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Browsing: Special rigs

Words and image by Andrew Middleton Since the highly unfortunate demise of the Cruiser 105 series in 2007, the world’s schoolyard of proper off-road bullies has dwindled. Yes, we have the Defender, G-Wagen, Land Cruiser 70 series and Wrangler options, but none of these come close to the comfort or space that a solid-axle 105 offers. I hear some Nissan fans crying, “You forgot the Patrol GRX,” but, alas, that too is on its last legs with a hideously puffed-up, independent-frontsuspension replacement on its way to SA sometime soon. For Johan Viljoen, although there are other vehicular options, nothing else

Words and image by Peter Middleton 2008 Land Rover Defender HCPU Boris’ was built for a planned South America trip, and, given the cold and wet climate in some regions, was created to satisfy my need to live ‘inside’ as opposed to ‘alongside,’ as we do here in SA. In cold, wet and windy conditions, a roof-top tent is a painful and even dangerous way to have your bedroom on a rocking Land Rover – especially for an old geezer like me. Furthermore, it compromises security when access to the driver’s seat is nullified in a confrontation with thieves. I’ve

Words and image by Andrew Middleton Monsters Inc. 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

Words and image by Andrew Middleton Jeep Cocktail There are many distinct factions in restoration – some add modern touches, some keep it original and others go full nutter and create a 1000kW Rat-Rod, retaining only a hint of the standard vehicle. For Dave Ratcliffe, originality is paramount – yet his CJ-3A is surely the only one like it on Earth. The culmination of Dave’s years of Jeep experience and thousands of personal man hours have led to a creation that’ll cause even the most knowledgeable Jeep fanatics to scratch their heads in puzzlement. Dave’s obsession with Jeeps started at

Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton Frankenstein’s Ghost This month we go back to basics, with by far the rawest and most hardcore Rad Rig we’ve ever featured. Yes, it’s got rust, and no, it doesn’t have power steering. Reenen Kritzinger wanted a beast that could embarrass expensive 4×4’s, despite his intention to build it entirely out of salvaged parts. Meet ‘Monster’ – a Frankenstein brute that only his creator could truly explain. Back in 2005, when a 4×2 Hardbody rolled out of the Nissan factory, the poor thing little knew what was in store. After years of hard work

Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton We’ve seen some pretty ‘Rad Rigs’ so far in this series, but nothing’s been this extreme. Not every day does one hear the thunder of a 6l V8 as a Prado drives by – nor does one get to experience the beast first hand. Frans Bouwer’s fire-spitting and dune-ramping Toyota stands far back from its humble beginnings as a capable but tame SUV. Originally built up by two Capetonians in 2008, the short-wheelbase Prado, aptly named Tyson, was destined for a life of brutal torture. Like Dennis Maytom’s Hardbody (a Rad Rig we featured

Overlanders are a special bunch; they’ll spend exorbitant amounts of time and money on escaping what most recognise as an entirely satisfactory way of life − just to go sleep in the bush and drive their 4x4s. Of course, if you’re an overlander, a normal vehicle simply won’t do. In fact, a normal 4×4 won’t do, either. Longdistance off-road travellers require not only a capable steed but one that can function as a home, as well. This is something that Bryan Fenn has learnt first-hand. Bryan, and his wife, Lesley, have always enjoyed travel; but their offroading adventures began only

Words and pictures by Andrew Middleton Love is an inexplicable thing. It may grow on you over the years, have an immediate dazzling effect, or splutter to life unexpectedly. For Theo, it was the latter case; that first tug at his heart strings happened back in the late 70’s, when Theo was still at school. While most teenagers had idle thoughts of dates, cigarettes and underage drinking, but Theo always had a more adventurous inclination: that of the Land Cruiser kind. Back then, on one of SA’s sepiatoned summer evenings, Theo got the chance to drive in his friend’s dad’s

Words and Pictures by Andrew Middleton. Somewhere down south, there’s an event: an annual occurrence where 500 kW 4x4s are pitted against one another – and the clock. A desperate high-speed chase over Australia’s harshest terrain. In its wake, you’ll find blood, sweat, tears and smashed-up trucks. If you haven’t heard of the Outback Challenge, take the time to look it up. You won’t be disappointed by the pix: eight days of gruelling challenges, where only the most expertly-prepared vehicles stand a chance of completing the event. This, then, is a story about one such rig, born to brave the

Words and pictures by Andrew Middleton It was early 2012 when the inspiration for this build project belligerently butted its face, in albeit a peaceful place: Paradise 4×4 Trail. The name may sound dreamy, but this sandy track carved from the Garden Route boasts a particularly tough obstacle, dubbed Fugly – a sandy climb riddled with cross-axles that’s defeated many a Cruiser, Hilux and Land Rover. And, back in ’12, Pierre’s Nissan Navara. At the time, a host of vehicles had failed to conquer the…umm, flippin’ ugly dune, and while a number of 4×4 owners stood fuming at the base

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