One of the opportunities that moving to Nigeria offers me is the availability of Japanese micro vans and pickups. They were never officially sold in the USA and thus are unable to be legally registered and driven on the road there.
I was after either a Suzuki or Daihatsu pickup but most of them were imported in a sort of CKD units. To qualify as used parts which attracts 0% custom duty as opposed to 35% custom duty, importers were simply hacking them up and crudely welding them back upon arrival in Nigeria.
Additionally they are RHD and the conversion method they use here to make them LHD is downright dangerous IMHO.
My search led me to Haruna, a 1982 Subaru Libero Super Deluxe. I found him on Iwo Road just before New Gbagi in Ibadan. He’s from the stable of a very powerful political family in Ibadan. If this was back in the USA it would have carried a premium price. Like buying a car from a Kennedy or Bush family. One example listed below sold for $13,500 (N4.6M) on Bring A Trailer.
Liberios are powered by a 3 cylinder engine. Haruna has the optional 5 speed transmission sending power to the rear wheels or all 4 wheels. Having 4 wheel drive is immensely useful in Nigeria.
Haruna came from the factory as a standard LHD. This means that the pedals are correctly placed and spaced, the wipers are parked in the proper position and the headlights are properly adjusted.
The plans for Haruna is as a driving project, a refurbishment not a restoration. The hassles of doing a full on frame off restoration in Nigeria is daunting due to the lack of support facilities, but we’ll see.
I’m addressing some torn driveshaft boots, fluid changes and new tires currently. Basically picking the low hanging fruits.
I have decided to rebuild the entire front suspension. I ordered polyurethane bushings off of eBay (USA) for the superior performance and longevity especially in the harsh conditions of Africa. I will also be ordering all new rubber boots, steering rack and tie rods.
I also ordered a few tools to make the job easier.