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US Buyer Wanting to Purchase Amarok

Discussion in 'Choosing Your VW Amarok' started by Twindorn, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Twindorn

    Twindorn
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    The Amarok is not sold in the US. However, I would like to do a jimrogers.(com) type of multi-year trip and after considerable research have decided the Amarok would be a very suitable vehicle. I''m looking for a diesel with high road clearance, good gas mileage and reliable.

    I've owned other VW trucks: a 1962 factory wide-body single cab and a 1970 double cab, that was probably my most favorite vehicle, ever. (Well, except for my 1965 4.2 E-Type Jaguar and my 1954 MG TF.) But it was under powered and finally rust made it non-drivable.

    My first dilemma seems to be finding an English speaking country that would sell me a LHD Amarok since most of the countries I would be driving drive on the left side. If that's not possible in the UK or Ireland than selecting an EU country that's easy to work with. Any suggestions? Language is definitely a problem; they neglected to tell us when we were at a learning age that foreign languages might be useful later in life.

    My intention is to carry an Autohome tent over the cab and another on a connected rack over the cargo box. Unfortunately today I learned that the rear style bars are cosmetic, not structural, so it 's back to the drawing board on how to support the second rooftop tent. I need more than one tent for various family, guests and probable interpreter in China. I'll also be pulling a small Tentrax trailer that I already own.

    My second dilemma is how and where to register and license the vehicle without a UK or EU address. Also to renew same in subsequent years. And then there's obtaining insurance.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
     

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  2. lucP

    lucP
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    What route are you planning to take? Pm me - I might have a solution!
     
  3. Twindorn

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    lucP,

    At this point I'm doing research and planning and not actually anticipating the actual beginning of the trip until April 2013. The route is not set in stone because i do not know where I will be purchasing the Amarok. The trip is scheduled to be lengthy and will include all of the EU and UK before heading East through the ....stan countries and across China.

    I see that Iceland will be receiving the Amarok in the Fall. I could begin there and ferry to the Faroe Islands and then to Denmark.
     
  4. Twindorn

    Twindorn
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    In doing my research for the Amarok, reading the specs, I noticed that the Amarok got incredibly good gas mileage compared to other pickups.

    Urban 29.1. Extra-urban 40.4 and Combined 35.8. In the US those figures are unheard of. No pickup gets that kind of mpg. Then I attributed it to being a TDI diesel because a friend has a diesel Passat that gets really good mileage.

    In other brochures I noticed a discrepancy after converting liters per 100 km to mpg. All of the figures were coming in lower. Urban 24.2, Extra-urban 33.5 and Combined 29.7. For a pickup these are still good figures. But they are 20% lower than the UK figures.

    Then, of course, I remembered that the US and UK gallons are not the same. The US gallon contains 3.785 liters per gallon and the UK Imperial gallon contains 4.546 liters per gallon.

    If a UK owner were to bring his/her Amarok to the US, all things being equal relative to the Amarok you would get 20% less mpg.

    So using liters per 100 km and converting back to familiar miles the Amarok could travel between 500 and 700 miles per tank. Carrying a spare 10 US gallons would increase that in the range of 750 to 1000+ miles.

    That should get me to 'some' petrol station.
     
  5. lucP

    lucP
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    500-700 mile range would be reasonable for an unladen truck with no trailer. depending on how fast you are travelling with your planned set-up and the terrain you are travelling over I would bank on half that mileage!
    Have tried to send you a message, but you inbox is full - the inbox when you first join is tiny!
     
  6. Twindorn

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    LucP- thanks for the info regarding mileage. Jim Rogers drove around the world over a three year period. He encountered every road imaginable. If I take this trip I imagine I'll do the same. His book, Adventure Capitalist, is an excellent read. His was quite an adventure. There's a lot of world out there to drive.

    In 2004-2005 I did a 50,000 trip around the coastline of the US and Canadian Maritime Provinces. For that trip I used a Honda Element and pulled the same trailer. The trailer fully laden weighs about 500 kg and thus only reduced my mpg by one mpg. It's strongly built and tracks nicely.

    My inbox says this: Inbox contains 0 messages. You have 2 messages stored, of a total 2 allowed. (Empty Folder). I couldn't find anything in the inbox and pushed "Empty Folder". It stated "Yes", meaning to empty the inbox. I pushed yes and nothing happened. But maybe now that I have four posts it will automatically remedy itself.

    I've been all over the Internet checking Amaroks. None seem to be sold LHD in an English speaking country. I initially assumed they were built in Germany, being a German vehicle. I discovered they're built in Pacheco, near Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    So far there doesn't seem to be a real advantage - that I can determine - between the Hilux or Amarok. Except, that if a variety of drivers with me have to learn stick driving on a RHD vehicle, then maybe the automatic Hilux might be a better choice.

    Being a new member I can't PM.

    The research goes on.
     
  7. orion

    orion
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    Looks like an interesting project you have on the go there.

