Original RAV4: Off-Road King?

Cute Ute Conquers Mojave: 119 Miles
Rav4 Takes on The Mojave Desert Road in One Day

It is entertaining to see a diminutive vehicle do things that can easily be thought of as beyond its capability. The 1996 three-door, four-wheel-drive Toyota RAV4, by tackling the 119-mile Mojave Trail between California and Nevada, is a shining example of this.

This tiny vehicle is owned by Stephan Papadakis from Papadakis Racing. With some alterations to its off-roading features such as a coilover set, an exclusive front skid plate, and a Toyota 3S-GTE turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder result in a power output of 260 horsepowers. For transmission, it still has a five-speed manual shift with no low-range transfer case.

The Mojave Road Trail offers off-roaders a variety of scenery to explore, comprised of Joshua tree-lined sections, dried-out lakes, sandy hills, and plenty of rough spots. It’s an ideal combination of terrains for an all-day jeep ride.

Papadakis’ revised RAV4 proved to be a star in the relentless surroundings. He was even able to overcome the water on a moistened strip of the pathway. His greatest difficulty, however, was scaling an elevated cliff with sizeable holes. Papadakis had to pick just the suitable route as the 2Toyota did not have much suppleness in its suspension and no special transferable gear to get the strength down. With some minor modifications, though, he inevitably achieved the pinnacle.

As the trail nears its terminus there lays a tricky segment replete with capricious stones. Immediately upon entering it, the exhaust hanger fractures, rendering the muffler and associated piping dragging listlessly along the ground. Papadaki resolves this conundrum swiftly and easily by making use of an extraneous alternator belt and some zip ties to fasten the tube firmly onto the car frame. All mulled over, this “Rough and Tough” RAV4 has only sustained a minor mishap.

If you are interested in viewing more of this specially designed RAV4, then the following video will present the setup of its inventive suspension.

RAV4 Build Part 2 - Install and Test Racing Suspension

Source: PapadakisRacing via YouTube, via Carbuzz

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