I’ve told this story (in various lengths) many a time on this website but why not once more with a few more details?

I wanted an offroad rig. Something I could use for camping. Something that was kinda serious about going offroad. No, not a jeep, a real offroad rig. Something rugged and mostly indestructible. My horrible friend told me the tale of his pinzgauer. I started looking these things up....fuck. Now I had to have one.

There is a dealership or two...but the best selection (usually)is in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I very much do not live in Arkansas. Or within 5000 miles of there... So I did what any sane person would do: I bought it sight unseen and booked a flight, and a matson reservation to take it the last 3000 miles across the ocean. I’d never driven, sat in, or even seen a pinzgauer in person.

Understand that this trip, as scheduled, was about 2000 miles of driving. It was January. The truck’s reasonable max cruise was right around 45mph. The heater (hahahaha) is a heat exchanger from the exhaust...on an air cooled engine. It was good for about 30 degrees above ambient temp. Not particularly helpful when the temp outside is in the teens.

To make the drop off for the boat, 12+ hour days on the road were needed. I drove straight through Oklahoma...because Oklahoma. I got pulled over in Texas at night because “Someone gunna run you over going that slow boy. You have to have your hazards on.” Yes officer, the 8 foot tall, 6 wheel drive military truck with giant reflective red crosses on the sides and back is very much in danger of being run over. She weighed in at just over a standard diesel HD pickup and had bumpers designed to knock small trees over. I turned on my hazards and got the fuck out of Texas before the banjo music started. I stopped in Albuquerque, NM and parked next to a much more modern ambulance for a photo op. Hopefully I can get it to show up without being Kinja’ed.

I headed to Nevada to swing by Vegas and see an old friend. The guys at the Hoover dam bomb inspection point spent about 20 minutes asking questions and looking at all the old military hardware. The next day I headed north with a plan to spend the night in south lake Tahoe before crossing into Cali and dropping the truck off in Oakland for its voyage. I found a blizzard. The pinzgauer did 45 when it was warm and sunny...and 45 in a driving blizzard. All wheel drive, even without the hydraulic lockers, she just meandered along on the highway headed north. I had a number of cars attempt to pass me only to almost lose control on the unplowed lane and finally see what was blazing the trail at the front of the line. I must have had 30 cars following me into Tahoe that night.

The next morning I headed west into California and made a quick stop at another shop that sells pinzgauers to pick up a few interesting parts I couldn’t get at the other place. It was pouring rain when I got to Matson and they told me they couldn’t find my reservation. Thankfully I found the number after getting thoroughly soaked and stressed. 3 hours later I was on a plane back to Hawaii.

It was almost 50 hours of driving in something that had no power steering, cruise control, power brakes, climate control, radio, or even armrests in the middle of winter. And the engine noise...is something to be experienced. Quiet it is not, and I mean in the cab, not outside. The suspension is...quite unforgiving, and the seats are sad little cushions bolted to the fenders.

It was amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat.