What’s your Dream Off-Roader?
Automologist Atherton has been dreaming of a vehicle that can take him where no other can.
‘Why waste money?’, ‘You think easy meh?’ or ‘How much cash you got?’ are the sort of things that naysayers say to me when I talk about getting an off-roader and customising it. These are also the same people who tend to give up, even before they start. There is something called a budget and working with it—if you have a small one, a secondhand off-roader is something that you can definitely work with.
There are many brands of off-roaders to choose from. Considering that you are looking for a secondhand unit, Land Rovers, Landcruisers, Jimnys, Pajeros and Jeeps, to name a few, are a good bet.
Land Rovers are like the Granduncles of the current generation of off-roaders/pickups/4×4’s (I’ll let you know who the Granddaddy is in a bit). You will find many of them in droves in Cameron Highlands because in those days, they were used in the tea plantations (aaahhh…teh tarik…zzzzzz) and general works. They were tough and rough, and will take you from point A to Z without a fuss.
Then you have the Landcruisers. You’ll find these beasts roaming East Malaysia. They were bullet-proof and so robust that the palm oil sector is virtually built by them. Ninja King is what it is called over there. And true kings they were, indeed. I’ve heard stories of owners who will never touch any other vehicle other than a Landcruiser.
The Jimny is a marvel don’t you think? Small but with a solid engine, has easy maneuverability yet spunky enough to go anywhere. To many, having a Jimny is as good as it gets. You can find many owners converting its looks to match a Jeep. You can find many Jimnys around in good running condition. This would be a good start to building your off-roader.
Pajeros are truly a great buy if you’re planning on one. You can do so much with it; parts are reasonably easy to source and very importantly, it can carry 7 adults (or rather 5 adults + 2 small adults/kids). Like the Isuzu Troopers, these 4x4s will get you off the beaten path and back on it.
Finally we have the the Granddaddy of ‘em all—the Jeep. Why is it called the Granddaddy, you may ask. Well, it was the first 4×4/pickup built back in the WWII era and it was the precursor to many pickups we see today. You could do anything with a Jeep. Anything. It was made as such. So much so, many have tried to copy it (case in point above). One thing about the Jeep is that it is an ICON. You can never go wrong with an ICON.
Final tips…look for vehicles that are in good running condition. You wouldn’t want to do a whole engine rebuild and have it sitting in the workshop and waiting for parts that are hard to come by. You wouldn’t want a mechanic who is busy having his ‘teh tarik’ under the tree either, so find a reliable one. If you have a mechanic who is a friend, bring him along with you in your hunt for an off-roader that suits you. Take your time in finding the right one. Search online sites, join 4×4 groups, ask questions, read. That’s how you begin the process of finding a 4×4 to be transformed into an off-roader.