4 x 4 x 4 Off-Road Trials Buggy

Built for trials competitions in the UK

The vehicle was initially built in 1990 (yep 20 odd years a go) and prior to me taking on digital photography, hence many images being less than perfect.

The aim was to build something alternative to what was being used on competition circuit. At that point there was only one crude 4 x 4 x 4 being used and the driver had to sit sideways!  The set-up consists of two Suzuki front axles with a Honda Accord 1600cc petrol engine with its automatic gearbox from a front wheel drive car. The engine was rotated 90 degrees so that the drive shafts from the diff face the differentials on the front and rear axles. The Honda differential was removed and a direct shaft fitted to the dif crown wheel to keep a permanent drive to both axles. Due to the drive running through a differential on the engine and another in the axle, the top speed is only around 30mph which gives it loads of torque, ideal for trials. Trials are best described as travelling over rough terrain at walking speed without stopping or hitting course maker posts.

To try and maximise axle twist, the front axle was mounted similar to a front axle on a tractor, but unlike a tractor this was mounted on a single coil spring. This gave a fantastic axle twist, however there was no resistance between the axle twist on the body, the result was that the body became very unstable on side slopes and suffered many roll-overs! This was cured to a certain amount but fitting an anti-roll bar to resist the axle twist.

The vehicle was very capable over rough ground, however as the vehicle was 400Kg on the front axle and the same on the rear, is wasn't such a good climber up steep hills. This situation was improved in later years by a complete re-design of the front suspension to accommodate moving the engine and gearbox assembly forward by about 300mm (12")

The rear shocks originally used some small car shocks, which I found didn't do much, these were later replaced for much longer ones mounted vertically.

The steering is done using a hydraulically assisted steering rack mounted along the chassis with one end operating the front axle and the other operating the back. Originally I had a lot of problems trying to get the power steering to work, eventually I discovered this particular engine isn't like 99.99% of other engine which rotate clockwise, this one rotates anti-clockwise! Doh... Which is why in some photos you'll see the hydraulic steering pump mounted in front of the engine.

Okay, most vehicles in the UK are right-hand drive, for the sharp eyed peps out there, the steering wheel on this vehicle is on the wrong side (...wait for flack from my American friends). The *only* reason why the steering wheel is on the wrong side is because the engine alternator encroached on the foot wheel on the right hand side, and prevented me fitting any peddles that side, hence moving the wheel over.

The original brakes were discs on the front and drums on the rear, later changed to discs all round with fiddle/slewing brakes on the rear.

(Clicking on the images should open a higher resolution image)

An ideal shot to show the overall layout of the transmission.


This buggy was initially built in a 8' wide ex-lorry/shipping container as I hadn't got a workshop at the time. So either worked out side, or when inside having to jack it to one side or the other to work on the other!

Yes the exhaust does have a sharp 'U' turn in it. This was due to lack of space and the propshaft connecting to the gearbox.


Following photos was from the front end re-build to accommodate moving the engine forward to alter the weight distribution to improve its climbing abilities.