex

Burnham Off-Roaders

24 November

Tring, Hertfordshire Cowm Leisure Whitworth, Lancashire

Devil’s Pit Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire

Frickley 4x4 Frickley, South Yorkshire Kirton Off Road Centre Kirton Lindsey, North Lincs

Protrax Tixover, Northamptonshire

Burnham Off-Roaders Tring, Hertfordshire

Devil’s Pit Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire

Frickley 4x4 Frickley, South Yorkshire

Protrax Tixover, Northamptonshire

Slindon Safari Slindon,West Sussex

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DEEP MUD AND SCORCHING SUN MAKES JEEPEY JAMBOREE ONE TO REMEMBER Pictures: Andy Bonner

AFTER A WEEK of torrential downpours, the sun came out for the 12th annual Jeepey Jamboree – meaning the perfect combination of beautiful weather and incredibly muddy ground for the 80 or so Jeeps that showed up to take part in the fun. Held once again at Carlton Towers, the venue to which it

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moved last year after a decade at Tong, the Jamboree was a perfect example of what the Jeep lifestyle is all about – an electric atmosphere with roofs and windows down, music on and more than 50 Jeeps tackling a course that was completely different to last year’s event. It was different to last year in another way, too. Because if you had a winch, then lucky you! If you weren’t pulling yourself out, most likely you’d be rescuing one of your fellow Jeepers.

As was the case last year, Ardent Off Road offered driver and winch training throughout the weekend – which went down a storm, especially given the state of the ground. Many of the Jeep owners attending the event said they had never encountered such challenging conditions as they found on some of the sections of the course – not that that stopped them from coming back for more! Hats off also to the plucky Renegade owners who fearlessly got in there to demonstrate their Jeeps’ capabilities, joining in the fun alongside the more hardcore models. It was a tribute to the Jeep marque to see so many different types of Jeeps, manufactured over several decades, all four-wheeling together. In particular, it was great to see some new JL Wranglers in action – their owners certainly weren’t afraid to test their new Jeeps to the extreme!

Away from the off-road action, a fine selection of catering options kept everyone fed and watered on what was an extremely hot weekend, and there was the usual family fun for the many kids who came along. As always, the Jeepey Jamboree is a charity event, and with the support of Crown Automotive, Omix-Ada, Travall, Allmakes, Britpart, MAAS and more, not to mention Andrew, Libby, Jon and the rest of the team from Ardent Off Road, this year it raised a total of £4651 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. And the great news for all concerned is that they’ll have the opportunity to beat that total next year. The 2020 Jeepey Jamboree will take place on 3-5 July, once again at Carlton Towers – which of course means it will be taking place on Independence Day. ‘A great day for anything American, especially Jeep!’ says Jeepey – and the organisers promise that the weekend’s event will be embracing the traditional 4th July celebrations. In the meantime, Jeepey will also be organising a Winter Driving Day at Carlton Towers on 7 December 2019. For further details of either event, or indeed both, pay a visit to jeepey.com.

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MUD APLENTY AS ODYSSEY CHALLENGE VISITS MOW COP Words: Pip Evans Pictures: Nick Hood

LAST YEAR, the Viking Club visited Mow Cop in Cheshire for the first time as an emergency measure when one of its regular sites became unavailable at the last minute. However the organisers were so impressed that they decided to book it again for this year. This round was sponsored by Damar Webbing Solutions, a UKbased manufacturer of lifting slings, ratchet straps, vehicle transport straps, 4x4 recovery straps and safety equipment. With more than 28 years’ experience, the company’s range of products are ideally suited to the 4x4 challenge market – it will even make custom webbing items and safety side screens to order. The Mow Cop site has the most spectacular views across the Cheshire Plain and it’s worth a visit just for this, but the Odyssey competitors weren’t there for the views. So once the formalities were done, they headed off into the site to pit their wits against what Cheshire had to throw at them.

