Driver: Evan (Rhino)
Navigator(s): Rick (GUQick)
Vehicle Name:
Rhino 2.5
Vehicle Type:
1988 Nissan Patrol GQ
Originally this 1988 Nissan Patrol (which belong to a nice little family which only ever used it for grocery shopping) was purchased as a touring vehicle to replace Evan's deceased 1986 2 litre turbo diesel Holden Jackaroo, which (to cut a long story short) was a complete heap of crap.

Within 3 months the fairytale took a sudden turn and the 'touring vehicle' concept abruptly transformed into the 'offroad race vehicle concept'. First came the custom from and rear bars, then the sliders, followed by the Simex 36"X12.5 ET2s, the warn 9.5XP winch, extended heavy duty rear control arms, quarter panel cut, 2" body lift, 2" Dobinson springs, Koni 2" adjustable shocks, Magellan FX324 GPS system, GME UHF, 6 point CAMS approved rollcage, plasma rope, front and rear ARB lockers, stainless 4" snorkel, Piranha electronic dizzy, and Hella twin reverse lights.

Six months on, and with the support of Lightforce Australia saw Evan (Driver) and Scott (Navigator) blindly enter their first comp (VicWinch2006). The experience was amazing and yet very dumbfounding at the same time. The vehicle competed on every single stage with no issue except the last stage of the event, where due to a bad choice in driving line, the vehicle ended up on its side.

Based on what was learnt at the first race, more modifications to make the vehicle more competitive were added - including 4 sets of Lightforce 170 Strikers and one set of 240s, a full modified 4.2 motor with modified compression, race pistons, mild cam, individual water jacket pipes, Garrett T3 turbo, Garret intercooler, TurboSmart external wastegate, TurboSmart blow off valve, TurboSmart internal cab boost control, gas research 440 carbie with twin converters, race harnesses, Autometer gauges, 3 gel filled marine batteries, spilt system electricals running both 24 and 12 volt, adjustable panhard arms, ICE ignition and coil system, 3.5" exhaust and a modified 3" inlet and outlet Toyota 80 series airbox. The vehicle was Dyno tuned at this stage and has a reading of 228 rwkws, over 1700Nm and has been recorded completing the quarter mile at Calder Park Raceway in 14.8 seconds - fully loaded with hi-lift jack, spare wheel and tool boxes.

By this stage a few more smaller competitions were entered to teeth the vehicle, by about which time the second major comp (VicWinch 2007) was entered, afterwhich the vehicle went into modification mod to fix and sort out all the damage. Since then the vehicle has received a new Nissan Patrol GU steering box, custom chromolie steering arms, race seats, laminated diffs, sports steering wheel, laminated chassis, laminated body mounts, hydraulic Fox bump stops, 3" King springs, 2.5" body lift, 4" Koni shocks, extended shock tower mounts, secondary gas tank, twin gas lines with cross over bleeder, Autometer shift light, twin ARB compressors and twin map lights.

  Driver: Cameron (BigCam)
Vehicle Type:
Toyota Bundy

After pushing around an old 3f (under) powered 60 series called Dumbo, Cam decided it was time to upgrade to something more suited for the type of wheeling he wanted to tackle.

So the criteria were set, it must be SWB, diesel, coil sprung and cheap. A month or so of searching and some fierce negotiations saw the little blue Bundy change hands for just shy of 3 thousand. Considering an alleged rebuilt motor amongst other things and a folder of receipts totalling 12 grand, it was a steal!

After getting the vehicle home, the work started. A set of stock 80 series front springs lifted the front 3.5" and heavy duty 80 series front springs brought the bum up to the same (with some help from a ¾" spacer to compensate for the driver). Additionally 80 series shocks were utilised to dampen each corner with one being modified from eye - pin to eye - eye to suit the odd rear configuration of the bundys.

