SIMON AND LIBBY’S PRADO
Simon and Libby are our sort of people. They’ve spent the last decade or so working as a chef and in marketing (respectively), before recently deciding to chuck it all in and hit the road full-time for the foreseeable future. What’s even better is that their Prado is their first-ever 4X4… and what a great base to build a tourer from. They’ve been slowly building it up to handle their journey over the past few months and have already sorted it with a TJM front bar, snorkel, AT tyres and a cheapy rack and awning to keep the gear stowed and the rain off. The vehicle itself is the venerable 3.4L V6 petrol model, which was chosen over the common-rail diesel as the cost difference freed up more funds for mods; and let’s be honest, thanks to the factory dual tanks and almost bulletproof reliability of these engines, there’s still plenty of power, fuel range and peace of mind out in remote areas. After seeking advice from a few mates on the build, they reckon they’re getting damn close to the big ‘off’ – so given that we love to encourage these types of things, enjoy the Drivetech 4X4 gear, guys! Also, we hear Simon cooks one of the best steaks around. So we want bargaining power up our sleeve if we come across them in the bush.
PETER’S MITSUBISHI CANTER
Peter calls this truck NTT, which stands for ‘No Time Table’. Straight away we can tell this bloke has his priorities sorted. The Canter has the older 3.9L turbo-diesel – the pre-common-rail engine, which Peter prefers for fuss-free Outback travel. And after visiting destinations such as Big Red, the Bungle Bungles (which Peter reckons made the Gibb River Road look like tarmac) and Lake Torrens to name a few, we tend to think he knows a thing or two about the subject.
He tells us that NTT is fully self-contained (needed as he free camps as much as possible) and Peter has fitted up a front locker, choosing to leave the rear LSD in place as it’s ‘bloody good’ apparently. There’s also a 3KV generator, 300W of solar, 110L of water and a full stove, oven, grill, toilet, shower and a hot water system on board. Interestingly, he tells us the front stone guard was fitted after a dumb 4X4 driver with a trailer overtook him off the road and kicked up a sizeable rock. A quick ‘heads up’ on the UHF wouldn’t have been difficult… some people’s kids, eh?
Probably the most impressive thing for us is the fuel economy with this tank. Peter tells us he gets 14.5-15L/100km, depending on how hard he pushes it. But still, a 1,200km range and a fully-appointed camper on the back; if that doesn’t make you want to hit the road I don’t know what will.
PAUL’S HOLDEN RODEO
Who said you need a highly-modded rig to tackle some serious Outback kays? Paul is proving that he can knock over some serious touring with just a couple of key accessories on his Rodeo. The only deviations from stock are the ARB winch bar, a set of Bridgestone Desert Duellers, upgraded shocks and a dual-battery system. That’s it. And on a recent 4,000km trip through the Flinders, Paul mentioned that the only problem was a cracked exhaust weld – not bad with 192,000km on the clock, we reckon.
Lugging his camper trailer behind him, Paul does admit that the petrol V6 gets a bit thirsty… but it’s nothing that can’t be planned around and there’s plenty of grunt on tap for towing duties. He reckons that the Rodeo was an underrated 4WD that was ahead of its time, and he didn’t see the need to go overboard or spend a heap of money on it beyond regular servicing and maintenance. Paul would rather just get out there and use it. Can’t disagree with that, mate. Good on you!
BEN’S GU PATROL
We get the impression that Ben doesn’t do things by halves. I mean, check out his beast of a GU that he’s built up to take the worst that the Vic High Country can throw at it; and given that it did the notorious Aeroplane and Cockpit tracks in Toolangi recently, in the wet no less, we’d say it works pretty well too.
It runs a 4in lift and 35in Nitto Mud Grapplers, which are enough to increase capability a fair bit on their own. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. A competition-spec rear tube bar was bolted on to the back of the frame, while a tube and plate front winch bar from AUS 4WD gives the pointy end a menacing and functional look.
Front and rear Harrop E-lockers more or less guarantee traction through the thick Toolangi clay and, with the looks and capability sorted, it was time to look after the grunt. Again, Ben went a bit mental. The TD42 turbo-diesel has had the wick turned up to eleven with the addition of a high-mount turbo manifold, intercooler with stainless piping and a 3in exhaust… and oh yeah, the turbo is pumping a mean 23psi through the intake after sucking air through the 4in stainless snorkel. Looks, capability and power. Ben’s GU is everything we wish we were.