Like some kind of railroad-era tall tale, ARB was born on a trip across Australia. While scrubbing through Google Maps for details about this trip, I noticed two things. The first was that it took me a very long time to find a town any larger than our warehouse that didn’t have its own race track. The second was that there isn’t a massive selection of roads linking those towns. So we can come to two conclusions: Aussies love to drive, and Aussies are inherently off-road creatures.
It might be deduced, then, if you factor in Australia’s extreme heat, dry climate, and record for the most dangerous animals in the world, that good off-road equipment there isn’t just a convenience. It’s a matter of life and death.
Built on the Road
Anthony Ronald Brown started ARB as a necessity after driving his beat-up Land Rover through Australia’s infamous Top End to Cape York. It was 1975, which meant there weren’t many options if you wanted tougher-than-stock off-road gear, and along the way Tony came across more broken vehicles than he could count, their elements thoroughly pummeled by the harsh Australian environment.
Tony got home and started his business with heavy duty ARB bumpers and roof racks, and it has rather expanded from there. Today ARB is Australia’s largest 4×4 accessories manufacturer, and they distribute to over 100 countries around the world.
You can tell ARB takes a rather different approach than most off-road gear manufacturers.
Built for Everything
ARB takes a comprehensive angle with their gear. They want to build everything you’ll need to outfit your truck, Jeep, or SUV for adventure. They make roof-rack tents, but they also make suspension elements through their Old Man Emu brand. They build bumpers, but also fog lights. Roof racks and skid plates. They construct for different levels of offroading, from simple vacationing to motorsport. They even make portable refrigerators.
Built for Extremes
Yes, there is an ARB fridge chest for your truck. And you don’t even have to drive an 18-wheeler to feel like it should be there. This might seem like overkill if you’re just going out for a Saturday wheel, but in Australia you could be in the Outback for days between towns. This is a much better solution than just packing a cooler and hoping you can find enough ice.
Built for Fun
You love a good challenge, but wheeling, mudding, and rock climbing shouldn’t be another day at the office. Off-roading shouldn’t be hard work. That’s why ARB air lockers exist. Like any diff locks, they’ll vastly improve traction. But unlike some, they lock up with a little switch in the dry warmth of the cabin. When you spend as much time off road as the average Australian, you want to streamline the process as much as possible.
Built for You
When ARB first started making bumpers, they were for Land Rovers. Then they expanded to Toyota, Nissan, and the other brands common to Australia. But now they’ve gone global, which means they have a large and growing catalog for local stuff by Jeep, Chevy and GMC, Ram, and Ford. They even have a Hummer H3 line.
Buying a winch, bumper, or side rail kit tested in Australia is like buying a rifle tested in Afghanistan. You probably won’t have to put it through all it could take. But if you have to, it’s good to know that it will hang tough.
Take a look, mate.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.