Monthly Archives: October 2013

CAMEL TROPHY MEMORIESTHIS IS A BLAST from the past! The 1989 Camel Trophy is now available as a DVD. This is actually the year that Bob and Joe Ives represented the UK on the event, and it’s a year after the Editor was in the UK team’s Land Rover bouncing around Sulawesi, in Indonesia. From first hand experience, therefore, we can confirm that this 1989 event was a lot muddier than Sulawesi, and this is clear in the DVD! Gary Critcher is the guy behind the project as he has taken charge of the Camel Trophy archive, and promises that this will be the first of the material due for re-release. If you are a Camel Trophy enthusiast, or indeed if you have heard about it and wondered what all the fuss was about, then this DVD is for you. It’s priced at £15, including p&p for the UK, £17 for the Rest of the World, and is available from www.cameltrophydvd.com.

pocket light

This is a clever little pocket light that you can keep, well in your pocket or more likely the glove box or centre console. It’s a new RIL50 light from the Ring Automotive Group. Not much bigger than a pen, but with eight powerful LEDs and a magnetic clip it’s useful when working in tight spaces, so if you get caught out in the dark this is something that might well come in useful. Powered by three AAA batteries, it is said to last for some nine hours and is available at a RRP of only £7.99.

Website: www.ringautomotive.co.uk




Wrangler protection

A new range of underbody protection is now available for 2007-2013 Jeep Wrangler JK models from top American specialists Rugged Ridge. The new skid plates protect the eight major exposed mechanical components – steering, differentials, transfer case, engine, transmission, suspension arms, air conditioning and exhaust. These are simple bolt on parts, and given the quality of Rugged Ridge they are likely to line up! Made from 3/16inch heavy duty steel plates, they come rust resistant and with a durable black powder coating. You can find out more at the Rugged Ridge site: www.ruggedridge.com, if you want to know how to get these in the UK, check one of the Jeep specialists that advertise in this magazine and just ask, or contact the guys at Omix-Ada who certainly will help source for you.

Website: www.omix-ada.com 



DISCOVERY REVISIONSA new front grille, front bumper, LED daytime running lights and headlamp design gives the 2014 model year Land Rover Discovery a fresh new look. More significant, however, is the fact that for some markets, the words Land Rover will be removed from the bonnet, replaced by Discovery. On the tailgate the ‘4’ has been removed, leaving just the word Discovery. Engine badging also moves from the tailgate to an ingot mounted on each of the front doors – this will appear as SDV6 for the UK market. In the US and Middle East, however, the vehicle’s badging will remain as before. The new models get some of Land Rover’s very latest hi tech gizmos, including Wade Sensing, Blind Spot Monitoring, Closing Vehicle Sensing, Reverse Traffic Detection and T-junction cameras. Also to link up with the rest of the range, the Discovery will now be available with the excellent Meridian audio system. These new models can be ordered in the UK now, for delivery in mid-November.

Don’t let those puny little Vitaras and Jeeps and Land Rovers get in your way. If you want to make a big impression off-road you’ll need one of these – dominators that are as effective off-road as their size suggests, yet not that hard to come by


Heavyweight 4x4sFor an off-road enthusiast who believes big is beautiful, there can be few more awe-inspiring sights than watching a six-wheel drive Scammell clambering over a huge rocky outcrop or seeing a Stalwart emerge from a lake and without a pause clamber up the bank and disappear into the undergrowth. Most people do simply look on in awe, because the thought of driving one of these beasts, let alone actually owning one, seems a dream too far, partly because of a natural fear of their perceived complexity and partly because of the assumed high cost of purchasing one, not to mention having to acquire the necessary heavy vehicle driving licence. That latter point aside, most of these all-wheel drive behemoths are actually quite easy to drive, the basic controls are all as straightforward as in an ordinary passenger car, you may just have to spend some time getting used to the pre-selector gearboxes and exhaust brakes sometimes included in the specification of more modern vehicles. As to the cost of purchase, you needn’t pay more for a big six-wheeled off-roader than you would for a good-condition ordinary four-wheel drive. What you will have to consider, however, is that you’ll need somewhere to park it when it’s not in use and if you don’t treat it with respect you could end up frightening yourself with repair and maintenance costs. If neither of these factors causes you concern, then maybe it really is the right time to have a look around at what’s available in the way of heavy-duty awe-inspirers.