    One thing that might be worthwhile considering for a trans-globe trip would be spares availability and local knowledge of your chosen vehicle. In that respect, and while I'm totally sold on the Amarok, the Toyota is going to have the edge for quite a while until the Amarok becomes more widely available and the second line trade networks and shadetree mechanics catch up.
     
  8. Twindorn

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    I'm discovering the same thing- mechanics are parts are more available.

    I love the Amarok, that is basically a first generation vehicle, whereas the Hilux is now an eighth generation vehicle and was updated for 2012 (probably because of the Amarok competition).
     
  9. Twindorn

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    With a response from a Glasgow dealership as well as NZ and checking all other English speaking countries, they can only source RHD Amaroks. Same with the Hilux. To register and license either in a "foreign country" I need an address for the license plates to be sent and for annual renewal.

    Then I stopped to consider how many RDH vs LHD countries I wanted to visit on my trip. It's more than 20 to 1 for LHD. Then where to purchase? I decided on a non-EU country in EU proximity. Researching, that left three countries: Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. The prices are not the same in the three countries and trying to translate Islandic and Norwegian are next to impossible.

    In Switzerland English is spoken more frequently due to banking. Since my heritage and modified last name are Swiss I decided that's where I will purchase an Amarok or Hilux. The vehicle of choice will be decided later after further consideration.

    Now apparently I will need to establish a Swiss address, whatever that entails.

    It's amazing how many hoops one must jump through to take a driving trip. All I want to do is see the world. And being somewhat of a turtle take my home with me- an Autohome, or two or three.
     
  10. Twindorn

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    It's been an amazing and sometimes frustrating week of research. I came up against several walls that I couldn't negotiate around. I definitely would love to purchase and own an Amarok. I've also been impressed with what I've read about the Hilux. But in the end neither truck would work for what I'm intending. And that is through no fault of either vehicle.

    I've written to people in the UK, NZ, Egypt (no response, Iceland, VW in Argentina (no response) and Switzerland. Currently all Amaroks are manufactured in Pacheco, Argentina (near Buenos Aires. The Hilux have several manufacturing locations, most of which are RHD countries, and hence, manufacture RHD Hilux. In addition to the diesel Hilux there seem to be a few petrol Hilux but the only places that I could find that sold them were Dubai (LHD) and Zimbabwe (RHD).

    Because I preferred a LHD Vehicle I had to narrow my research. In all cases I would need an address in the country of purchase to register and license the vehicle. Finally I narrowed my search to three non-EU countries that are LHD- Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Norway was eliminated first due to language considerations. ArticTrucks in Icelend told me they could sell me a Hilux and make mods. At least there I could also communicate in English. Switzerland may have been my ultimate choice for banking reasons. I was close to either of those two countries until I researched fuel.

    Not all Hilux are the same. Many are manufactured for 'developing countries'- Africa below the Med countries as an example. I suspect the same for the Amarok because of where some are sold- Egypt for example. I arrived at this conclusion after researching petrol and diesel fuel. Except for a couple of countries pretty much the whole world has upgraded to unleaded petrol. Not so with diesel. And this was the killer for my choice of Amarok and Hilux. The Uk, EU, Australia and the US allow only <15 ppm of sulphur in diesel fuel. NZ and Chile have upgraded to <50 ppm. Argentina allows <500 ppm. China on the other hand still allows <500 ppm in some cities and 500 to 2000 ppm for the country. Egypt and Sudan, both countries I might pass through, allow 5000 to 10,000 ppm sulphur updated to a 2011 report. This meant that if I bought an Amarok or Hilux, lets say in the UK, I could not drive it to most of the world simply because I could not purchase the necessary grade of diesel to operate it. I actually first learned of the limitation in considering a Mercedes Sprinter; their website mentioned that using the wrong diesel would severely damage the engine and void the warranty. In other words, I could not take the trip I'm envisioning and planning. Jim Rogers was fortunate when he took his Millennium trip, diesel regs were apparently not as stringent then or he had his engine modified (illegally) to burn any diesel.

    So now it meant a petrol vehicle at a huge sacrifice in mpl- like a 35% sacrifice. Ouch!!! In talking to the VW and Toyota dealers during the week both said they love the trucks but can't get them. But for me, it wouldn't help me even if they could source them.

    Yesterday my granddaughter and I decided to go kick tires. We first tried a Toyota FJ Cruiser (also available in Dubai) and the level of finish and detailing surprised me- we liked it. With a short wheel-base it was very agile and fun to drive; behind the seats storage is very limited. Then we drove the Toyota Tacoma, the US version of the Hilux only petrol. It fit like a glove and is also available with a long 73.5" cargo bed in addition to the 60.3" bed. Nice finish, nice detailing, high resale value, excellent reputation. After that we drove the Nissan XTerra but it felt to large and clumsy and the interior finish was too plastic even in the higher grade but good storage behind the seats. It was quickly eliminated. Finally we drove the Honda Ridgeline. It had the most interior room and great under-cargo bed storage. It was a nice drive except the lumbar support kept bugging me even after adjustment. Granddaughter liked it best and in lots of ways is the most practical and gets the best mpl. I had decided to give it another drive next week even though it isn't a real 4X4. The all-wheel drive can be locked into 4X4. It's the least 'truck-like'.

