Meet Midland 4WD Centre’s Simon Gillet – 4WD Consultant
Meet Midland 4WD Centre’s Simon Gillet, he’s built competition 4x4s, touring rigs and has some great camping tips.
What got you into four-wheel driving/camping?
Growing up we didn’t have a 4×4 of our own but the earliest memory of wheeling as a kid would be in a friend’s ute chasing salmon up and down Preston beach. Then the bug really took hold in my early teens when I got my first competition 4WD DVD.
After that my brother got a 4×4 and there were many weekend adventures on the south coast and up north 4wding and fishing. Once I got my own 4WD, I started getting into the competition side of things and built my first dedicated rock crawler at 22-years old. Now that I’m slightly older I enjoy the touring side of four-wheel driving more and being able to see some of the great destinations WA has to offer.
What was your first 4×4 and why did you choose it?
First 4WD was a 1993 Suzuki Sierra, I chose this because it was small, light and nimble.
Did you modify it? If yes, what did you do to it?
Yes, definitely modified.
Stage 1: Started with the simple things like lift and tyres, built a home-made false floor in the back for storage. It stayed like that for a few years until I wanted it bigger and better.
Stage 2: I deregistered it to build into a rack crawler. I did a spring over axle conversion, front and rear diff locks 33-inch tyres, low-range crawler gears and wheel spacers.
Stage 3: I swapped the body for a soft top and cut it in half to lengthen it by 400mm. While I was there I made a four-link suspension with coil springs. I fitted a six-point roll cage to make it a bit safer. I did a sill chop and built some rock sliders.
What’s your current 4×4 and what have you done to it?
2020 Isuzu MU-X. We have fitted a Piak bullbar, Tough Dog suspension lift, bigger tyres on steel rims. Uniden UHF radio, and an Outback Accessories fuel tank.
Favourite place to go camping and why?
D’entrecasteaux national park would have to be my favorite destination as it has so much to offer. While it isn’t overly difficult in the four-wheel driving aspect, it is a great place to get away and explore. It makes you feel like you are days away from civilization and very relaxing sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in.
Favourite adventure 4×4 drive and why?
My favourite 4×4 adventure would be travelling to NSW and competing in the Tuff Truck 4×4 competition. There is certainly nothing like driving a technical track with a time limit and 10,000 people cheering you on.
Must-take item in your camping kit and why?
The three rules I live by when making sure I have what I need is: Something to eat, Somewhere to sit and Somewhere to sleep (comfortably).
Top tips for those wanting to modify their 4×4 on a budget?
Do as much research as you can before you even start to make sure you know exactly what you want to do with the car. Once that is decided then you can narrow down the modifications needed.