The more you look at keen Christchurch 4WDer Nigel Collings’ late model Mit­subishi Pa­jero the more you see. NZ4WD magazine Ed­i­tor Ross MacKay has the story.


We’ve all heard ( in­deed, many of us have at times tried to live by) the old adage, ‘ do it once, do it right.’ All too of­ten, how­ever, ‘ life’ gets in the way. For most of us the prob­lems start early. We ei­ther start with the wrong ve­hi­cle then pro­ceed to throw money at it in the mis­taken be­lief we can some­how make it ‘right.’ Or run out of money/ time/ inspiration at the fi­nal hur­dle. Which is, of course, all part of life’s rich ta­pes­try. What if you’re not like that though? What if you have a nat­u­ral aver­sion to do­ing any­thing half-cocked, a burn­ing de­sire to... ‘ do things once and do them right,’ us­ing gen­uine parts, and the de­ter­mi­na­tion and where­withal to see any project through to its nat­u­ral con­clu­sion? What, for in­stance, if you were the own­ers of this im­mac­u­late and ab­so­lutely beau­ti­fully de­tailed and pre­pared SWB Mit­subishi Pa­jero; Nigel & Marie Colling. “Nigel came to us,” says the man be­hind the build, Scott New­ble of Op­po­site Lock NZ in Christchurch,” and said he wanted to – I sup­pose the best way of putting it is – ‘ fu­ture-proof’ his truck so that it was al­ways ‘ fit for pur­pose’. “You don’t see many late model SWB ones like theirs and though, ob­vi­ously, it is a fairly ca­pa­ble ve­hi­cle in stan­dard trim, Nigel and Marie love get­ting out into the High Coun­try down here, of­ten for days at a time, so my job if you like was to make it even bet­ter suited to that task.” To un­der­stand what a thor­ough job Scott has done, through care­ful plan­ning, you only have to stand in front of, or be­side the Pa­jero when Nigel has set up camp. To get a bet­ter pic­ture of the build as a whole, how­ever, we’ll start with it as it left the Op­po­site Lock work­shop. ‘Sub­tle’ is prob­a­bly the best word to de­scribe the end re­sult, de­spite a de­gree of mod­i­fi­ca­tion and/or per­son­al­i­sa­tion right up there with the ‘no stone left un­turned’ approach usu­ally only the pre­serve of ‘shop-builds’ in the US and Aussie mags. Ev­ery com­po­nent on this Pa­jero,

af­fec­tion­ately known as “Jero”, are gen­uine parts. Care­ful de­tailed re­search, plan­ning, anal­y­sis, and an ac­tion plan that pro­vided for a sav­ings pro­gramme to pay for the work, has al­lowed this work of art to be com­pleted the right way, by do­ing it right the first time. Start­ing at the front, an ECB Bull Bar ( pur­pose-built for the cur­rent NS model Pa­jero) re­places the stan­dard ABS bumper. Tucked in be­hind it is a KingOne TDS 9.5H winch plus a set of heavy duty re­cov­ery points. The ECB bar also pro­vides solid mount­ing points for a pair of ra­dio aeri­als, one for Nigel’s Uniden UHF5000 dig­i­tal UHF ra­dio sys­tem, with GME por­ta­ble hand held UHF ra­dios; and the other an aerial fre­quency tuner for the huge aerial that goes with his Co­dan HF Moun­tain Ra­dio. Nigel has ab­so­lutely no prob­lem call­ing up any­where in New Zealand or even Aus­tralia pos­si­bly, from the far­thest out­back lo­ca­tion in the coun­try, where mo­biles have long ceased func­tion­ing. You can tell that he is se­ri­ous about his comms by just look­ing at the ( in­creased) size of ev­ery­thing lead­ing off from the ceil­ing con­sole. The ECB Bull Bar is sup­ple­mented by ex­ten­sive body bash plates un­der­neath, plus un­der­sill bash pro­tec­tion for the in­ner pan­els which – hand­ily – dou­bles as a cen­tral jack­ing point. The ac­cent on pro­tect­ing the key me­chan­i­cals and body parts from dam­age con­tin­ues through to the back of the ve­hi­cle which fea­tures a set of rear re­cov­ery points, heavy-duty tow/re­cov­ery bar plus a de­tach­able KingOne TDS 9.5H rear winch, which has in­ci­den­tally, proven it­self to be an in­valu­able ad­di­tion in the back coun­try. There is also, ob­vi­ously, heavy duty power sup­ply hard wired in, both for the trailer hitch and rear winch, and ( not so

