Suzuki

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    A Good Start

    When Lindsay Reid set out to build a challenge truck, he decided to base it on the best vehicle he could get hold of. That’s one of the key secrets to doing it like the pros – and talking of pros, his next step was to hand the project over...

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    Same Difference

    Ask any 4x4 builder and he’ll tell you that every good project starts with a good base vehicle. In the case of Matt Chinnick’s Suzuki, he started with a completely pristine original Santana, so he could hardly help but get it right.

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    A Family Affair

    When Mark Edwards saw a familiar looking Suzuki SJ for sale as a £200 scrapper, he stepped in and saved it. He knew how easy it would be to get it back on the road, and he knew what it could do too – because back in the day, the...

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    Great Things Come In Small Packages

    Vehicles come in all different shapes and sizes – this has and hopefully always will be the case. You could even start to stereotype certain styles of vehicle based on their country of origin: in the West, for example, there are many big, loud and brash vehicles, like the Hummer,...

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    Barbie does Hardcore...

    With its lurid green paintwork and Barbie-pink model badging, Dean Whittaker has to have a good sense of humour about the colour of his Suzuki.  When it comes to the way it's been modded for hardcore off-roading though,  everything about the truck is absolutely serious

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    The Accidental Off-Roader

    Steve Eyre bought his Samurai to be a daily driver and says he got into off-roading by accident. He also says he’s rubbish at welding and started out with no idea of what he was doing.

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    Method In The Madness

    Richard Fox is known as Vitara Mad on the forums he frequents. The more you see of the latest Suzuki he’s built, however, the more you’ll find yourself thinking that if this is the work of a madman, the line between insanity and genius must be a very fine one...

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    Serial Modding

    When you’ve already owned a Fourtrak on 33s and a Terrano with twin winches, the idea of building a Jimny for simple playday fun might sound a bit tame. No surprise, then, that having started out on that route, Jay Briggs soon found himself turning his  Suzuki into a challenge machine.

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    A Block Off The Old Chip

    Chris Chadwick only got into off-roading after his son built up a Vitara and took him in it to a Tong playday. Having realised how much fun you can have without going fast, however, this professional engineer took to it with real enthusiasm with a pioneering conversion using the 1.5...

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    Small Steps

    Tom Kirk’s Suzuki Jimny stands almost 9” taller than it did when he bought it. But it’s not on a huge suspension lift, nor a huge body lift, nor huge spacers, nor huge tyres. By combining lots of different techniques and not going overboard on any of them, he’s created...

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    Why Don't You...?

    Darrell Craven was watching TV one night when he decided to go and do something more interesting instead. That thing was to build himself an off-roader. There was only one problem – up to then, the closest he’d come to working on a vehicle was changing a set of brake...

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    Like Son, Like Father

    When we showed up to photograph Ashley Stimpson’s new Hi-Lux for our May issue, he said he’d bring along a couple of interesting Suzukis for us to check out too. One of them was a seriously gnarly Samurai which Ashley knows very well – because its owner, Steve Stimpson, is...

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    To Begin At The Beginning

    When Chris Savage bought a Suzuki Jimny that had already been modified, he knew he was taking a risk. He’s moved the project on to the next level and turned it into the truck he wanted – but to make that leap forward, first he had to take a step...

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    The Pace of Change

    Almost two decades have passed since John Wasley decided to build his Suzuki Samurai. Since then, what was state of the art back has become distinctly old-school – but while the cutting edge of off-road engineering may have moved on, the pioneering mods he did back then mean it’s still...

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    Skin Deep

    Plenty of people have things to say about the Suzuki X90. Most of these are opinions on the way it looks – but as Steve Taylor’s demonstrates, this Vitara-based oddball has an inner beauty that runs deeper than you might think.

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    Man O' War

    Mike Taggart’s first off-road experiences were aboard the biggest, gnarliest all-terrain vehicles of all. Then he finally got a 4x4 of his own – and it was a dinky little soft-top Suzuki Samurai. No surprise that eight years later, while it might still be a Suzuki Samurai, it’s no longer...

