The shape of things

Text: Danie Botha
Photography: Jannie Herbst

After visiting the Nissan Navara in the S&J Panelbeaters (LA Sport 4×4 Megastores’s preferred body shop) “hospital” a few weeks ago, we were initially left speechless at the sheer size of the Mickey Thompson tyres, and the bakkie’s new immensity. So when it was time for our next visit to the “patient”, we steeled ourselves.

Surely it could not make more of an impression than that first visit?

It did.

With the custom wheel arches in place, the snorkel fitted, and the bullbar modified to fit in with the wider front-end, the Navara is? jaw-droppingly imposing, even without its new coat of paint!

The bodyshop team will now focus on finishing all the modified surfaces and doing the final preparation before the bakkie goes for its new coat of paint. Custom LA Sport side-steps will also be added to the package.

Indeed, the Navara project is looking bigger and more imposing by the day!

But those big Mickey Thompson tyres and wheels sure do make a difference to the Navara picture. The 38-inch Baja MTZ 5269 tyre is designed for serious off-road use, especially for extreme mud conditions. Yet it is said to also provide good ride and handling on tarred surfaces.

The MTZ tyre features Mickey Thompson’s Power Ply sidewalls with a specially angled third ply to provide high performance handling, better puncture resistance, and improved towing ability.

Also part of the MTZ deal are deep shoulder lugs that are said to provide excellent traction and bold looks, while the enhanced Sidebiters design on the sidewalls provides even more traction in mud, as well as protection against punctures.

The 16×12 Mickey Thompson wheels are also as specialised as you get. These wheels were originally designed for the big Ford F-series bakkies, as found aplenty in the United States.

The Classic II wheels feature a highly-polished surface and are designed to handle the toughest load ratings.

Specialised LA Sport adaptor plates anchor the eight-stud Mickey Thompson wheels securely onto the Navara’s standard six-stud hubs.

The rims’ will be custom painted to fit in with the rest of the military green-and-black colour scheme.

We can’t wait to take the Navara to a rough-and-tough 4×4 track, once the bakkie is completed.

It should be unstoppable, and then some.

Next month we’ll tell you more about the custom body work that has been done, as well as the Navara’s new coat of paint.

But to loosely quote a television character of old: “we just love it when a plan comes together.”

Reader input
“When the standard Nissan Navara 2.5 dCi cruises at 120 km/h, the engine spins at about 2000 r/min in top gear, which is at its torque peak. With the big wheels, which are twice the size of the original items, this means that at 120 km/h the engine will be doing about 1000 r/min! And at its torque peak of 2000 r/min it should be doing about 240 km/h! And have a top end of about 350 km/h, which is impossible. I think that you are going to have to change the gearbox ratios.” – Bob Ross, via e-mail.

(We drove the Nissan Navara about 15km with those big wheels, and it ran without any problems. In fact, it easily outdragged a standard Toyota Hilux 3.0 D-4D! Once the body work is completed we will do that open road test, and determine if a change of gear ratios will indeed be necessary. But it is also important to note that this vehicle was not designed to be a long-distance cruiser. Instead it is an “ultimate 4×4” show vehicle. One that pays testimony to local customising expertise of companies such as LA Sport, and serves as a showcase for the best off-road gear, and the latest in aftermarket accessories. – The LW team)

Navara shopping basket (to date):
* 5x Mickey Thompson MTZ 5269 38-inch tyres (R4 930 each) R24 650
* 5x Mickey Thompson 16×12 rims (R2 680 each) R13 400
* 1x TJM Airtec Snorkel R4 750
* 1x TJM bullbar (custom unit) R10 995
* 1x LA Sport 60mm body lift R6 499
* 1x TJM suspension upgrade R15 300
* 1x LA Sport custom-made sump and engine guard R2 499
* 4x LA Sport custom-made PCD adaptor plates for wheels (R2 750 each) R11 000
* 1x Autostyle Motorsport Navara Angle Eye headlights R2 495
* 1x Autostyle Motorsport Navara LED taillights R1 995
Total (to date) R93 583*

*Excludes labour and fitment, which will be calculated once the project is completed)

Mickey Thompson: Keith Bateman; 011 670-8400; [email protected],

TJM: Louis van Niekerk; 012 335-5598, [email protected],

LA Sport (Gezina, Pretoria): Tinus Breitenbach; 012 329-4515, [email protected],

Autostyle Motorsport: Junaid Essop; 011 837-3506,

S&J Panelbeaters: Quinton Fourie; 012 546-1500