In preparation for our June the Leisure Wheels team has one of those months. Our intrepid team members took in the bohemian Afrika-Burn festival in the Karoo, and got all la-di-da and environmentally friendly in the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine.
They cruised to laid-back Mozambique with the new Toyota Fortuner, and travelled to Klerksdorp to meet a 42-year-old Toyota Land Cruiser that came all the way from the land of Oz. Gerhard Horn even hopped on a jetliner and flew to Italy to drive the Fiat Fullback Double Cab bakkie.
However, the cherry on top of the ‘adventure’ cake must go to our digital content manager Elise Kirsten. She jumped out of a perfectly serviceable airplane, had a dip in the ocean with great white sharks, swanned around in a motorcycle sidecar and indulged in a dab of coasteering (apparently just a good excuse to jump off very large rocks in the sea).
While the Leisure Wheels lads and lady took in some amazing places and experiences, I’ve been spending some quality time with product brochures, meeting with suppliers, phoning contacts about wheels and paint colours, doing test fittings and sorting out a minor fitment crisis here and there. And I loved every minute of it.
In May we had no less than four project cars to deal with: the two Kia vehicles for the Nampo show in the Free State, and our own Land Rover 109 and Mitsubishi Pajero. The Kia project posed some unique challenges. We had very little time to complete the project and, as we found out, there are not really over-the-counter overland or lifestyle options available for these Korean vehicles. So roof- rack supplier Front Runner had to develop an aluminium system from scratch, specifically for the Sorento.
Another project car challenge is Deziree, the Landy. Since she hails from 1971, you can’t just walk into any suspension shop and acquire the hardware over the counter. So her new Old Man Emu suspension is on special order from Australia, and will take several weeks to arrive. Maybe I’m a sucker for punishment, because it is actually quite a time-consuming process with plenty of pitfalls, but I really love putting the project cars together. It’s like a two-ton puzzle that you have to make work, getting all the elements to gel together. Sometimes it works better than other times, but in the end it’s lots of fun.
Text: Danie Botha