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    Family Fortunes

    Franco Rizzo’s half-brother used to own an old Vitara that was fit for not much more than a date with the scrap man. But having already built its front bumper, Franco was looking for an off-roader of his own. So he started making plans…

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    Early Starter

    Mike Harris knew what he wanted: a red truck. It took him three and a half years to get there, but as it turns out it looks like he knew a lot more as well…

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    Unfinished Symphony

    Paul Ruddick has been building his SJ413 for ten years, but he still says it’s not finished. There’s more to it, though, than most vehicles achieve in a lifetime.

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    Everyday Extreme

    With almost half a foot of lift, a locking rear diff and some seriously gnarly metalwork at both ends, Terry Garner’s Grand Vitara is very obviously an extreme off-roader. But he’s taken time to get it there without messing up its reliability – for the very good reason that it’s...

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    Suzuki Jimny ♦ Vehicle Test ♦

    How great is Suzuki's famous Jimny when put to TOR's test?

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    Like Father, Like Son

    We featured Mick Walker’s Jeep Wrangler back in our February issue, and now here he is again. This time, he’s been waving spanners at his son Cameron’s Suzuki Jimny – creating a vehicle that can cut it off-road, eat up the miles on the motorway and, most of all, carry...

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    Weight Gain 4000

    It may have taken ten years, but it was only a matter of time before we got a South Park reference into the magazine. Andrew Hadley’s Suzuki is proof positive that while the rest of the world is obsessed with losing weight, sometimes you improve matters by piling it on.

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    Worth Waiting For

    Andy Edwards’ Jimny-based trialler was four years in the making. During that time, it drove him to the other side of the world twice and put him in hospital with a punctured eyeball. And after all that, he then rolled it on its first event... before taking third in class.

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    Playground Boolies

    Gemma Mills is truly made up with the Suzuki Jimny she takes out at playtime. So much so that she’s even made up a word for its wheels.

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    Monster Mash

    Matt Chinnick took a diverse set of dead body parts and turned it into something that lived. Cue thunder, lightning and crashing organ chords, as a sort-of Suzuki emerges blinking from the crypt.

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    Suzuki Grand Vitara ♦ Vehicle Test ♦

    The Grand Vitara has been improving steadily ever since it was first launched. It needed to, but the arrival of a diesel engine, plus a series of detail updates which between them amount to something worthwhile, have turned what was once a bit of a stinker into what’s now a...

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    A Man Of His Word

    Nearly five years ago, when Richard Wattam’s first Samurai appeared in the pages of Total Off Road, he said that for his next trick he was going to build a spaceframe Suzuki. It’s been a while… but he’s kept his word.

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    Love Is...

    Sean Rowell found himself with a new girlfriend and an old Vitara. Luckily for him, months of welding and hammering only served to bring them closer together… and now they’ve got an A1 off-road toy to enjoy together.

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    In The Pink

    Gareth Orme bought himself a Samurai that was basically standard but for an interesting mixture of Barbie Pink and Ken Green paintwork. Since then, he’s fitted more mods than you can shake a stick at, rolled it four times and turned it from a station wagon into a pick-up.

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    Caught Short

    If Steve Popple’s Vitara was any shorter, it would no longer be visible to the naked eye. You can certainly hear it coming, though – and going, almost anywhere.

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    Midnight Oil

    First time Dave Curtis went green laning, he was having so much fun he ended up staying out most of the night. Years later, he’s built a Suzuki Samurai with a spec like no other. It’s a tribute to his skills as an engineer – and, we reckon, a whole...

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    A Mini Adventure

    Off-roading is all about finding uncharted terrain, pushing the boundaries and experiencing new cultures. That’s what Greg Holloway thinks, at any rate – and he’s got an unusual vehicle in which to explore.

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    Scale Model

    The Suzuki Jimny is a diminutive truck that delights with its cutesy charm, right? Not when you fit G-Wagen axles, three-link front suspension and a 2.8-litre engine, it isn’t. Then, the giant-killer becomes the giant…

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    The ZX-Factor

    Diesel converted SJs used to be all the rage, but they’re harder to come by nowadays. That’s why it’s so exciting to see a good example – especially when, like Carl Skerratt’s, it has a few other tricks up its sleeve as well.

