4 Decades of 4×4

20th July, 2016Posted in: 4 Decades of 4x4

4 Decades of 4×4

It’s hard to believe that 40 years has passed since Tony Brown returned from his Outback exploration which led to the birth of ARB 4×4 Accessories in 1975. During Tony’s inspirational northern trip he was in no modern utility at the time. In fact, he was behind the wheel of a 15+ year old 1950’s Series 1 Land Rover, a vehicle designed off the back of World War II, a truck built primarily for farm and commercial duties. The 1950’s model Series 1 Land Rovers sported a range of engine options and Tony’s was a 2.0L petrol engine producing a mild 53 horsepower at 4,000rpm and 137Nm, (today’s Land Rover Discoverys produce 207 horsepower and 520Nm of torque).

Other features included a 4 speed gearbox with a 2-speed transfer for 4WD, leaf springs on all 4 corners, a dual skin roof for improved heating and cooling, and a 100km/hr speed limit.

1975 – 2015

Since the milestone exploration of Tony Brown, which led to the origin of ARB 4×4 Accessories, we have been privileged to experience first hand the evolution of the four wheel drive industry, at the heart of which has been the evolution of our rugged off road vehicles.

There have certainly been some great reliable, dependable and capable vehicles which have served us well over the decades. Who could forget the Range Rover Master Class of the 70’s, or the Ford Bronco and big-bertha ‘F’ trucks, the popular Jeep Wrangler, and realistically every series LandCruiser ever built. Of more recent times we’ve seen the rise of the ‘dual cab’ utes, trending strongly since the early 80’s since the introduction of the Toyota HiLux and not looking back. Today, the 4×4 category is filled with dual cab utes from almost every manufacturer and continue to be a popular and versatile choice for four wheel drivers.


In an effort to find the most ‘iconic’ 4×4 vehicles from over the past four decades, we put the question to you, our customers, and asked for which models you felt had been the most influential.

The results were tallied and we found our top four most influential vehicles. We assigned a vehicle per state and set the challenge to find a clean example of their allocated ‘Off Road Icon’, to get her in the garage and get her ‘Simpson’ ready. And so the journey begins. To read more about the build of each of the ARB Off Road Icons, follow the links below.

We of course cannot overlook the fifth Off Road Icon, with such strong support from the USA, the TJ Jeep Wrangler. The TJ has been privileged to all the same works as our local icons, and while the TJ will unfortunately not make the journey to the Australian Outback this spring, it is a fourby definitely worthy of its iconic label and we will be following its journey closely on the dusty trails of the States.

Read about the Jeep TJ Wrangler and her transformation.