While there are arguments as to whether a vehicle needs a bulbar for an overland trip down the East coast of Africa I need to remind everyone (as well as when considering a winch) that we have future purposes for the truck. Having a bullbar adds weight, but also strength. Having used spare tires tied to the front of our trucks when in Iraq to protect the front end in case ramming or nudging was needed I just like the idea of having that option. Why not have a giant steal bumper with steel bars running across the front as your go-to tool for pushing or smashing things out of your way? In addition to giving us more front end strength our new ARB (80-Series) bullbar gave us an additional two tow/attachment points, a solid anchor for our winch, and in combination with the raised coils, a higher angle of incidence for inclines when taking them straight on. The ARB bulbar also adds a solid jacking point for the Hilift and, let’s face it, it looks cool. So I am able to go back to the old saying “it doesn’t matter what you are doing, only that you look cool doing it.” Seriously though, we may not need it running from North to South though the African continent, but when we reach Southern Africa and begin cruising out into game reserves it can be helpful when breaking through bush, pushing things out of the way, or protecting the front end from say, a rhino. If you think I’m kidding or that it is unlikely then here is a story for you. I rented a car in South Africa so that I could go visit Celine at the lodge she was working at. She warned me that there was a rhino that liked to hang out in the road and advised me to approach with caution while revving the engine. I thought, this place is huge and I am unlikely to see this guy. As I crested my third or forth hill there stood, larger than both me and my rental car, a huge rhino. He did not appear to be impressed with me and took a stance that said he was ready for a standoff. I approached slowly and revved the tiny engine in an attempt to intimidate him. Low and behold, it worked! I sped by with no issue. This happened a couple of times until one evening he was being visited by a few female rhinos. This approach would be a bit more challenging, but I figured the same attic would be effective. As I revved and approached he slowly and begrudgingly moved a few feet off the road, but this time, instead of speeding passed ,y tires began to dig into the sand. I’m no expert, but my few bush walks with Massimo taught me that to back out now would appear like a victory to the big guy. I had no choice, though. I backed up quickly to get another running start, but he had seen what he perceived to be fear. As I tried to slip by he came at us. Celine was sitting in the passengers seat on the same side as this huge rhino. I could see his huge eye right outside her window as he ran alongside of us. All he did was turn his head slightly, right into the side of the car. I thought for sure we would flip over, but we actually barely felt it. As I kept speeding down the road Celine pressed me not to slow down and I checked the rearview to see him charging behind us. When we arrived at the lodge I hoped the damage was minimal, but my hope sank as Celine attempted to open her door. I got out to check and found the entire front left quarter panel was smashed in, his horn had gone through it, through the light and surfaced between the quarter panel and the hood, ensuring that it was also damaged. Needless to say at this point, if the car had been outfit with a nice ARB steel bullbar, the damage would have been far less, if any.
As far as the rear bumper of the truck is concerned the decision was easy. We opted for the matching ARB rear steel bumper with the wheel carrier. We needed the wheel carrier so that we could remove the full size spare from under the rear end where we mounted a 177l Longranger auxiliary fuel tank. We were going to get the dual spare carrier, but there were none in stock, so we had the fuel carrier mounted instead. It has come in handy for carrying a 20l water jug with a tap on it.