Episode 67. Proton Jumbuck. AU04 KZW. (Part 6).

I know I've been saying this for ages now, but I've got to thin the herd a little, I need to have a culling! To that end I had decided that the Proton Jumbuck would be next for the chopping block!

An advert was drawn up, and uploaded onto farcebook in the hope that I wouln't need to go down the ebay route, which of course costs you money, but more importantly seems to cost you time dealing with bidders who don't show up to collect their winnings, therefore making you have to relist it.

Just three days later the Jumbuck had found itself a new home, and the new owner showed up to collect his new toy. I wonder why I have so much trouble selling stuff on the bay of E, I wonder why I even bother with it these days as selling stuff on other places like farcebook seems so much more straight forward. I must admit that I struggled to put this Jumbuck up for sale, I liked it, and infact I like every car I have at the moment which is a real pain in the buttocks as I really have no idea what should be next for the chopping block, but what can I say, something had to go, so I decided it would be the Jumbuck!

So what can I say about this little beaute of a ute? Well, you may remember in Episode 28 the head gasket decided that with 042206 miles of good service enough was enough, and promptly disintergrated leaving me (luckily) broken down less than a mile from BelongaClint! Then just over four months ago in Episode 36 I decided to sceptically fix it with a £40 bottle of magic elixr called Steel Seal. I poured it in, and stood back and hoped for the best! It seemed to work, and so I thought I would continue to use it often and for journeys both long and short to see how it goes! Besides I sort of had a safety net as according to the label on the bottle if it doesn't work then I would get my money back, and better yet If it did work, like it appeared to be doing then I would get a free T-shirt! I couldn't really see how I can lose!!

Well 2320 miles further on down the road I feel I've tested the capabilities of Steal Seal for long enough, it's still not using any oil or water, and it's still running well. I think we can safely assume that it has worked. So with that in mind I put it up for grabs as a perfectly useable car... Erm, truck.

I still cant believe that it worked, but I am happy it did! With the success of the magic elixr in my engine one of my friends thought that he might try it on a car that he had recently bought when upon checking it out before driving home he discovered enough mayonnaise to keep a sandwhich shop going for a week! He bought some and tipped it in! Unfortunately for him his bottle of magic elixr turned out to be snake oil, but he did manage to get home. No dramas, no overheating, plenty of oil, but even more mayo! Well, it does say that it has a 99% success rate! He applied for his refund as it hadn't worked, and after several attempts, he did actually get his money back, which is good to know, even if he did have to stick at it to get the refund. I applied for my free T-shirt so that I could wear it when I next see him at a car show, but no T-shirt ever came for me! Perhaps I should doggedly stick at it like my friend did to get his refund, but frankly I can't be bothered. I've probably got enough T-shirts anyway! But enough about the snake oil, they're not getting any more free press from me, especially as they've not bothered sending me my free T-shirt! I will however say that should I find myself in the same position again I will buy another bottle and try it again. Now, onto what you really want to hear about... The Proton Jumbuck!

I like this, I like it a lot. I liked it when I first got it, and although I didn't, and still don't think that it's as cool as the Volkswagen Caddy that it replaced it was still a pretty good little ute.

The styling of it is pretty good and easy on the eye, to me however I always think that aerodynamic utes and pick ups look a little odd. In my mind little commercial vehicles should be blunt at the front, however the styling of this little thing has really grown on me, I never liked the styling of the Sierra shaped Ford P100 pick up, but since having the Jumbuck I have thought quite a lot about re-visiting the Sierra shaped Ford P100 and buying myself another one. Similar looks, but bigger capacity, and of course rear wheel drive! But for me the P100 being a true pick up as it has a seperate cab from the bed doesn't quite look as good as the coupé-utility bodies like the Jumbuck, Brat, and even El Camino. There's something in  that B-pillar where it fades away into the top of the bed sides that really strikes a chord with me. I think that it is probably this feature in the Jumbucks styling that really makes it in my eyes.

While I'm on about the bed of this little thing I must mention the roll bars. I'm pretty sure that they are little more than decorative, however I did manage to use them several times to secure loads to, and even on. Although made from quite thin wall tubing when I tied a load of wooden beams to them so they hung out over the roof and bonnet in the front, but were safely secured inside the bed at the rear the roll bar carried the load with ease. It didn't dent or even deform in shape at all.

