This is a Blizzard from Rhino Buggies, it’s one of the world’s more unusual kit cars and it hails from Australia – one of the best countries in the world for off-roading.
The Blizzard was originally offered in two wheelbase versions, long or short, both were based on a Nissan Patrol chassis and running gear. Rhino Buggies supplied all-steel bodies that bolted directly to the Patrol chassis, with styling clearly influenced by the American Humvee.
Fast Facts – The Rhino Buggies Blizzard
- Rhino Buggies was established in Australia to build two primary kit cars – the Blizzard and the Hammer. The Blizzard was the more extreme of the two, offering bold looks and excellent off-road ability. The Hammer was similar though it was more of a Humvee replica.
- Both the Blizzard and thew Hammer were based on Nissan Patrol chassis suiting either the MQ or GQ models. Long and short wheelbase options were offered, and both had steel bodies that could be bolted directly to the Patrol chassis – simplifying construction.
- Sadly it appears that Rhino Buggies is no more. Life is hard in the kit car industry and it looks as though the Great Recession of 2008/2009 may have spelled the end for the company as orders dried up.
- The vehicle you see here is thought to be the only Rhino Buggies Blizzard in Britain. It’s road registered and ready to go, with power provided by a hefty small block Chevrolet 350 V8 mated to a Turbo 400 automatic transmission. It also has a dual-range transfer case and locking hubs front and back.
The Blizzard by Rhino Buggies Australia
The Rhino Buggies Blizzard remains a largely unknown 4×4, few outside of Australia have even heard of it and even within the country it’s still very much a rarity. The vehicle was developed for serious off-road enthusiasts who didn’t mind attracting a little bit of attention.
According to the brochure from 2006 it was possible to build one from scratch for $35,000 AUD – that’s $23,747 USD at the current exchange rate (not accounting for inflation).
Sadly Rhino Buggies now appears to be out of business, they seemingly vanished around the same time as the Great Recession of 2008/2009, a period in which many small companies closed their doors for the last time due to a lack of sales. When they were still in business they offered two major model variants – the Rhino Buggies Hammer and the Rhino Buggies Blizzard.
The Hammer was essentially a Humvee replica, it could be ordered in long or short wheelbase versions with six doors, four doors, or a pickup truck-style rear end.
The Blizzard was a more extreme off-road buggy, though it still had some Humvee styling particularly around the front end. Both vehicles had all steel bodies, forward opening hoods, wind up windows, padded dashboards, flat windscreens, and boxy styling.
Both the Blizzard and the Hammer were designed to fit the Nissan Patrol chassis, both long and short wheelbase versions were supported. The MQ and GQ Patrol variants could both be used, the former offered the ruggedness of leaf springs and the latter offered the ride benefits of coils.
Some kits were built using the original Nissan Patrol drivetrain, this was certainly the simplest option and the most cost-effective. Some were built by people who wanted more performance, with American V8s taking the place of the original Patrol diesel or petrol engines.
Of course, the addition of a V8 gave plenty of torque and power but the downside was considerably increased fuel consumption – though one could argue that no one building one of these 4x4s in the hope of taking it hypermiling.
It’s not known how many Blizzards were made and the company history of Rhino Buggies is largely lost, we do know that examples of the vehicle were registered in almost every Australian state and territory, so it’s likely safe to assume that at least a dozen were completed.
The Rhino Buggies Blizzard Shown Here
The vehicle you see here is an original Blizzard from 2006, and interestingly, it’s believed to be the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom.
This Blizzard was made using the short wheelbase version of the Blizzard kit, it has a black all-steel body, an interior with light turquoise upholstery, seating for two, and a rear storage area that’s currently being used to store the spare wheel.
Power is provided by a 350 cubic inch (5.7 liter) small block Chevrolet V8 which is mated to an automatic Turbo 400 transmission. It also has a dual-range transfer case and locking hubs front and back.
Inside you’ll find OBX reclining bucket seats, a BM shifter, an Evo dash display, LCD sunvisor screens, an impressive sound system, fighter-jet style controls, as well as Solex locks and central locking.
The kit was delivered to Leeds in England in 2005, the first owner then assembled it and had it MOT’d and road-legal just a year later in 2006. It rides on 15” Eagle alloy wheels with 38.5” Mickey Thompson tires on all four corners, and it has a distinctive rhino decal on either side.
If you’d like to read more about this highly unusual 4×4 you can visit the listing on Car & Classic here. It’s being sold out of Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom with a current MOT until 2024.
Images courtesy of Car & Classic
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.