4WD: On the go with gadgets
Self contained: The camper can be set up in seconds.

There would be little argument from experienced off-road drivers that a well-set-up personnel carrier (PC) would have to be the most practical and popular vehicle for four-wheel-drive touring and camping.

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Include a pop-up roof and a decked-out camper conversion from the likes of Kea Campers and you could say you have the perfect vehicle. But for long-time 4WD enthusiast Rollo Witton even such a neat combination needed some work to get it just right.

Mr Witton, known to his friends as Inspector Gadget, has taken a 2007 V8-powered Toyota PC with the Kea conversion and added an impressive array of modifications to make his pride and joy one of a kind.

Bought second-hand from Kea in 2010 with 138,000km on the clock, the PC was sent over to Ultimate 4WD Equipment in Canning Vale to have a dual spare wheel carrier fitted, along with mountings for a high-lift jack, long-handled shovel and extendable floodlight, as well as a 30-litre stainless-steel water tank.

A pair of Recaro seats replaced the original vinyl offerings and a 40-litre Engel fridge replaced the one that came with the camper.

Then it was over to United Fuel Injection for a performance exhaust system and a computer chip upgrade.

A complete Old Man Emu suspension upgrade gave the vehicle an additional 50mm of clearance and airbags on the rear help support the weight when fully loaded.

Six new mag wheels fitted with 305/70R16 BFG Mud Terrain tyres replaced the split rims and skinnies, while an ARB air-locker in the front diff provides extra traction for when the going gets tough.

A pair of Narva HID driving lights turns night into day, a GME UHF keeps Mr Witton in touch with his travelling companions and a new VMS Navigator keeps the vehicle on track in the bush.

A dual-battery system supplemented with a solar panel powers all the electrics.

In keeping with his Inspector Gadget nickname, he has enhanced the vehicle with all manner of gadgetry, including lights, gauges, compressors, an inverter, cruise control, a scan gauge /trip computer, power windows, central locking, cupboards, drawers, tie-down points, an awning, a fold-down table - you name it and this 4WD has probably got it.

Is the project finished? Only until something else catches the Inspector's eye.

The West Australian

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