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The previous round was remarkable for the number of breakdowns and early retirements, but this one stood for the opposite reason. Everyone seemed to be going just fine. There were the odd minor niggles like the occasional roll and a rope break here and there, but this is normal wear and tear for a challenge event. The first major problem of the day befell Kevin Bates when his truck developed overheating problems at around lunchtime. Darren Brook’s truck was doing Thomas the Tank Engine impressions, with ominous looking clouds of smoke emanating from its exhaust, but he managed to keep on going for most of the day. Paul Curling, meanwhile, damaged his steering late in the event – but this was nothing compared to the issues he had had to deal with last time out. The main thing that stood out at this event was the amount of wet gloopy mud covering some of the

trucks, and some of the winchmen. It’s Will Baker, however, who wins the award for having the most mud-covered truck ever seen at the end of an Odyssey event – which is some statement for a sport that is inextricably linked with the stuff. None of the organisers could fathom out what he must have been doing, but his truck must have taken days to clean afterwards! Mow Cop is on the far reaches of the Odyssey Challenge map, so the organisers had decided to end

the event half an hour earlier than usual in order to give everyone a chance to pack up and get home at a fairly reasonable time. Thus competitors returned to the paddock by 3.30pm, before heading back into the site to gather in the punches while the team in the back office figured out who had won. This didn’t take too much doing in Class 1, as there were only two competitors – however the battle between them was extremely close. They ended the day just 93 points

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OFF-ROAD SCENE

apart (that’s less than one punch score), with Richie Lott and Seb Parkes taking the honours ahead of Will Baker and Georgie Smith. Richie and Seb managed to keep their truck just marginally cleaner than Will Baker, however they certainly won the race in terms of battle scars. They ended the day with 2092 points and an interestingly shaped passenger door: 1999 points and enough mud to sink a battleship was pretty good going by Will and Georgie, but ultimately it was only good enough for second. In Class 2, Paddy Burman and Dan Thomas finished third on 2045 points. Second went to Johnny Johnson and Tracey Stafford on 3245 points, while top spot went to Tom Sharp and Tom Joliffe on 3642. In Class 3, Scott Haines and James Watts have been making a habit of coming out on top – but they must have had an off day on this occasion, as they only managed third with 3438 points. Steve Grant and Joe Hood, however, were making their presence felt after having missed a couple of rounds, and they ended the day in second place on 4801 points – not far behind Mat Bain and David Burton, who came home with the top honours with 5046. This had clearly been a tough one, as the scores were considerably lower than usual. Another dead giveaway was that everyone looked exhausted at the end, too – though all still had smiles on their faces having enjoyed the challenges of the day. The Odyssey Challenge now moves to Weekley Woods for the final event of the season – which, as tradition now dictates, is a charity fundraiser. The chosen charity for this one is Wishes for Kids, and the fancy dress theme is cartoon characters – watch out for the usual comedy photos in next month’s issue of this magazine!

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Slindon Valley closure means twice as many open days next door at Slindon Safari

Slindon Valley Off-Road Centre, which opened earlier this year for monthly playdays, has closed again due to poor attendances. John Morgan, who opened the site as a partner to his well established Slindon Safari venue, told us that even though he lowered prices, turnouts failed to improve. ‘I have a hardcore following at Slindon Safari which takes time to establish,’ explained John. With immediate effect, this site will revert to being open twice a month, thus filling the gap left in the calendar by Slindon Valley’s closure. These open days are the second and fourth Sunday of each month. To find out more, pay a visit to Morgan’s site at www.4x4driving.co.uk.

Jacob’s Ladder gone for good. Or is it? The Green Lane Association is taking advice on its options for a legal challenge against Derbyshire County Council’s recent decision to close Jacob’s Ladder. The lane, which was recorded as a Byway Open to All Traffic in 2012, is in the village of Stoney Middleton – where residents have long waged a battle against its legal use by motor vehicles. The council’s decision follows three separate enquiries – the most recent of which found that the majority of respondents were in favour of keeping the lane open.

