Archive for the ‘Offroading’ Category

Meet Geoff the Troopy


Time to reinvigorate the blog to document the build of my 2018 Land Cruiser HZJ78 (78 Series, V8 4.5l diesel) Troop Carrier.

Getting to this stage would never have happened without the help of all the blogs and YouTube content out there, so it’s only right that I document my experiences for others to read.

Bought in November and, at the time of writing, at ANR Performance in Al Quoz, with the AluCab Hercules and Shadowawning fitted and various components on the way, it’s time to put my thoughts down!

The plan is to create a great family camping car that can take us all over the UAE and Oman, carrying everything we need, easily, as well as things that friends can use. I will document the thought process behind choosing a Troopy in another post.

Here are some pics of Geoff when he was stock, with some help from my assistant, followed by some photos of the first part of the build.



Need toys


Took the third row seats out of the Patrol, finally.




I’m quite keen on putting a drawer system in there.

Something like this would make sense – rope and shackles in the smaller drawer on the left so there’s no need to open both ‘barn doors’. Plenty of space to strap down a cool box on top.


I’m keen to do at least a little bit of camping this winter! Tuesday we’ll be going to Fossil Rock with Zara. I’m a bit apprehensive, to be quite honest. Let’s see if she enjoys it. I feel she’s a bit young, but we met a South African family who take their equally little ones out regularly, so we thought we’d give it a try.

Fossil Rock


A nice pootle off to Fossil Rock the other day.

I enjoyed driving the Patrol more this time. Totally different to the Jeep – I’ve complained before about the tiptronic not staying in gear under high revs, but on this trip I left things in drive and kept the revs lower, with the mighty beast pulling me up some steep dunes quite easily. More floating along rather than ploughing through. I’d still prefer more control, but…

The saddle of Fossil Rock has become quite eroded, which makes for quite a fun negotiation downwards before the sand begins again. My Patrol scraped the rock a bit and it sounded horrendous, but there was no damage to be seen at all. Rock and metal just sounds terrible, even if it’s just a scratch.

Here’s Matt going over it.

Here’s me.

Here’s how you get over a fence.


Defending Lebanon


The UK has donated these Land Rovers to the Lebanese armed forces.


These Defenders are the newest vehicles you’ll see on the streets of Beirut at the moment!

Lend me your Range Rover


And let me do drives like this one. So cool.

Range Rover Sport in the Empty Quarter – did it go over anything that wasn’t flat?


I I can’t wait to see more footage of the recent Range Rover Sport’s ten hour crossing of the Empty Quarter.

This footage shows it driving very fast across some flat desert. I have had the privilege of doing this in a 2009 Range Rover. I was doing 120kmph across a mix of gatch and softer sand and it was fantastic. Smooth, quiet and comfortable.

As soon as we went over a small dune, later in the day, the front bumper was torn off and the window washer exposed.

I just can’t see how, without customised bumpers and different tires, these cars can do anything remotely ‘off road’ in the desert – sand and mud and rocks maybe, but not across the dunes.

Playing with Picassa


This would be fun on a t-shirt.

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Best of the Jeep


I’ve had my Wrangler for just over ten years now.

I love the new Patrol – but should I have bought a manual? Probably, but the automatic makes so much more sense in Dubai traffic. When the Patrol was off the road (as opposed to off road!) over Christmas after the accident, I loved driving the Wrangler again, especially in the desert.

I can’t believe we used to use the Wrangler as the ‘more comfy car’ back before Mrs Saul was upgraded from the Vitara to the wonderful-yet-disgracefully-awful Range Rover.

Here’s a selection of pics. Probably too many, but I enjoyed going back through the archives. I can’t believe how much fun we had in the Wrangler – which is still going strong in perfect working order.


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Monster Truck


Here’s our friend Thorsten’s new ride. 1979 Ford F250 with a bit of customisation.


Very practical for transporting wife and baby to BBQs in.

About $6,000 from eBay, amazingly registered with the Dubai authorities – not sure how he got that through!

I can’t imagine a pick up truck sold in the UK in 1979 coming with air con, cruise control, three point seat belts – and certainly not a 7 litre V8 that does about 8 miles to the gallon.

Apparently the suspension is very stiff and bouncy. I’m hoping to have a go in it in the desert at some point though.

Thorsten’s other car is… A Unimog.

Before and after


My patrol is back. Here are the before and after pics. A few cosmetic parts still not be fitted – an engine cover and some other non-essential items.

I’ve really enjoyed driving the Jeep over the last few weeks, but it’s great to be back in the relative luxury of the Patrol. Can’t shake the nagging feeling that I should have bought a manual Patrol, but that will probably fade once I’m stuck in traffic on SZR over the coming week.

After –


Before –


Judging by the plastic still on the seats and the colour of the wheel cover (2010 model onwards only sir) this Patrol was pretty new when its owner totalled it. Nasty.

Although it’s the same spec as mine – and a manual – it had a better stereo with audio in connection. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how Nissan configure these models when it comes to the trim. How come I ended up with the cassette player?!