With the bundy now flexing (as much as you can flex a bundy anyway) the 'all clear' from the Minister for War and Finance (the wife, for all of you non-married people out there) was given to get lockers. Two second hand ARB air lockers were quiet easily found on eBay and fitted. Initially there were some teething issues with an excessively worn seal housing, but have since have been "psssht'ing" happily ever since. The attachment of a set of 32x10.5x15 simex pedes tyres on reverse offset rockcrawler rims now sees the power transfered to the ground while keeping the road manners in check.

With the traction sorted it was time to look at squeezing a few more of Newton's finest out of the little 2.4 litre. A custom 2.5" mandrel bent exhaust was welded up and an rx7 cooler grafted onto the top of the engine. The obligatory GU scoop added to the bonnet along with a boost activated thermo fan on the top. The power difference wasn't particularly noticeable but the turbo whistle through the exhaust is sensational!

Doing all the work himself and picking up parts and accessories as they come up cheap second-hand, Cam's little truck is built on a budget but still tackles anything you can throw at it, it might not be that fast but it gets there in the end.

  Driver: LUke (Evil666)
Vehicle Type:
1985 Toyota Hilux

Luke (Evil666) originally purchased a stock standard 1985 2.4 diesel Hilux cab Hilux, factory white with stock suspension and tires. Nearly as soon as getting it home he started adding extras to it: 2'' lift kit, 2'' drop shackles and 33''x11.5'' muddies.

Noticing the front springs were being damaged by the shackle sitting nearly vertical, Luke purchased a second hand set of rear springs and started on a "rears up front" (RUF) conversion. This corrected the shackle angle, moved the front diff forward 40mm and required a lengthened tailshaft - custom manufactured by Hard Spicer Driveline. Completing the conversion were a new set of Pedder's Track Ryder 9500 Foam Gel shocks.

Shortly after there were some problems with the air locker as fitted to the vehicle when purchased, so booking it into a diff centre. It was replaced with a TJM Pro Air Locker. A custom front bar was built By Gerg Smith at Smithies Outback Gear.

Luke was extremely happy with his 4wd, but after having it only four months the dual cab suffered a roll over, crushing in the A and B pillars and destroying nearly every panel.

The re-build started by striping the dual cab to the chassis, and purchasing a 1985 extra cab Hilux. The extra cab body was removed and fitted to the dual cab chassis and Luke decided on a custom bright orange paint job.

After eight months of re-building, paintwork and manufacturing a custom tray Luke reckons it turned out better than originally planned. To celebrate the re-build, Luke - who prefers rocks to mud - headed off to tackle some of the rocky tracks Gembrook Park. With competitions including Nav Runs and Vic Winch in mind, Luke has plans to soon fit a 4-point roll cage and re-manufacture the front bar to suit a winch..

  Driver: Tom Puts
Vehicle Type:
1996 Toyota Hilux

Originaly purchased as a stock standard vehicle, Tom's (Putsy) 1996 2.8 litre Diesel Dual Cab Hilux came with all the optional extras, including the ever popular saging front leaf springs and dented bull bar.

After owning it for a couple of months, and discovering time and time again that the standard springs just wouldn't cut it, Tom invested in a set of 3" EFS suspension lift. After just a few more weeks, he further added a 2 inch body lift to really juice up the vehicle's offroading ability.
Then one afternoon after leaving work he figured that his super special split rims were pointless (not to mention an eye sore), so out came the wallet again and some 33" x 12.5" mud tyres on new shinny rims were purchased for the extra grip and style.

After a heart in mouth moment up at the Glass House Mountains in Queensland, he opted for a new TJM snorkel to ensure his engine remained dry in the ever increasing sloppy conditions he enjoyed driving in (not to mention the regular beach work), and also removed the flooring and replaced it with marine carpet to ensure that no rot would not set in.

Having the external image now up to scratch, Tom opted for some internal modifications, in particular a set of snug fitting sport seats to increase his cornering ability.

Tom intends to install further mods in time, but the ones that will be coming first will include a front air locker, a custm made race front bar, a full 6 point roll cage, and a small competition style tray.