OFF-ROAD CALENDAR

UK Convoy Tours 5-6 October

Tracks and Trails Northumberland

4x4 Adventure Tours Welsh Marches

20 October

Protrax Wiltshire

UK Landrover Events Peak District

Tracks and Trails Yorkshire Moors and Dales

26 October

7-11 October Ardent Off Road Coast to Coast Ardventures Coast to Coast

12 October UK Landrover Events Lake District

12-13 October Onelife Adventure Lake District

13 October UK Landrover Events Eden District

18 October UK Landrover Events North York Moors

19-20 October Ardventures Yorkshire Wolds and Moors Protrax Wales

Tracks and Trails Night Drive (venue TBC)

31 October UK Landrover Events North York Moors (night drive)

2-3 November Ardventures Lake District Protrax Wiltshire Tracks and Trails Yorkshire Dales

3 November UK Landrover Events Dales and Eden

4 November UK Landrover Events Durham Dales

9-10 November 4x4 Adventure Tours South Devon and Dartmoor

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Overland Travel

OFF-ROAD CALENDAR

October

15 November

24 April – 10 May

1-15 August 2020

Venture 4x4 Iceland

Peru Safari Northern Peru

Ardent Adventure Morocco

Atlas Overland Italian Alps

3-16 October

15-19 November

16-30 May 2020

8-23 August 2020

Trailmasters Morocco Atlantic Sahara

7P Overland Utah

Atlas Overland Portugal

Ardventures Galicia, Spain

11 October

3 December

20 May – 2 June 2020

22-30 August 2020

Peru Safari Peru

Peru Safari Peru

Trailmasters Morocco (extreme expedition)

Ardent Adventure Alps

12-26 October

8-22 November

27 May – 10 June 2020

24 August – 4 Sept 2020

Low-Range Adventure Moroccan Sahara

Ardventures Morocco

Protrax Pyrenees

Trailmasters Morocco

12-27 October

10-24 January 2020

6-21 June 2020

9-24 September 2020

4x4 Adventure Tours Morocco

Ardventures Morocco

Ardventures Pyrenees, Spain

Protrax Ukraine

17-31 October

7-9 February 2020

10-24 June 2020

14-28 September 2020

Protrax Morocco Coast to Coast

7P Overland Utah

Protrax Pyrenees

Atlas Overland Morocco Classic

19 Oct – 3 Nov

7-26 March 2020

13-20 June 2020

16-29 September 2020

Ardent Adventure Morocco

Protrax Morocco Desert and Mountains

Ardent Adventure Pyrenees

Trailmasters Morocco Marrakesh Classic

25 Oct – 8 Nov

15-22 February 2020

20-27 June 2020

1-14 October 2020

Trailmasters Morocco Draa Valley

Ardventures Galicia, Spain

Ardent Adventure Pyrenees

Atlas Overland Morocco – Grand

3-19 November

24 March – 6 April 2020

22 June – 7 July 2020

2-18 October 2020

7P Overland Baja Mexico

Trailmasters Morocco Marrakesh Classic

Atlas Overland Corsica

Ardent Adventure Morocco

7-30 November

3-16 April

11-24 July 2020

4-22 October 2020

Onelife Adventure Algeria

Ardventures Morocco

Ardventures Balkans

Protrax Morocco Desert and Mountains

8-22 November

4-16 April 2020

31 July – 3 August 2020

16 Oct – 1 Nov 2020

Ardventures Morocco

Atlas Overland Morocco Classic

Ardventures / Storm Jeeps Marquenterre, France

Ardventures Morocco

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4x4 TOR Folios and classifieds.indd 49

TO ADVERTISE IN OUR CLASSIFIEDS SECTION CALL ABI COOPER ON 01283 553246 OR EMAIL ABIGAIL.COOPER@ ASSIGNMENT-MEDIA.CO.UK Whitecliff NEW Jul 17.indd 1

30/05/2017 10:00

NOVEMBER 2019 | 79

02/10/2019 09:44


NEXT MONTH IN 4x4 Driving Jeep’s latest Grand Cherokee – and Mercedes’ stunning new all-electric ECQ Forget Macchu Picchu – a guided 4x4 safari is the way to see the real Peru Preparing for retirement – by building a Land Rover to last a lifetime

ON SALE: 8th Nov Step 15: This

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Step 11: Th ZERO TRIP ey When did you take their field roads seriou last see a roa d sign like this sly in Leicestershire. 11.85 on a green lane?

