Cold Start: The Lotus Pickup Truck, Sorta

Cs Proton

Proton is one of those carmakers that’s barely known in America, and when it is even recognized, tends to be more of a punchline than anything else. I think that’s kind of unfair, because sometimes they do things that pretty much no one else has, like selling a small FWD pickup truck with handling tuned by Lotus. How many other Lotus-tuned factory pickup trucks can you think of?

The Proton Arena (native Malasian markets ) or Jumbuck (exports) is based on their Wira sedan, which in turn was based on the Mitsubishi Lancer. I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly sure what Lotus did in tuning the handling, but they did something, and I suspect this is one of the very few times Lotus tuned a rear suspension with leaf springs in it.

This thing is cool. Respect to our Proton-owning readers!

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24 Responses

    1. 75% of the universe would disagree with you 😉

      (I was looking around for cars called “Electron” to finish the joke, and I figured there’d be loads, but I could only find one; the Blade Electron, built in Australia about ten years ago. There was also a student built car called the Electron and the team was sponsored by Lotus, bringing us full circle.)

    1. I don’t know Lancers and Mitsubishi engines well at all, is that the engine from the Proton Satria GTi?
      In the UK, that’s the donor for people making fast Jumbucks.
      There are a few that have what must be full Lancer AWD drivetrains in them, they’re seriously quick and handle great.
      They always look too Lancer-y, in my opinion. A drivetrain swapped sleeper Jumbuck would be awesome – a pipe rack and banded steel wheels.

    1. It rhymes with a common vulgar phrase my friends have used for years.

      “Hey, DUMBFUCK, ya forgot to put fuel in it!”

      Another variation:

      “I did put gas in it, you jackfuck!”

  1. Back when I was a kid, my parents went through a few proton personas (UK version of the non-pickup version of this), including an SRi, which I believe had the 1.8 lancer engine & lotus-tuned suspension; that also had an entirely green interior, which was kind of odd.

  2. A friend of mine still has her Jumbuck, now relegated to the family farm. Not a particularly comfortable vehicle if you’re over 6ft tall. The Lancer mechanicals mean these things can just keep going and going.

    Jumbucks were popular here in Australia for night watchmen, they didn’t catch on with farmers quite like the Subaru Brumby (BRAT) did in the 80s.
    Now the car for the discerning night security company seems to be the new Jimny, which hopefully helps with job satisfaction.

  3. Here in australia where ute ownership can border on religious zeal, this car occupied a strange niche. I’m sure most bought them because they couldnt afford a ‘real’ ute.
    And i *know* many other ute owners looked down at them.A bit of a shame in my opinion.
    They’re a neat little machine.

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