Though Tom has completed most of the work on the vehicle himself, he would like to acknpowledge the assistance provided to him by his mates Dave (Brick layer) Aaron and Tyrone.

  Driver: Paul Crichton
Vehicle Type:
1996 GQ Patrol

Paul spotted the stock Patrol in a used-car yard whilst looking at a cheaper older model to raid for parts. After researching the vehicle's history he discovered it came from Queensland and was originally a company car that was purchased by a lady who moved to Victoria. Once purchased, the vehicle was transported to Smithies workshop to begin its transformation.

Three inch Ridepro coils, Ridepro big bore shocks and 2" body spacers were installed to allow the introduction of 35" tyres. Fitting these longer coils meant that additional components were required to ensure that the necessary suspension travel and steering geometry were maintained. Adjustable Panhard rods were fitted to allow the diffs to remain central to both wheel arches, the front and rear sway bars were removed. A common mistake in lifted trucks with solid front axles is that when the front diff is 'twisted' to allow for steeper tail-shaft angles, the castor is reduced. To rectify this 3 degree caster correction bushes replaced the standard Nissan ones along with 10mm spacers in the radius arms.

Next the standard front and rear diffs were removed and replaced with diffs from a 2.8 litre diesel Patrol. The reason for this transplant was that the stock TB 4.2 came with 3.9 centres, whilst the 2.8 diesel models have 4.6 diff centres which give much better crawling ability and places the power to the ground quickly. Front and rear ARB lockers were fitted, as well as new lower trailing arms with new bushes to replace the flimsy standard Nissan arms.

The existing ARB steel winch bar was lifted 50mm to match the new height of the vehicle's lifted body. Greg Smith then engineered a custom made centre cradle from 10mm steel to house the Warn High Mount winch that is fitted with 30m of dynamic synthetic rope.

A set of Narva Taurus Bull Lamps adorn the top of the bar with a set of Nite Stalkers in the centre to take care of the darkness. An external GPS aerial is also mounted to the bar. All four guards have been trimmed to allow the 35" tyres to fit neatly. The rear quarter panels have also been chopped off. Paul has also fabricated his own rear bar out of 50mm seamless tube.

The interior of the vehicle remains reasonably stock except for the additional gauges kindly donated as sponsorship by Speco Thomas, a Magellan FX324 GPS system, and a laptop loaded with OziExplorer for naviagtional events. The winch has been hard wired into the centre dash within easy reach as well as all lighting and battery controls. Two fire extinguishers, supplied by Wormald, have been bolted at the feet of both he driver and navigator. Racing seats were added but later removed because they increased the ride height of the driver (being that Paul stands at over 6'4", this did not leave enough room for the noggin).

Future modifications include a 6 Point CAMS approved roll cage, sliders, additional lighting and diff lamination.

  Driver: Lisa (Humpys)
Vehicle Type:
Ford Maverick, 1989, 4.2 litre

Lisa purchased her dirty black Maverick in September 2005 privately from a guy in Bundoora (Victoria) that had used it for the occasional offroad trip, but mainly for towing his boat - thus the underside was a little rusty, but being black and already on 33's with a 2" suspension lift, Lisa heeded all warnings and proudly became the new owner.

As Lisa had never really driven a 4wd before, this was to be a big learning curve - fortunately for her she had her cousin Paul, Bart (HJ60) and the other 'usual crew' to teach her. Despite being at university and working, she made the time every weekend to go wheeling with BushTuckerNed, HJ60, PJ Zook and Tom_286, to name but a few. They wheeled such places as Mount Disappointment, Toolangi and Tallarook. She soon got the hang of it and wanted more for her truck.

Humpys Maverick had already come with the suspension lift, 33's and rear factory locker - so over the next two years set about getting the vehicle's guards and rear quarters chopped to fit 35's, a 2" body lift, a new 'doof doof' stereo, 35" Simex ET2's (best purchase so far), a winch bar and low mount winch, custom air box, stainless 4" snorkel to keep the big TB42 breathing easy, Cheezy rear bar and sliders, four Narva spotlights on the front and a widdle baby reverse light, new shocks and of course some tint to pimp it up a bit!!

