FIRST-TIMER, ED­WIN TANG

4 x 4 Australia - - Gear -

ON A TRIP to a wreck­ing yard we met 24-year-old Ed­win Tang, who was load­ing an ARB bull­bar into the back of a 2000 V6-pow­ered Holden Fron­tera. Ed­win and his part­ner had de­cided a 4x4 was re­quired to sup­port their habits, so they cre­ated a wish list to keep them on bud­get. The rig had to be as cheap as pos­si­ble; have rea­son­able mileage; have strong af­ter­mar­ket sup­port; re­li­able; only have is­sues they could fix or were con­fi­dent in learn­ing how to fix; a man­ual; and dual range. The Holden Fron­tera met their cri­te­ria. It was less than $5000, had less than 120,000km on the clock, had 4WD and dual range; and it had a man­ual gear­box. They made an of­fer of $2000 that was ac­cepted.

With the rel­a­tively low mileage and no glar­ing me­chan­i­cal faults, the Fron­tera def­i­nitely had po­ten­tial. The cou­ple took the rig for its maiden voy­age to the Blue Moun­tains to get a feel for whether this new toy de­served the love and at­ten­tion Ed­win planned to lav­ish on it.

It was clear that some money needed to be spent to re­place the bald­ing tires and to deal with weary stock sus­pen­sion. Via a Face­book fo­rum, Ed­win found a Fron­tera that was be­ing pri­vately wrecked, so the pair se­cured re­place­ment pan­els, five 31x10.50 R15LT Dick Cepek tyres with rims, a two-inch lift kit (in­clud­ing the rear springs and shocks), and a snorkel – all for $1000.

When we met the duo at All Model 4x4 Spares, they had taken pos­ses­sion of their ‘new’ ARB bull­bar for $600 (less than half the new price). Ed­win told us he’d out­laid $3600 on the Fron­tera and its ac­ces­sories – plus con­sum­ables – which was well un­der his orig­i­nal $5000 bud­get. The sav­ings had al­lowed them to buy a brand new UHF ra­dio, a tyre com­pres­sor and light­ing up­grades for $600 – with coin to spare.

“For the price of much less than a pair of re­turn over­seas flights, it looks like we’ve ob­tained a ca­pa­ble and re­li­able ve­hi­cle for what we would like to use it for,” Ed­win said. “The next thing to do is to take it out for more drives, un­der­stand what needs im­prov­ing and get­ting to work on that.”

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