Nigel FryattNigel Fryatt, Editor

Toyota Land Cruiser and canoeSome interesting off-roading this month, far away and certainly off-road. It’s been vacation time, which has seen Sue and I on a camping and canoeing trip in Zambia; paddling around hippos, avoiding crocodiles and photographing elephants. Of course, there’s been a little conventional off-roading as well, courtesy of some interesting Toyotas. You cannot help but notice that throughout Zambia, the off-roader of choice has a Toyota badge on the bonnet. Land Rovers? As elusive as leopards, to be honest. They are there but you have to search them out. When it comes to Toyotas, however, a bit like Impalas, they are everywhere.

Admittedly it’s a bit of a cheek trying to claim this was an off-road trip, since the off-road in question was actually in canoes, and paddling down the Zambezi. We were a small group, together with two guides, camping on the islands in the river (interestingly, at this point the river is the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the islands in the river being officially ‘no-man’s-land’). A fantastic trip, to be recommended if you enjoy wildlife and getting well away from civilisation, as we were pretty remote at times. It was also no journalistic ‘freebie’, we paid our way and can heartily recommend the company that organised the trip, Exodus. And if you get guides TK and Norman to instruct, guide and protect then you’ll have as good a time as we did. Check out the Exodus website on www.exodus.co.uk.

Suzuki SX4 S-CrossSuzuki’s 4×4 range extends further with the brand new SX4 S-Cross. A ‘soft roader’ certainly, but one fitted with the new driver selectable four mode ALLGRIP system

Words and photography: Nigel Fryatt

Things seem to be going well for Suzuki in the UK, the company having nudged its way into the top 20 best selling manufacturers, overtaking Mazda and Volvo and, in the words of Managing Director Dale Wyatt, ‘going to give Renault a bloody nose soon.’ Even allowing for exuberant marketing bravado, there’s no denying that Suzuki appears on the up; and it’s a growth built on a 4×4 heritage. The Grand Vitara is a well established model, we wrote about the introduction to the UK of the Swift 4×4 in the last issue, and the ever youthful Jimny continues to sell, entertain and bring a smile to all owners, and now the company enters probably the most competitive segment of the SUV market with its Nissan Qashqai competitor, the SX4 S-Cross. This introduction comes at a time when Suzuki can boast at being the UK’s fastest growing brand.

JLR’s friends are electricJaguar Land Rover has announced the launch of a new multi-partner project that will culminate in the production of an all-electric Range Rover Evoque_e. This massive £16.3m collaborative research project is being run with Zytek Automotive, GKN Driveline, Motor Design Limited, AVL, Drive System Design, Williams Advanced Engineering, Delta Motorsport, Tata Steel, Bristol University, Cranfield University and Newcastle University. The aim is to produce a mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV), a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and, most interestingly, a battery electric vehicle (BEV). It is impressive to see that JLR’s investment is not just financial, but also in the academic prowess of three British Universities. It is also important to note that this is more than just an research project. Peter Richings, Jaguar Land Rover Director Hybrid and Electrification has said: “The outcome of the Evoque_e project will be new technologies with the potential for high volume production that are capable of delivering benchmark performance in terms of cost, weight and sustainable use of materials.” It is indeed exciting to think of the potential of a fully electric four-wheel drive Evoque… provided it will travel more than a mile before it needs recharging!

CLASSIC VEHICLE RESTORATION SHOWIt’s the time of year when the classic car shows start cropping up. Always worth a visit, admittedly not full of 4x4s – although you can guarantee Land Rover exhibits – but you cannot beat a good stroll around some great classic machines. The Footman James Classic Vehicle Restoration Show is now in its 13th year and will once again be held at the Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, over the weekend of 2nd/3rd  November. The organisers are expecting up to 150 exhibitors, including classic car clubs, traders and autojumblers spread over four indoor arenas. Being an indoor event, means that you don’t have to worry about the weather. Visitors can bring their own classic car to show off in the VIP viewing area, or buy a classic vehicle at an on-site auction, which is held on Sunday by leading classic vehicle auctioneer Charterhouse. Tickets are available at a very reasonable £9 at www.bccsl.co.uk and car parking is free.

Jeep and Fiat tensionIt seems that all may not be well with the union between Jeep and Fiat. Back in 2009, Chrysler was on its knees and had to be bailed out by the US government, and was relieved to gain support, joining forces with Fiat. At the time, the Italian manufacturer was by far the stronger, but it seems times have changed. Since that time, the workforce at the Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit has tripled, and the company has regularly recorded significant profits. In numbers, there has been a 10 per cent rise in vehicle sales over 2012 – much of this, the success of the latest version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Even leading to a delay in getting RHD versions into dealerships in the UK. Fiat, on the other hand, has not fared so well, with many manufacturers in the eurozone, it’s been struggling to sell new vehicles.