Love at first test — but is it for you?

Liam Bell tries out a Suzuki Jimny pickup con­ver­sion and finds it to be a top-notch all-round shoot ve­hi­cle

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - ON TEST -

When wheat was fed out of GPO bags and keep­ers drove old Post Of­fice vans, the world — and game­keep­ers — worked at a much slower pace. We had time to look around us and ar­guably, game­keep­ers were far more in touch with their beats. Ev­ery­thing was car­ried by hand, al­most ev­ery hill was walked up and most of us were far fit­ter than we are now.

That said, most re­tired keep­ers had bad knees, worn-out hips and suf­fered from arthri­tis.

It is easy to look back on those days through rose-coloured glasses, but I for one am glad things have moved on and that we have 4x4s, all-ter­rain ve­hi­cles and util­ity ve­hi­cles to do a lot of the work for us and save the back and the knees.

My first shoot ve­hi­cle was a mo­tor­bike; fol­lowed by a three- wheeled scram­bler-type death trap; a Land Rover, sev­eral dif­fer­ent pick­ups and, of course, var­i­ous makes of quad bike and a cou­ple of UTVS.

Now there is some­thing newer on the market — the Suzuki Jimny pickup. And I was lent one for a week by David John­son of Shrop­shire Quads.

David started to look for an al­ter­na­tive to the cur­rent range of UTVS be­cause he and his me­chan­ics were fed up with car­ry­ing out re­peat war­ranty work on new ma­chines that weren’t up to the job.

Im­ports

He thought the Suzuki Jimny would be ideal for con­ver­sion and set about look­ing for parts. An in­ter­net search found that there was al­ready a sup­plier of Jimny pick­ups in Aus­tria. He spoke to them and man­aged to track down the maker and seller of the con­ver­sion kits. Af­ter agree­ing trad­ing terms, he started im­port­ing the parts and con­vert­ing his own.

The Jimny he dropped off looked the part but, in a strange way, looked less ap­peal­ing than the pho­tos of a friend’s I had seen on so­cial me­dia. He has had his for a cou­ple of months and is hugely im­pressed with it.

It had au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, air-con­di­tion­ing and a full leather in­te­rior — far more lux­u­ri­ous than both my cur­rent UTV and pickup. The amount of work and qual­ity of build that had gone into the con­ver­sion were ob­vi­ous. The con­ver­sion kit fit­ted per­fectly. It was pro­fes­sion­ally done; what an­other friend would de­scribe as a real Roll­sroyce job. The V5 log book had, of course, been al­tered with the DVLA.

The cab was as ex­pected; small but with enough room to put your gun or lamp, spare coats and other items, be­hind the seats.

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