Off roading has come a long way in Pakistan. And I mean in all possible forms of the sport. We have dedicated rally-going vehicles. Dedicated hardcore vehicles. Poseur vehicles, that never really leave the road at all, unless it's to pull into a billion rupee farmhouse! We have Toyotas, Jeeps, Pajeros, Nissans, Unimogs, MUTTs, Ivecos, Pinzgauers,GMCs...in short; almost every imaginable ORV (off road vehicle) under the sun. Some intrepid builders are even building a fiberglass Hummer somewhere here!
Most of these vehicle, however, are "general use" vehicles, that dually act as daily drivers / weekend warriors, when the need arises. What we haven't seen, thus far, is a stripped-to-the-bones, high-performance trail rig emerge from the bowels of City Saddar Road. Something which, quite frankly, I find quite amazing.
Conceptually speaking, this shouldn't be a very difficult thing. After having learned much on the subject from rebuilding the Phantom (an FJ40; with a 1HZ engine, H150F transmission, Series 60 axle tubes, a 7:37 diff gear ratio, 42 inch tyres, and four doors), I've come to the conclusion that such a vehicle should NOT be a very difficult thing to build, at all. It should be an out-and-out off roader, with little/no creature comforts (we already have Willys and MUTTs and Unimogs, which are quite unadorned, that way)...it should boast incredible performance (engine, transmission, 4WD, differential locks, power steering, recovery systems)...should be capable of donning different wheels for its employment, in different avatars (tall/skinny for rallying/endurance/speed and thick/broad for traction and grip during hardcore wheeling).
Does such a vehicle require a body? I think not. Why shouldn't it have nothing but a tubular exo-skeleton / roll-cage built around the frame? Why should it need mudguards? Do we really have a requirement for any fancy electronics, other than those necessary for the engine management, lights, and winch etc? Must it be built around an expensive frame? Or could a simple, cheap, basic frame such as that of an M38 suffice? I've asked myself these questions, many a time, and for such a purpose-built rig, the answer has been pretty obvious, each time.
This thread, deals with the conceptual parameters of building such a radical ride. I'm going to jot down a few details that I have in mind...and I would love for the more knowledgeable amongst us, to step forward and add their opinion, advice, and criticism to the pot. I would also really appreciate it, if someone could also provide some feedback / input on the possible prices of the items I'm mentioning below. Some time, some day...one amongst us, will make this pipe-dream appear as reality, Insha Allah!
M38 frame and voucher (the cheapest that is available in the market)
Engine / Transmission Choices
1UZ-FE VVTi (300 bhp), mated to an H150F 5 speed manual transmission.
1FZ-FE Black Top (224 bhp), mated to an H150 5 speed manual transmission, or a 4 speed auto tranny.
2UZ-FE VVTi (271 bhp), mated to a 4/5 speed auto transmission.
Toyota Series 60 Axle Tubes, running 9:37 or 10:41 diff gear ratios, with electronic diff locks.
Nissan Patrol Axle Tubes, running 9:37 or 10:41 diff gear ratios, with electronic diff locks.
1 set each, of tall/skinny and fat/grippy tyres, in 33 inch and 38 inch avatars, respectively.
Power assisted, with a kanghi-type steering box.
Body Styling (& Miscellaneous)
None. It simply uses an arrangement of pipes bolted onto the frame as an exo-skeleton, which doubles as a roll-over cage as well. No mudguards, no wheel-wells, no body panels...in short; NOTHING which can encumber / hinder the mechanicals of the vehicle. Coilover springs (long travel). 4 wheel disc brakes. On board air, via a compressor. Steering stabilizers. Racing seats (with four point harnesses). A GPS. PERHAPS, a fold-down windscreen. PERHAPS a bikini top made out of vinyl / leatherite for wet weather.
In my mind's eye, I already have a fair idea of what this ride SHOULD look like. When I find a photo on the internet that comes close to what I believe it should be...I'll be sure to post it. In the meanwhile, if anyone would like to indulge their creativity / technical expertise with adding to this thread...please feel welcome.