Opinion: Does old tech make new 4x4s better?

Our August 2020 cover car fuses old- and new-school 4x4 tech.

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DAN Everett makes a fine point in the feature story on the badass Ford Ranger you see on the cover of the August 2020 issue of the magazine.

Sure, older 4x4s are built simpler, more durable and are more affordable than newer ones, but new cars are superior in just about every other way. So, wouldn’t it be nice to have something that gives us the best of both worlds?

I’m sure most of us don’t have the dollars to buy a brand-new or newish current-model 4x4, only to strip it, chop it up and re-engineer it to achieve that goal. But what Claire and Sean, along with the crew from Drag Tec Customs, have done with this Ranger ticks all the boxes of incorporating older, more robust design and parts into a newer vehicle to improve it in every way.

And it hasn’t taken rocket science to do it! Nissan Patrols are renowned for their tough diffs and flexy suspension design, so taking those parts and fitting them under the lengthened Ranger with quality suspension components was a smart move. I’m sure it wasn’t cheap, but the end result is a Ranger that is more capable, more durable and (I’ll bet) rides and steers better than an original Ford despite losing its IFS front end.

The photos of this Ranger got us thinking about some of the wild modified Ford fourbies we’ve featured over the past few years. Not just Rangers, but F-Trucks as well – and there’s even an Everest in our selection. Some have had engine swaps, others chassis mods, while some, like the Harrop Ranger, are just nice, clean, well-thought-out builds. Our selection of the best Ford customs can be found in the August 2020 mag. What do you think of our selection?

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And while I’m asking, what do you all think about the Ineos Grenadier? Is this the sort of vehicle we all would like for 4x4 touring and off-road adventures? Just like Claire’s black Ranger, here’s a vehicle that takes the traditional live axles on coil-sprung link suspension and couples it with a modern drivetrain in a vehicle that should meet all the required safety and emissions standards of a new car.

Personally, I’m surprised they didn’t strive to make it look less like a Land Rover, but, looks aside, it will be interesting to see how the Grenadier goes if and when it makes it to production … and whether we get it down under.


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