Pretoria - Each year the Ranger Odyssey off-road challenge sees 10 finalists tackling some of Southern Africa's toughest driving challenges in an action-packed cross-continent adventure, driving specially-equipped, locally built Ford Ranger bakkies.
In September, this year's Odyssey competitors will face the most testing terrain that Namibia has to offer over 12 days, 13 stages, and 2500km - and one team of two people will each win the opportunity to drive an Odyssey Ranger for a year.
This year, however, for the first time Ford is building more than just the dozen or so 'Odyssey specials' required for the contest.
From now until the end of September, off-road enthusiasts will be able to buy their own Odyssey Ranger.
It's based on the recently released 'mine-hardened' XL-Plus version, which is specially beefed up for heavy-duty mining and construction work with a corrosion-treated, up-rated frame that allows for a 3500kg towing capacity, special front drive-shaft joints designed to cope with extreme mud environments and stone protection for the rear suspension.
But wait, as they say, there's more…
In addition, the limited-edition double-cab Odyssey Ranger comes with an accessory pack that includes a snorkel, allowing drivers to cross deeper bodies of water without endangering the engine, a steel bull-bar to protect the front end, a differential guard to shield the drive-train from marauding rocks, a rubberised load box and black 17" alloy rims.
Power is provided by a 2.2-litre Duratorq engine - built at the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth - rated for 110kW at 3700rpm and 375Nm from 1500-2500rpm, mated to a six-speed manual transmission with a transfer 'box for high and low-range all-wheel drive and a lockable rear differential.
All of which is yours for R415 750, with four-year or 120 000km warranty and five-year or 90 000km service plan; service intervals are 15 000km.