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    Classics Nouveaux

    In the early 1980s, when men were wearing make-up and dressing in trousers made of curtains, the Suzuki LJ80 was just coming to the end of its production run. And while bands like Classix Nouveaux were prancing around on Top of the Pops, Neil Barber was falling quietly in love...

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    Strip Show

    John Docherty has had a lot of vehicles. And he’s stripped down and rebuilt almost all of them. No surprises for guessing what he did with his Suzuki Santana, then… although as it turned out, that was just the beginning.

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    Guilty As Charged

    Jason Dolbear only got into off-roading because his kids had got bored of radio-controlled cars. But he’s learned a lot about building 4x4s as a result – and he’s turned out a particularly nice grass-roots Vitara in the process.

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    The Armoury Show

    If all the world’s a stage, Rob Butler’s tricked-up Suzukis are among the most exciting acts to perform on it. He used to just build modified 4x4s – but nowadays, the man behind Off Road Armoury concentrates on making trick gear for DIY enthusiasts to instal on their own vehicles.

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    Smiles Per Mile

    Many people embark on off-road projects convinced that they’re going to build the greatest vehicle the world has ever seen. Simon Cox, on the other hand, has made his mods and improvements along the way, all the while learning about the vehicle he’s been doing them to.

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    Shock Tactics

    At first glance, Rob Butler’s Samurai looks like any other challenge-spec off-road machine. Look closely at the pictures, though, and you’ll see there’s something missing...

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    Force of Habit

    James Firth never intended his off-road habit to get out of hand. But when you look at his custom-built tray-back Suzuki SJ, you’ll agree that he didn’t manage to control his urges. At least he’s got a nice truck out of it, though…

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    Pull The Other One

    Wesley Benyon went along to his first winch challenge without even having a winch. Since then, he’s learned a lot – and his vastly modified coil-sprung Suzuki provides all the evidence you could ever need that he’s one to watch.

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    Life In The Slow Lane

    Shaun Higginbotham gave up motorcycle drag-racing to take on his awesome Suzuki SJ project. The speed at which he travels may have slowed a bit, then, but he reckons the thrills are every bit as intense!

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    Realised Potential

    It might sound like a dodgy school motto, but the title is a true reflection of what Mark MacMillan has achieved with his Suzuki SJ project. He bought it as a box of bits: but several man hours later, and it’s a 4x4 to be reckoned with…

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    Park Life

    Mike Hatton’s interest in off-roading was spawned by a game called ‘extreme parking.’ But the Suzuki he’s built as a result is a lot more than just a show-off’s shopping cart…

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    Swift By Nature

    Suzuki’s best looking car may be Swift by name, but by nature they should have called it the Ho Hum. How to turn a funky-yet-frumpy supermini into a car worthy of its name? Easy – just get KAP on the case…

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    Special K

    Andy Woodhouse’s Suzuki looks a lot like any other modified Samurai. But beneath its bonnet hides a fascinating secret…

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    Altered Image

    Andy Barlow first got a Suzuki Samurai because he liked the 4x4 image. Since then, he’s discovered that he also likes the flexed-out, axle-twisted image – which is good, because his current Samurai has more articulation than almost any other leafer in Britain.

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    Wreckovery

    When Troy Casaletto bought his Suzuki SJ, it was a ‘total wreck.’ Now there’s nothing of the wreck about it… nor indeed much of the Suzuki.

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    Happy Homecoming

    Darren Finch started life as a Suzuki man but then emigrated to Planet Landy. Now he’s back – and with his latest modded SJ doing him proud, he’s happy to be home.

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    Stop Me and Buy One

    John Hickling was driving along one day when he saw a ‘nice little thing’ parked outside someone’s house. Next thing he knew, he was taking it home… and on the verge of discovery a whole new way of life.