It must be said that Lisa has received a lot of help with creating her car and getting it to this point, thanks to the lovely forumites that are always so willing and able to help. She says that 'if it wasn't for them, the vehicle would still be a stock standard little black Mav as the funds would not have allowed for all these lovely mods'. So Lisa would like to especially thank; Scott, Bart, Greg, Rhys, Steve, PJ, Dean and Vince for all their help with her much loved Mav.

So then what is to come? Hmmm well being realistic; extractors and bead locks would be the next priorities and being unrealistic, otherwise know as hopeful, would have to be; a 6 point roll cage, front air locker and of course a v8 to keep up with all the boys.

  Driver: Murry (Muzza)
Vehicle Type:
Toyota Hilux, 1992, 5 litre

It all started in 2005 on mothers day with the purchase of their first 4wd - a stock 92 model single cab Hilux, to follow in their father's footsteps, who in his own time was the President of their local 4wd club.

The initial intention was to purchase a daily driver, and put away the Holden Commodore, but as is the story with most 4wders, the addiction to 4wding and modification didn't take long to kick in. First came the 2 inch body lift, which for the guys was an exciting opportunity to fit their uncle's 32 inch Wranglers. In time they discovered that their vehicle couldn't compete against their friend's vehicles that featured much larger tyres and engines, so the modifications continued. Next came the 35 inch tyres, a new set of 2 inch custom springs from Browns Spring Works in Thomastown, Snake racing 2 inch shackles on the front, and some custom made extended shackles - this ensured there would be limited scrapping and rubbing.

As the lift went in, they found out that more money had to be spent on new drop draglinks, adjustable diff locaters, and torque rods for the front. Fortunately they were able to purchase a some off of Ebay cheap, and were soon added. Next came a new set of 35 inch Silverstone MT117 tyres from Jack's Quick Fit in Epping, with some shiny new Mangal 16 inch off set rims.

After only a few short trips they started to find the standard clagged old 2.8lt diesel engine wasn't holding up too well with the larger tyres, and decided it was time to purchase a new engine. The big question at this stage was deciding if they should just rebuild the motor, buy a reconditioned motor, or slap a V8 in. After some investigation it was discovered that reconditioning the 2.8 motor would cost around $3500, and then a little more for new components. By this stage the whole V8 concept was really looking good, especially considering they had a burning desire to own a vehicle with a V8 - so the hunt for an appropriate V8 motor was on.

After a couple of months of searching, they managed to stumble across a decent Holden VN Berlina for only $2000 - even better still, the vehicle was only a few houses down from their own which made transportation a breeze. As it turned out, the vehicle was in immaculate condition because the owner serviced it religiously every 10,000 kilometres. Tearing apart such a well maintained vehicle was a sad experience, but necessary none the less. So out came the old 2.8 motor, which was later sold to a person in New South Wales for a whopping $1000 - a great sale considering it was completely dead.

Then the hard work started. After a few trips down to Marks Adaptors, and with the help of their father (a mechanic) and brother (a welder and fabricator), there wasn't much they couldn't do themselves. In total it took about 4 months for the engine conversion to be completed.

The Lux now runs a Holden injected 5.0L and a modified Turbo 700 transmission (Race Shift) with 35 inch tyres and a 6 inch lift, and is ready for its racing life to begin. As a try out, the Lux was entered into the 2007 Muddakhana event, which was used to teeth any small issues before big any events.

Intended future modifications include: Rock sliders, new tray, front tube bar for the high mount winch, rear low mount winch, internal cage, front and rear air locker, laminated diffs - and as we all know - the list goes on.


Driver: Daniel (Haggis)
Vehicle Type:
Toyota Hilux, 1990

Haggis originally purchased his 1990 model Toyota Hilux from one of the locals in the Sunbury area to utilise in his pursuit of experiencing the great out doors. At that stage it was a stock as the day it was manufactured.

