Rad Rig: Don Nieuwoudt’s 1978 FJ45 Cruiser


Words and images by Andrew Middleton

Addictions are horrible things. They eat away at the sanctity of a sane man’s mind and tear families apart. Until, eventually, after years of abuse, the inevitable happens – an extension to the garage. Like the most potent of drugs, vehicle-fetishes
grip one’s soul and become a controlling factor in a family’s existence. Take Don Nieuwoudt’s household, for example. His poor wife, Annelene, is now addicted, and even Don’s young son has grown up to become a ‘Cruiser fan’.

The basis of this generation-crossing addiction started in the early Nineties when Don bought his first Cruiser. After the initial wave of excitement had passed and a tolerance had quickly developed, only a big-block Chev engine in the nose could cure Don’s craving for power. And you can’t imagine how bad it is now…

When Don spotted the FJ45 Cruiser you see here, it belonged to a man in Cape Town. That was in 2013, and he just had to have it. Attracted by the bulging 350-cubic-inch Chevy engine and its old-school curves, or what passed as curves, Don bought the old brute in the hope of making it into a dune-ramping monster. This would be the 15th Cruiser to join Don’s vast stable, and the beast looked promising. You see, Don isn’t interested in new and shiny; he wants to embarrass
people in their expensive 4x4s without even trying, in a pure display of Old School Rules.

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