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    Champagne Off-Roader

    It’s unlikely that Glyn Ellis’ Vitara has ever been compared to the favoured drink of the chattering classes before. But that’s what he paid for it… about the same price as a bottle of Moet.

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    A Cut Above

    Meet Rhino Foot – the latest vehicle to emerge from Rhino Ray’s workshop. Standing at over seven feet in height, this is one mean truck. And what it lacks in axle articulation, it more than makes up for in ‘look-at-me’pose value…

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    Nicely Does It

    If you’re on the hunt for a tidy off-roader with shiny bodywork and hardly any rust, you probably wouldn’t go looking for an SJ, right? Well, it might be time to have a rethink, because we reckon we’ve found the tidiest Suzuki in town…

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    Modesty Permits

    Mark Gallagher is fairly new to off-roading, but he’s already got his priorities sorted. He won’t buy a component if he thinks he can make it cheaper, and he’s not keen on modifying things just for the sake of it. No wonder his Jimny’s a bit on the special side, then...

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    Cavalier Attitude

    If budget off-roading is your game, the Suzuki SJ is likely to be one of your favourite trucks. It’s cheap, easy to work on and has off-road ability in spades – especially if you equip it with a 2.0-litre performance engine from a Vauxhall Cavalier…

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    Taking Stock

    Ian Dominey has been involved in motorsport for as long as he can remember. But he only came to off-roading last year, and he’s already won a couple of RTVs. Small wonder that it’s fast becoming his favourite hobby, then…

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    Taylor-Made

    Suzuki Vitaras are growing in popularity for off-road projects, but they’re still a rare sight at trials. Not least when, like Geoff Taylor’s, the Vitara in question isn’t actually a Vitara at all…

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    Beat Box

    Larry Perfect’s Samurai may look more like an urban warrior than a serious mud-basher, but underneath the paint job lurks some serious off-road hardware. And Mr Perfect is just learning how to use it in anger…

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    Pick Up Tricks

    Just when you thought the range of modifications for Suzuki SJs couldn’t get any wider, along comes Rob Butler with yet another piece of imaginative engineering. We headed to Sussex to get the lowdown on his latest truck…

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    Grand Design

    You don’t see many highly modified Grand Vitaras, and five-door examples are especially rare, which makes Richard Thompson’s vehicle a bit different. Reason enough, we thought, to give it a closer look.

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    The X Factor

    It’s not every day you come across a Suzuki X90 with 31-inch Grizzly Claws, six inches of lift and a custom-made roll cage. And it’s not often that a vehicle provides us with such a golden opportunity to use one of the corniest headlines in history.

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    Budget Special - Nick Lane's Suzuki SJ413 and Mark Sugden's Suzuki SJ410

    All of us enjoy off-roading but few can afford to spend huge quantities of money on their hobby. It’s all right, though, because as these three trucks demonstrate, you don’t have to be loaded to enjoy a piece of the mud-plugging pie…

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    Who Cares (As Long As You Care For Me)

    It may be the worst title in the history of the magazine trade, but at least we managed to find a Tony Bennett song with the word ‘long’ in it. Because another Tony Bennett has been making sweet music with a long-wheelbase Vitara. See what I did there, etc etc…

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    Worth Weighting For

    Grant Taylor originally decided to build a modified Suzuki Samurai because it was the lightest 4x4 around.  And he’s happy with the result… even if his days of trying to save weight are already well in the past.

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    Going Live

    Everyone knows that independent front suspension has its limitations off-road, and everyone knows that despite this, the Suzuki Vitara is a giant-killing vehicle in the rough stuff.   Imagine, then, how good it would be with a live front end…

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    Standard Bearer

    Building a serious off-roader isn’t always about using off-the-shelf conversion kits. Shaun Briggs’ Suzuki SJ has been modified in every way – but by and large, the bits it’s made from are straight from the factory’s own parts bin.

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    Grand Designs

    Original Suzuki Vitaras are getting to the age at which people are starting to use them off-road. The same can’t be said for the Grand Vitara, however – which is why Craig Langley’s is one of a kind.

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