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Roadbook: Lanes to reckon with in the mountains and forests of Powys 5.05

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round to the left, Follow the track the gate gh not ahead throu

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Fill in your name and address and give this form to your1newsagent 1 ●

Mel;ton 1 2 Cranoe 181 1 Church Lang ton 1 2 4

SP 717 972

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9.2 every month Please order 4x4 Magazine and reserve/deliver me a copy 2016 50 | NOVEMBER

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9.55

TAL OFF-R OA D Newsagent This magazine is available to your wholesaler through Comag Magazine Marketing, Tavistock Rd, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE. Tel: 01895 444055 Fax: 01895 433602 TO

80 | NOVEMBER 2019

96 Next Month Nov.indd 96

SAFETY

The symbols on the first the roadboo k advise you suitable it is for your vehi are just guidelin es, howev warn you of 112 any hazards o Field Road Slaw ston sect 214 ions Glooston , ton but Halla2 1 the nature of 4 lane can chan ge quickly.We can make a hug e difference Your track is Inn opposite the Fox the left obvi conditions und Turnless two as you appr ous of the erfoot, and w oach wide open in winter can be enclosed and scratchy in sum responsibility is yours! Our roadboo ks are design be safe to driv e in a solo veh D larg NORTH ENare ely suitable for standa on road tyre s. We do reco mm trav elling in tand em wherever h for this ford to If it’s wet enoug pos the sible, how It’s not a big ever have any water over have ly ford, but . The actual risk bly there’s ae, you’ll proba stuck of g sharpish drop surfac us can be greater than into itroad previo the in as d daway it app roun the corner washe – and if you brea beenyou k down, having two by now at hand can mak e the differenc e between it bein g inconvenient a downright dan gerous.

RESPONSIB

When did you sign like this last see a road at unsurfaced righ a junction on an t of way?

Name Address

NAVIGATIO

We’ve delibera tely possible to follo wt mixture of inst ructi and grid refe rences. only include junction have to make a turni right of way, so just s road or take the mos option unless we tell If you’re unfa miliar grid referenc es, you’ll using them on the lege map. Our aim is for yo do the route without m do recommend having t

Stonton Wy

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Irresponsible driving is a mas sive pro

blem ADgreen lane -ROon TOTAL OFF s. In particu you mus

t always stay on the right of way. Never drive off it to play o the verges or surrounding land, eve if you can see that someon e else has; doing so is illegal and can be tremendously dam land and to 4x4 aging, both to the drivers’ repu tation. The fact that you can see whe it’s happened shows how muc re h harm it does. It’s no excuse to say you’re just following where another driver has already bee n. Most green laners have taken to videoing anyo ne they see behaving like this and passing the evidence to the police, which shows how much ange r there is tow ards the criminal elem ent. Elsewhere, simp le common sense and cou rtesy should be your

4x4 01/10/2019 23:06


4X4 Pick Up FP Nov Iss 2019 OL.indd 1

24/09/2019 09:34


ARRIVING SOON AT YOUR LOCAL ISUZU DEALERSHIP

CALL 03303 335126 OR VISIT ISUZU.CO.UK/XTR TO FIND OUT MORE #Over 40 MPG figure applies to manual transmission models. MPG figures are official EU test figures for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results. Official fuel figures for the Isuzu D-Max range in MPG (l/100km): Urban 30.4 - 38.7 (9.3 - 7.3). Extra Urban 40.9 - 50.4 (6.9 - 5.6). Combined 36.2 - 45.6 (7.8 6.2). CO2 emissions 163 - 205g/km. For full details please contact your local Isuzu dealer or visit isuzu.co.uk Features and specification may vary in appearance and/or availability. *3.5 tonne towing applies to all 4x4 models. **125,000 mile/5 year (whichever comes first) warranty applies to all new Isuzu D-Max models. Terms and conditions apply. Visit isuzu.co.uk

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30/08/2019 09:24

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4x4 Magazine - November 2019  

We've been waiting a long, long time to see what the new Land Rover Defender looks like. And now it's finally out there, we can't deny that...

4x4 Magazine - November 2019  

We've been waiting a long, long time to see what the new Land Rover Defender looks like. And now it's finally out there, we can't deny that...

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