This Sandman is no ordinary beast

RICHARD Donohoe's highly modified 4WD Holden Sandman panel van is no ordinary beast - more like a monster.

Sandman panel vans came with a chassis, not the usual folded bodywork and sub-frames more common these days.

A Tasmanian firm did the initial conversion to 4WD and that chassis is now mostly a Nissan Patrol - five speed gearbox, disc brakes and wide sand tyres.

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The V8 engine rarely gets above 1600 rpm in top gear, using about 10 litres every 100km.

"That's not bad for a V8," Mr Donohoe says. "It's about the same as a Toyota Corolla."

"I'll give anyone $1000 if they can find anything quite like it."

Mr Donohoe chose the rare Mandarin colour for his wheels. "And you won't find many with Nissan Patrol running gear."

When he's not driving, Mr Donohoe "tinkers" on his Sandman at his Curra home.

"I put in electronic ignition and custom exhaust and the engine was so powerful I went through five clutches. Now it's got a racing clutch."

And there is a lot of Transport Department compliance to live up to.

"The original Sandman had leaf springs on the front, but I've got coil springs.

Greg Miller

"The police tend to pull me up and check the modifications have been approved.

"But everything's legal.

"Some pull me up just to have a look - one used to own a Sandman.

"I don't mind that at all," he said.