ob­vi­ously but it is there if your look) for a rear-mounted work light and ad­di­tional re­vers­ing light linked to re­verse in the auto trans, for any night time re­verse trav­els in the back coun­try, where it is al­ways help­ful to see what one is re­vers­ing into or at­tempt­ing not to! Yes, the Pa­jero has been lif ted ( 50mm) though the 17-inch di­am­e­ter al­loy wheels and Mickey Thomp­son ATZ Baja tyres tend to dis­guise the fact. As well as all the pro­tec­tion equipment, Scott has also paid par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to mak­ing sure the me­chan­i­cals re­main in tip top con­di­tion no matter where Nigel ven­tures. Nigel is fas­tid­i­ous in main­te­nance of his Jero, so it is cleaned and ser­viced af­ter ev­ery hard trip and so is reg­u­larly called the “shiney”. To as­sist on mon­i­tor­ing the trans­mis­sion side of things, he has fit­ted a trans­mis­sion oil cooler ( with tem­per­a­ture gauge in­side) and breathers to the diffs, the trans­mis­sion, trans­fer case and front winch. We can’t for­get the ad­di­tion of the oblig­a­tory gen­uine Sa­fari Snorkel or for that matter a de­cent light bar on the lead­ing edge the roof rack. Because room to carry and/ or store things in­side any SWB 4x4 is al­ways go­ing to limit what you can take with you, Nigel and Scott have used ev­ery trick in the book to op­ti­mise what space there is in­side and out­side the Pa­jero. In what was the rear hatch and rear seat space there are now both drawer and shelv­ing sys­tems com­plete with lock­able com­part­ments and safety cargo bar­rier. And on the roof is now a Rhino Rack roof rack, a tube for Nigel’s fish­ing rods, and a Rhino Rack fox wing awning. In ad­di­tion, the roof rack also car­ries a shovel car­rier with steel shovel, TRED’s re­cov­ery so­lu­tion, and a hi-lift jack with ground pad. The Rhino Rack fox wing awning ( and with it ground blan­ket, sides, poles, guy ropes and pins) pro­vides a par­tic­u­larly el­e­gant so­lu­tion to the chal­lenge of overnight­ing in the back blocks. If it is high sum­mer it can act as a sim­ple sun shade while you live and even sleep al fresco, while when the days get shorter and nights longer, you can keep the barn­style rear door ( side open­ing) open yet bat­ten down the hatches ( as it were) and use the com­pact tent space to both live and sleep in. Speak­ing of which, wher­ever he goes in it, Nigel’s Pa­jero is prob­a­bly one of the best/ most ‘con­nected’ 4x4s our some­times in­hos­pitable back coun­try has ever seen. This is one very ca­pa­ble ve­hi­cle, just suited to our back coun­try whether it be for back coun­try tour­ing or help­ing in civil emer­gen­cies or search and res­cue, as a com­mu­ni­ca­tions ra­dio re­lay point via the moun­tain ra­dio sys­tem or for a fish­ing or hunt­ing trip up some far-flung river val­ley. Travel in the back coun­try is about be­ing gen­uinely respectful of land own­ers in­ter­ests, so Nigel en­sures a lot of care and at­ten­tion to their hos­pi­tal­ity of al­low­ing one across their land in the first place is ab­so­lutely treated with the re­spect and grat­i­tude it de­serves. Start­ing with a pro­gram­mable solid-state iso­la­tor dual bat­tery sys­tem un­der the bon­net and a 1,000 watt in­verter in­side the cabin, the sys­tem Scott has come up with pro­vides a power sup­ply that not only sup­ports the winches and other on-board elec­tronic wiz­ardry, plus mul­ti­ple USB and cig­a­rette lighter-type power points through­out the cabin ( front and back) to cater for the huge power de­mands. By sig­nif­i­cantly boost­ing bat­tery power Scott has been able to pro­vide more than enough fire power for an in-car dash cam, GPS Map­ping sys­tem, both UHF and HF ( Moun­tain) ra­dio sys­tems, an on-board Op­po­site Lock re­frig­er­a­tor/ freezer, and to keep Nigel’s mo­bile phone charged! An op­tion ex­ists for a ceil­ing mounted drop down coach TV to re­play video footage from ei­ther the in-ve­hi­cle cam­era or hand held cam­eras of the days trav­els, if re­quired. Let’s not for­get about us­ing the in­verter to make that fresh cof­fee in the morn­ing, cook up some toast in the 800W toaster or the small 600W 12v elec­tric fry­pan that makes ba­con and eggs in the morn­ing a real dod­dle!! Sure it has cost him a pretty penny but by ‘ do­ing it once, and do­ing it right,’ Nigel has got ex­actly what he wanted and how he wanted and – in the­ory any­way – doesn’t have to spend a dol­lar more! It’s not about throw­ing money at this project as ev­ery ac­tion has been care­fully planned and or­ches­trated, thanks to Scott’s ex­pert knowl­edge and guid­ing wis­dom. The good news for the rest of us is that Nigel’s Pa­jero was specced and built by Scott New­ble at Op­po­site Lock, 47 Shake­speare Rd, Christchurch ( www. op­po­site­lock.nz). Ev­ery­thing in it is avail­able, all you have to do is get in touch and say, ‘ Mate, that was one hell of a Pa­jero build in the lat­est NZ4WD mag. How can you help me do some­thing sim­i­lar to my truck?”

In pro­file.

From this… pre-makeover shot of Pa­jero in the snow.

In use… at Red Hut, South Can­ter­bury.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.