Speaking of that roof bar I quite like that the designers had chosen to let the tubing follow the lines of the bed side tops and rear of the B-pillar. Plus, whilst no doubt doing little to add to the strength and structure of the roll bar I like that the brace has a nice curve to it that almost echoes the lines of the front of the cab and windscreen. It gives the profile of the Jumbuck an almost far more coupé look, than utility look in my opinion, and further more it would appear in other markets you could buy a coupé hardshell back called the Fastback that also followed the lines of the roll bar. If I ever got around to buying another Jumbuck I would be quite interested in getting the Fastback bed cover which although would make it useless as a pick up, or even a van it would make it look very unique out on the road here. Now then... To the front!

Under the bonnet whizzed away a derivative of the Mitsubishi Orion or 4G1 engine originally introduced by Mitsubishi Motors in the 1970s. The single overhead camshaft 4G15 Proton version has a displacement of a whopping 1.5 litres and when new produced a massive 92 horsey power. I realise that this doesn't sound much, but it has to be said that even with a dodgy head gasket repair it could whip the Jumbuck along very nicely, and even loaded up it was no slouch! As a side note the 4G15 is known as one of the longest lived Japanese engines ever produced, and there is even a recorded instance of an engine exceeding 997,000 miles in a 1998 Mitsubishi Mirage, although no record was made of the state of the head gasket!

Inside. Well inside mine could only really be described as having the 'lived in' look, although what lived in there is anyones guess, but whatever it was it gave the interior a hard time! It was clear when I originally bought this little ute that it had worked for all of it's life, and nowhere was this more evident than the interior!

It was quite a basic interior, with power nothing and keep-fit windows, but that was fine by me, as this all adds to the charm of a vehicle such as this. I do feel however that for a vehicle with just 44526 miles on it the interior hasn't really stood up all that well. I realise that it has been a work truck all of its life, and probably been used and abused for a lot of it, but even so it wasn't in great shape inside. However, having said that it did all work, and the seats although split and torn were quite comfortable and supportive even after long journeys.

At the back the bed was a decent size. Measuring 64" long x 53" wide and with a maximum payload of 1,257 lb, or 1,636 mm long x 1,349 mm wide with a maximum payload of 570 kg for you metric types it was pretty handy. Admittedly you could'nt get an 8'x4' sheet of plywood in there without it hanging over the tailgate but you can't get that in the Chev-suzu either, and you can get a lot more of it inside the bed on the Jumbuck. It's a handy size, and since having it I have hauled all kinds of loads for all kinds of people in this. I've picked up their junk, taken it to their homes, picked up the rubbish, taken it to the dump. Infact since having this little ute I have never been short of work, and it has quite literally earned me tens of pounds since I've had it. This has actually been quite a bugbear for me to be honest, and infact it was another one of the reasons that I decided this would get the chop early on. It's not that I mind helping people out, I don't mind that at all. It's just that I have my own work, and a proper job to do, and I don't really have the time to be running errands for other people who just expect you to do it for them for no other reason than you own a vehicle that is capable of doing it. I think that if and when I do get another pick up, I shall have to take a firmer stand on running other peoples errands, but the problem is that once you do it for one of them, they'll all expect you to do it for them.

Now then, the big question, would I have another one? Actually yes I would. I'd have kept this one if I didn't already have too many projects to do and not enough time to do them all in! I think that what I need to do is to track down one of those Fastback bed covers to make it look more like a coupé, then once I've done that then start searching for another Jumbuck to put it on. The trouble is that with the Fastback version it wasn't sold here in the UK, so that will mean having to ship it in from somewhere, and as yet, I've not been able to find one for sale, but somewhere out there there will be one with my name on it, and when I find it I will buy it. As I said before it will be detrimental to the usefulness of the thing, but that might actually work in my favour as perhaps I wont get badgered all the time to pick things up for my neighbours! Finding another one shouldn't pose too much of a problem, apparently of the estimated 1,800 units registered between 2003 and 2006 in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, by all accounts over 80% of all Proton Jumbucks sold in the U.K. are still on the roads at this time. I think that in the UK they sold two versions of the Jumbuck, one like mine, a poverty spec vehicle built and sold to the low budget working market, with nothing in the way of frivolity, and a user friendly hose-down interior. Then there was the slightly spiffier model with two tone metallic paint, a bodykit and alloy wheels. This also had a slightly better interior with velour seats replacing the vinyl seats, and power windows etc. If and when I do get another one, I think I'll try to get the more luxurious one, not that my poverty spec one was bad. It wasn't bad at all, it's just next time I want all the toys, I need the frivolity!