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!
i remember these sharing the same front end as the Proton Satria GTi (also tuned by Lotus). It was an awesome looking hot hatch and my 80 year old neighbour had one from new!
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.
Also.. nice that they at least threw one strap on that bed full of boxes. Nothing holding the ones closest to the tailgate down though.
Tie that shit down you Jumbuck!
Uhg , that front end. No thanks. It’s way too similar to the pinnacle of late 90’s front fascia boredom. The Hyundai Accent.
I love these little utes! There’s a few getting around that have been modified with Mitsubishi Evo powertrains and bodywork. They look great.
There’s just one problem… They’ve got the structural integrity of single ply toilet paper.
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.
Wait a minute, that’s not the Elise Load Lugga, Lotus’ April Fools Day joke from 2006!
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.
I love me a good, haphazardly placed rear fog light.
I’d drive it.
If you drive a Jumbuk you must be a dumb idiot.
It rhymes with a common vulgar phrase my friends have used for years.
“Hey, DUMBFUCK, ya forgot to put fuel in it!”
“I did put gas in it, you jackfuck!”
Late Ford Lotus Cortina Mk I cars reverted from coils to semi-elliptic springs for the rear suspension in 1966 as well.
Empty the bed. Just add lightness.
While not leaf springs, Lotus tuned the suspension of the 1988 Isuzu Impulse, which was based on the Chevette chassis. So solid rear axle, at least. 🙂
WRX Drivetrain swap and some rear facing jump seats and you would have a Jumbrat.
As someone else on here noted, Lancer AWD drivetrain. That makes more sense. EVO Jumbuck…
Or, in Australia, a Jumbry
I’d be weary of owning just one of these – That would come nowhere near comprising a stable nucleus.
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.)
What about the Fairthorpe Electron?
There was also the Fairthorpe Atom but it was actually smaller.
Lancer based? Well that sounds like I need one.
Unrelated- Anyone have a spare 4G63T lying around?
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.
Woah, I’d totally forgotten about these! Thanks for the nostalgia trip!