motoring - Rough and Tumble

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If ever Mad Max decided to ditch the Ford Interceptor and opt for a four-wheel-drive, then one of these three fully customised off-roaders would withstand his punishment.


Full Metal Jacket

The movies keep telling us the zombie apocalypse is coming. When it does, the Full Metal Jacket from Starwood Jeeps will be the machine to get you through. Riveted panelling, matt black finish, blindingly bright LED bars, and suspension components visible from space  this is certainly a hardcore machine.

It runs the standard 3.6-litre V6 from a Jeep Wranger, so it’ll do 0100kph in 8.4 seconds. But while standard SUVs would need to pull over and let their tyres down to head into the dunes, the Full Metal Jacket never flinches, conquering boggy conditions and asking Is that all you’ve got?

Priced at US$106,888, dune-hopping has never been taken so literally.

Bowler Defender 90

Bowler has been modifying Land Rovers for years, and continually provides explosive action for those who choose to get behind the wheel. Want to scare yourself? Try driving the Bowler EXR on a gravel road.

Bowler turned its hand to the everlasting Defender recently, forming the Defender Challenge, a one-make, seven-round rally series to give entrants a foot in the door for rally raid competitions like the Dakar, Africa Race, and Australian Safari.

Using the short-wheel-based Defender 90, the Bowler Defender receives a full MSA/FIA-certified roll cage, fire extinguisher system, racing seats and harnesses, lightweight wheels, comprehensive racing suspension set-up, and an engine tune which brings it up to 175hp and a healthy 450Nm of torque. While the cost of US$81,825 plus US$24,550 per year for servicing makes it something you’ll need to be fairly dedicated to, the Defender Challenge will be limited to 15 cars, meaning plenty of opportunity to outdrive the competition. If you want to sharpen your off-roading skills (or test your endurance), this’ll be the series for you.

Filson Aev Brute Double Cab

Like the Full Metal Jacket, the Filson AEV Brute Double Cab is based on a Jeep Wrangler. But that’s where the similarities end.

A collaboration between American Expedition Vehicles and outdoor-clothing company Filson, the Brute features go-anywhere-build courtesy of AEV and interior trim made from Filson fabrics and leathers. Under the bonnet is a massive 6.4-litre HEMI V8 which makes a huge 475bhp, and an unholy soundtrack to match.

With 35'' BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tyres and 3.5'' Dualsport SC Suspension System you should never get stuck, but if you need to help someone else out, a 9,500lb WARN Winch will drag even the QEII out of a sinkhole. But nestle in the soft seats and choose the optional matching luggage and suddenly you have a luxurious side to this bush-bashing beast. Its a vehicle of contrasts and that makes it all the more endearing. It’ll set you back US$130,000, but you’ll want for nothing. Except a good destination.

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