Home Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Automotive journalist specialising in 4X4s, sportscars, camping and future tech.

Manual cars of all types are dying out, and that’s tragic…isn’t it?

Can car lovers learn to live without manuals? How much fun would golf be if you just loaded a ball into a gun, pressed the trigger, and the ball was shot out of the gun towards the green at exactly the right velocity? And why do people sail boats, when they could far more easily just […]

How to choose your hobby

Bored? Want to get into something, but not sure what? Lots of people have interests, hobbies, recreations…call it what you will, activities that take up a lot of their time. Many people don’t, and they’re quite happy that way. But there’s lots of others who wish they could find something to do with their time. […]

Why are diesels turbocharged?

The short answer is “because they need it”.  Here’s the long answer, and why. Your internal combustion engine, be it diesel or petrol, draws air in through valves as the piston moves down inside its cylinder.  Then the valves are closed, and the piston moves back up.  A petrol engine creates a compressed mixture of […]

What’s more fun – a fast 4WD or a fast car?

I don’t know how many car magazines there are in the world, but it’s a lot.  Nor do I know how many car clubs there but, but “a lot” certainly would be an understatement.   This is proof cars and driving are fun, but certain types of cars are perhaps more fun than others.   For example, […]

How modern 4X4s should be designed

I’d like to introduce a new concept to the designers of offroad vehicles.  It’s the same one used to design complex IT systems when the consequences of failure cost a lot of money, loss of reputation or even lives.  It’s called graceful degradation, and it’s not that hard. Let’s say you’re designing a high-volume retail […]

So what is track damage, and how do we prevent it?

Nobody wants to see more track closures.  We all want tracks that offer us a choice of anything from a scenic drive to a winch challenge, and we want emergency vehicles to be able to use the access tracks they need.  Yet tracks aren’t static paths, but are in a state of perpetual change.  As […]

Coil suspension or air suspension?

Air or coil suspension? Deciding which new vehicle to buy can be hard enough, and then you have to make a call on the fundamentals such as the engine and transmission before the detailed decisions like trim levels and options. Now there’s another decision to be made and that’s coil or height-adjustable air suspension, this […]

Should you lock your centre diff for offroading?

It’s always interesting to learn new driving techniques and understand different thinking. Any group of people will naturally become a little insular and some techniques may just be accepted unquestioningly as “the way things are done”, with nobody wanting to rock the boat or consider alternatives, and one of the best ways to explore new […]

Quick look at the new Defender

Several readers have been talking about the new Defender, and some have sent photos and video, so I thought I’d share some with the readers. I haven’t yet driven or even seen a Defender so this isn’t a review, but nevertheless should be helpful for prospective owners. Here’s the Defender showings its variable height air-suspension […]

Should offroad trailers be banned?

Every time we head off into the outback the percentage of 4WDs towing something has increased. There are good reasons for the trailer-mania; modern vehicles have power to spare and make excellent towcars, people need (want) to take more stuff on holiday and there’s a thriving trailer manufacturer industry which has spawned an equally active […]