Within the first 3 days he narrowly missed rolling the vehicle onto its roof due to his inexperience at offroading, and soon after on his first real long distance trip - which fortunately for him was completed with no fatal incidences - he discovered that the vehicle lacked clearance, handling, traction and the ability to swim under water.

In order to rectify these problems, Haggis purchased a new set of 285/75r16 Cooper Discovery STTs on sunraiser rims for a the ridiculously small amount of $900 for the complete set. Unfortunately as he discovered, they did not fit his vehicle, which lead him to his next modification - a suspension lift.

For a while nothing much happened to the vehicle, but after a touch of luck with Mr Taxman, and a hefty payout for his accumulated holiday leave and RDOs, the modifications once again were underway. First came the heavy duty TJM bulbar, followed by an upgrade on the existing suspension with replacement Ironman gear, a 2" suspension lift, a Safari snorkel, a GME UHF radio, an Ironman winch, all the other little bits and pieces that make up a reliable recovery kit, and some other little bits and pieces, and he was again underway. In order to save some money for future modifications, he opted to install all the items himself, with the help of a few friends. With the savings, he invested in a complete set of bran new lockers, which he quickly tested out on yet another High Country trip.

When asked what his future plans were, Haggis exclaimed that his list was long, but unfortunately for now his wallet was dry...


Driver: Joe (GU BUG)
Vehicle Type: Nissan Patrol, 1999 GU (DX)

Having previously owned a Toyota 4-Runner, then a Toyota Hilux, as well as GU diesel wagon, Joe was in need of a 4wd that could serve his day to day needs as a tradesman, as well being able to keep up with his weekend passion of offroading.The answer was simple…he sold his trusty GU wagon, and bought himself a 1999 GU turbo diesel (DX) ute with more storage space for tools, equipment and of course - camping gear. Additionally, having less panels meant less possibility of causing damage to the vehicle on those weekend trips out with the boys.

When first purchased, the ute came with a few optional extras, including a bullbar, Warn XP 9500 6hp winch, factory snorkel, spotlights, mud tyres, and a customised rear tray that featured a couple of handy accessories - such as dual Kinchrome toolboxes for storing tools during the week, and recovery gear on the weekends, as well as 2 TJM jerry can holders snugly tucked away behind the toolboxes. The vehicle was also fitted with dual diesel tanks that held about 180 litres.

Within a week of owning the vehicle the original modifications had almost doubled to include 2 LightForce XGT spot lights mounted on the bullbar, 4 forward pointing Bosch Compass satellites mounted to the rear rollbar, and 2 Narva driving lamps also mounted to the rear bar pointing backward to assist in setting up camp or reversing on those night drives. After some additional thought, Joe also mounted 4 spotlights directly under the bullbar and rear tray pointing at the ground for picking more accurate wheel placement during night drivers.

For obvious reasons Joe found he had an overly increasing demand on his electrical system, so he opted to install a secondary battery. After some consideration and several recommendations from close offroad friends, he opted for a yellow Optima battery that featured both a deep cycle and high output cranking feature. Additionally he installed a Piranha dual battery isolator system to ensure each battery served a dedicated purpose.

Next came the Icom I-C400 Pro UHF radio, a Bush Ranger Max-air compressor that sits behind the passenger seat with an alloy air tank, an Engel fridge, a Hella map light, InCab winch controls, a new Kenwood stereo, and to complete the set up, and 8 way Piranha fuse box for a neat finish to the many wires that run through the engine bay.

Next came the 35" Mickey Thompson MTZ mud tyres, and with them came the need for an all round suspension lift consisting of Koni shock absorbers and 4" Dobinson springs (a fantastic combination), adjustable panhard arms for both front and back from 3rds productions, castor correction plates on the front, a pair of 30mm coils spacers in the rear to stop the vehicle from sagging when carrying heavy machinery and tools, custom made side rock sliders, and finally some heavy duty lower control arms to take the punishment delivered whilst sliding over rocks.

