Lionel Lewis has been busy during the last few months setting up a supply chain for a brand-new range of LA Sport LAS-branded products. And now he’s ready to share these developments with 4×4 enthusiasts.
As work on our Project Tunland by LA Sport progressed, we mentioned that the company’s Lionel Lewis was busy setting up new suppliers to expand its range of aftermarket products.
For instance, the company has become suppliers of Gabriel shocks, and our Tunland has been fitted with a set of Gabriel Safari HDP gas shocks (issue 121, page 41).
Well, as it turns out, Lionel has been far busier than we thought. In fact, he has established an operation that will provide LA Sport with its own brand of LAS-branded products.
Although there are more products to come, three of them are already available – a suspension set-up, a bull bar and leaf springs for bakkies.
LAS PROFENDER SUSPENSION
The new LAS Profender suspensions are constructed in Thailand. Lionel spent a lot of time searching for a supplier that could create suspensions to LA Sport’s specifications, while ensuring the highest level of quality.
“The factory I identified creates suspensions for different brands, and I was impressed by the quality of their products,” says Lionel. “And they were open to our suggestions, really taking our input to heart.”
The suspension systems will be branded as LAS Profender suspensions, and will be 100% owned by LA Sport.
These are nitrogen shocks with a 40mm bore and a 20mm shaft. Features include a seamless eye ring that reduces failure from vibration, a rod guide designed to eliminate unwanted friction, and a dust cover made of silicon, steel and plastic PVC to keep dirt out. It also has a multi-seal lip to stop oil from leaking out and prevent dirt and grime from getting in, and an internal” bumper stop” that prevents over-extension.
“These are great shocks,” says Lionel. “We have no doubt that they are some of the toughest and most durable shocks on the market, which is why we will be offering a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty – something that few manufacturers offer. This shows how much confidence we have in the product.”
LAS BULL BAR
Like the LAS Profender suspension, the LAS bull bars will be built in Thailand. However, the bull bar designs for the different vehicles will be created at the LA Sport head office in Pretoria, and then constructed to those specifications in Thailand.
“I spent a lot of time at the factory to ensure that it could supply exactly the bull bars we were looking for. As with the suspensions, the factory produces bull bars for different companies, but we wanted a top-quality product that provided everything African overlanders would want in a bull bar,” says Lionel. “Our bull bars will boast LED running lights as standard, fog lights for low-light conditions, LED indicator lights, jacking and recovery points and a winch plate.”
Lionel was on hand when the first LA Sport-spec bull bars were created in Thailand, and he was impressed with the manufacturer’s efficiency.
By the time you read this, the first batch of new LAS bull bars will be here. For a start, they are available for the Toyota Hilux, Land Cruiser 70-Series, T6 Ranger and new Isuzu KB, and the range will soon be expanded. Work is already under way on a replacement bull bar for the GWM Steed 5.
The third addition to the LAS line-up is a new range of replacement leaf springs for bakkies. Unlike the suspension systems and replacement bull bars, the leaf springs are being produced in SA.
“They are also being made to our exact specifications and will be branded LAS leaf springs,” says Lionel. “Interestingly, the factory that produces them is also a provider for some of SA’s largest vehicle manufacturers – producing original equipment for them.
“That said, we have opted for heavy-duty leaf springs that increase the load-carrying capacity of a bakkie significantly. You need only look at the difference in thickness between our replacement leaf springs and those offered by other aftermarket providers to notice their superiority. These are very tough springs!”
MORE TO COME
Lionel isn’t done expanding the range. More products will be announced soon. We can mention, for example, that a new range of snorkels is close to hitting shelves.
We look forward to finding out what else Lionel and his team have up their sleeves.