Words and image by Andrew Middleton
Think of a serious Nissan 4×4, and no doubt an image of a dusty and battered Patrol will come to mind. The big GU Patrol has made itself famous by dominating off-road events the world over, and is, indeed, an incredibly capable standard machine. But, what if I told you another Nissan will go further? What if I told you that one of the most capable 4x4s in South Africa is based on a knackered old Nissan Maxima?
A car that’s about as interesting as stale bread, the genteel Maxima was designed for reliability and comfort, not for climbing up sheer rock faces. Yet, for the innovative Klaus Lutzeler, the hidden gem was obvious. You see, ‘Flat Foot’, as Klaus’s home-built Class A beast was to become known, is a true example of how necessity is the mother of invention.
Once a regular on the 4×4 Challenge circuit in his Class A Hilux, with his daughter as co-driver, Klaus was stranded when she left the country for greener pastures. With nobody to operate the pneumatic suspension and turning brakes, and no alternative co-pilot to be found, Klaus was forced to build a new vehicle to compete in – something he could drive alone.
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