AP­PROACH AN­GLE

4WDrive - - Contents - Words by Budd Stan­ley, Photos by Suzuki and Toy­ota

If you are any­thing like me, you likely have one too many projects on the go. I for one am a vic­tim of my own pas­sions; I’m al­ways think­ing two projects ahead, whether it be ve­hi­cles I want to build or ad­ven­tures I want to un­der­take. There just isn’t enough time in this life­time.

As edi­tor Irons con­stantly tells me, “stop think­ing about what’s next, you have a Suzuki that needs all your time now.” Wise words from the off-road­ing prophet, even if he is a pot call­ing the ket­tle black, Project Cany­onero still lan­guishes in his drive­way.

How­ever, when it comes to my next build, I’m torn be­tween two very dif­fer­ent eras – the past and the fu­ture. Now, I’ve be­come a bit known for hat­ing on tech­nol­ogy, rant­ing how high tech is wa­ter­ing down the en­thu­si­ast ve­hi­cles. The truth is I’m not to­tally against tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments mak­ing their way into the ve­hi­cles I drive, I only wish for them not to de­tract from the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

One of the big­gest evo­lu­tions com­ing to the 4WD life­style, in my opin­ion, is al­ter­na­tive drive. Us­ing elec­tric mo­tors to spin the wheels, rather an in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine has very real ben­e­fits to an off-roader, which we will delve into with much more de­tail later in this is­sue. While the ad­vance­ments in energy gath­er­ing or stor­age are not quite at the level re­quired to make an elec­tric 4WD vi­able to reach great dis­tances into the wilder­ness, we are get­ting close. How cool would it be to build an elec­tric-pow­ered 4WD to get at least a day trip from? Am I the only one that thinks this way?

On the other hand, I love old ve­hi­cles. Not only do they ex­ude a char­ac­ter that no ve­hi­cle de­signed today can match, they are sim­ple, easy to work on, re­quire very few tools and make lovely noises from the won­ders of in­ter­nal com­bus­tion. That be­ing said, old ve­hi­cles can also be un­re­li­able, un­safe and catch on fire at in­op­por­tune mo­ments (not that there is an op­por­tune mo­ment to start burn­ing).

Re­gard­less, my heart still yearns for a Toy­ota 40-Se­ries Land Cruiser. I’ve driven two in my life­time, and each time I climbed be­hind the wheel, it was as though these 4WDs were built for me. They seem to fit just right.

While I’ve gained a rep­u­ta­tion for rant­ing against tech­nol­ogy, I’m equally pas­sion­ate about sav­ing older 4WDs that are no longer in pro­duc­tion. They will never build an­other 40-Se­ries, flat fender Jeep, Bronco, Scout or Se­ries Land Rover. What we have now is all we get, and it is up to us to pre­serve and keep these fan­tas­tic old ve­hi­cles run­ning for as long as pos­si­ble.

So, which way do I go? Do I push into new fu­tur­is­tic ter­ri­tory, or try to rekin­dle the past? Oh right, there is a Samu­rai in desperate need of an axle re­build… we’ll bring this up later.

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