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Jeeps big and small

Broadcast date : 11th February 2007

The 3/4-scale Military Jeep is an amazingly detailed replica of the famous World War Two Willys, great grand-daddy to the modern Jeep Wrangler Sahara. What makes the Junior Replica so special is the detailing.

The wheels are the right pattern, thereís a scaled down petrol canister on the back, the grille is faithful to the famous Jeep pattern that has become known all over the world, and the lights actually work.

On the sides there are grab handles just like the original, a fold-down screen, canopy, chunky miniature off road tyres, and even the army-issue spade.

In the cockpit the faithful detailing continues with full instrumentation, an old-looking metal steering-wheel and a dummy US Army ration box that doubles as an engine lid.

Power is by a 196 cc four-stroke Toyama engine, which is actually a Honda generator engine made under license in Brazil where the Junior Replicas are built.

The body is made from GRP or glass-reinforced polyester, and is extremely strong and light. The whole vehicle weighs just 120 kilograms.

Itís a great toy if you have the money. At R65 000 itís certainly not cheap.

It turned out to be Davidís day to play passenger at the off-road park at Zwartkops, as Jannie Rykhardt took David for a slow cruise in the full-sized Jeep Sahara. 

Mike Shorten in the mini Jeep was in hot pursuit, demonstrating just how much torque the little 200 cc engine delivers.

Off-roading is all about torque, an engineís ability to deliver as much power at low revs as possible, and of course, a transmission and suspension system to transfer that torque to Mother Earth.

Why is slow the way to go off-road? Well, the slower you can negotiate an obstacle, the less chance you have of damaging your vehicle. And even this very basic Jeep off-roader costs a not insubstantial R239 500.

The Jeep Wrangler has been around for a decade now, and a new model is on the horizon. But we love the old-faithful characteristics of the classic straight six engine, and for a hard-core off-roader, this still takes some beating.

In a hot-roddish sort of way, itís lots of fun.

And you have to concentrate all the time, even on tarmac.

Jeep Wrangler Sahara
  • Engine: In-line six-cylinder, petrol, 3 960cc
  • Power: 130 kW @ 4 600 rpm
  • Torque: 290 Nm @ 3 600 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, all-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 8,7 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 176 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 16,0 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R239 500

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