To increase the power output - which was much required after installing all the extra weight and larger tyres, a custom 3" exhaust was built and installed, the turbo was boosted to 14 psi, and the injector pump was advanced. These changes didn't turn the vehicle into a raging power house, but did provide a respectable and usable power increase.


Driver: William (ShortyMQ)
Vehicle Type: Nissan Patrol, 1982 MQ

William received his first 4wd, a Nissan/Datsun Patrol MQ (successor to Nissan's G60 square box), as a present from his family in 2006 as a vehicle for travelling to and from school which was over 100kms away from his home.

Of course, as is the case in most instances, it didn't take William too long to discover that offroad driving on the Sand dunes of Cronulla (Western Australia) was a lot more rewarding than driving back and forth on tarmac.In time the modifications started - firstly with the rear tow bar being removed to increase departure angle, followed by the side steps that were beginning to look a little haggard, then the front bumper was replaced with an ARB bulbar for piece of mind.

After relocating to Melbourne in 2007 and meeting other like minded 4wders on various forums, William soon begun travelling to numerous places that offered a variety of terrain. It didn't take him long to discover that unlike the sand dunes of his home town, Victorian bushland was not well suited for 31" all terrain tyres - so next came the 33' Maxxis Bighorns. Months went on and the modifications continued. Soon the MQ was running 10'' thermal fans, cut quarter panels allowing for better wheel flexibility, new 4.88 ratio differentials, extended shackles, a four point roll cage, a UHF radio, overhead roof consol, and a new Sony Explode CD player with surround sound speakers.

William intends to keep modifying the MQ until it suits his style and needs. He intends to fit a 2'' body lift, 35'' Simex Extreme Trekker tyres and some race seats in the near future, maybe even replace the existing motor with something a lot more powerful.


Driver: Joe (Big Ears)
Vehicle Type: Nissan Patrol, 1996 GQ (RX)
Joe originally bought his stock vehicle in 2005 with the intention of using it purely for work and daily driving, but 3 short weeks later, the modifications began. First came the larger tyres (a set of 35" Maxxis Bighorns), as is the case with most buildups. Then of course came the customary 3 inch suspension lift (ridepros and ome suspension in the front, and koni adjustable in the back) to fit the larger tyres. This was followed by a 2 inch body lift for good measure, heavy duty rear trailing arms, adjustable panhard arms and a Cheezy drag link.For a long time afterward, nothing much really happened. The vehicle just sat there, the modifications went cold.

Several months later, Joe suddenly felt a burning desire to finish what he had started - though at the time he didn't realise that once you start modifying, there really is no finish, there is only one more thing, or one more adjustment, or one more modification.Since that day, both Joe's driving technique, and the vehicle's long list of modifications haven't stopped growing. A 6 point roll cage with harnesses was bolted into the floor and welded into the A and B pillars; a Cheezy competition bar was fitted to the front sporting a Warn high mount winch (later upgraded to a 6hp motor for that extra 'boogie'), 10mm plasma rope; and a slick set of Smoothy side sliders were tacked on for additional side protection.

By this stage the old 35 inch Maxxis Bighorns were looking a little worse for wear, so a set of 36 inch Simex Extreme Trekkers on bead locked rims were purchased to replace them. Again, fitting these oversized tractor tyres required that the front and rear guards to be chopped. The back quarter panel and bumper set up was also completely removed. Next came the ARB front and rear lockers, front differential lamination, as well as dual shocks on the front to reduce the vehicle's bounce when hitting potholes at high speeds.

It was only a matter of time before Joe started looking at the stock 4.2 litre EFI motor and wondering if he could somehow get more power out of it than the standard 76kws. The answer of course came to him in the form of a T3 turbo, bigger injectors, a larger fuel pump, intercooler, after market ECU, a 3 inch Mandel exhaust, Microtec computer, fuel regulator, oil catch can, blow off valve, and a 4" snorkel. Through a lot of playing around, and an 8 pound boost running through his turbo, he completed his design early in February 2007 and was able to pull out a remarkable 180+ kws at the back tyres.