    Continuing the research when I got home I determined there's a likelihood the Honda Ridgeline will be discontinued after this year. The same rumor existed in 2010. Sales of the Ridgeline have not met expectations.

    The Ridgeline is eliminated, as well as the XTerra and the Fj Cruiser.

    And the winner is- The Toyota Tacoma, as a compromise, but only in fuel economy.

    So all of you lucky owners and would be owners, enjoy your Amaroks. Just don't venture too far from your cozy locations.
     
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  11. lucP

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    You could, of course, do what a lot of other people do and that's buy a second hand land rover, or Nissan patrol or Mercedes g wagon. No issues with fuel quality on the older cars and spares are easy to get or manufacture. Spend the money on getting the vehicle rebuilt to your standards with your spec - eg decent seats, air con, fuel tank and suspension mods.
    Its worth pointing out that jims slk was based on a gwagon.
    Just my 2 cents worth..
     
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  12. Twindorn

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    I feel like I've been chasing my own tail since my last post and I don't have a tail.

    lucP, thanks for your suggestions. Apparently sulphur content in diesel fuel may not be the issue I led myself to understand it was in new vehicles. Other than an older vehicle as you suggest, there are not any efficient diesels available in the US that I could get parts and service for worldwide. That would seem to leave out any new diesel (and petrol) vehicle from the US. Then trying to register and license a new diesel vehicle, or any vehicle for that matter, in a "foreign country" seems, again, to be the dilemma.

    My other dilemma is buying a vehicle of sufficient length to accommodate two Autohome tents on the roof top. I will be taking a look at the G-wagon that I believe are available in the US.

    Why does life have to be so bloody complicated! I just want to drive around the world with my daughter and granddaughter such that they can both experience there's more to life then our limited US perspective.
     
  13. lucP

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    "I just want to drive around the world with my daughter and granddaughter such that they can both experience there's more to life then our limited US perspective"

    Very laudible. When you do get to Europe then you will have to drop me a line to meet up - I'll either be based in France or the UK depending on the day of the week!
     
  14. Twindorn

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    lucP, as you post I've been reading about new G-wagons (as a frame of reference). It costs about £78,000 and gets a lousy 14.4 mpg (UK) urban and 18 mpg (UK) highway. That's about three times the cost of a Hilux and less than half the mileage. I guess if you have the money to buy one you're not supposed to worry about economy in mileage. For me it's more about respect for the planet.

    Next I'll be looking at used ones.

    Thanks for the contact. I'll be sure to write if I get that far.
     
  15. Pelorus32

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    Firstly congratulations on your goals. It's a pity more people didn't think like you. The world would be a better place.

    The older G-wagen will go anywhere and be reliable, my experience is that they are awfully slow. The benefit is that they come from a world before "clean" diesel and common rail. The downside is the same - the focus on refinement and economy was not there for those engine designs.

    Going back to the Amarok. There are some countries of the world where they are sold without a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). That seems to be the key issue with high sulphur diesel. The DPF doesn't cope. So in South Africa my understanding is they don't have a DPF. I wonder if it's the same in South America? Alternatively I believe that there are instructions on this site for the removal of the DPF. I know a member, BVR Automotive, can provide assistance there. An upside seems to be increased grunt and perhaps better fuel economy.

    The other thing about your search is that whilst many countries selling LHD may not be "english speaking", my experience is that many people generally speak much better English than we do spanish, portuguese or whatever. I would expect you to get good service from individual dealers keen to make a sale.

    Please keep us posted, and regardless of what you buy we want to know the blog address for your trip!
     
  16. Twindorn

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    Today I informed the US Toyota dealer that the Tacoma and FJ Cruiser are no-goes. Petrol is not the answer. Period. The VW dealer, next door to the Toyota dealer mentioned the TDi Touareg. Preliminary research suggests that in making it more sellable to the US market (at least it's available in diesel) they basically sanitized it removing what "might" make it a considered choice. Gone are the gas suspension and 4Xmotion. They dropped the "X" and now has only a fixed 7.9" road clearance. In its upgrades it became more "car" than SUV. Of course, in the EU you can still get the 4Xmotion with the Terrain Tech package.

    Overall, the Hilux that I have been communicating with ArticTrucks in Iceland about seems the best overall choice. Maybe the Particulate Filter (as Pelorus 32 mentioned for the Amarok- thanks) if one is on the Hilux would also have to be removed.

    Still, there is how to register and license. I have a cousin in Scotland and her daughter is married to a Frenchman. I might be able to finagle an address and purchase through them. TBD. RHD is probably the least of my worries. I could live with it. I won't be doing a lot of passing other vehicles. If, indeed, I get to take this trip, speed isn't the issue.

    My granddaughter is totally excited about the possibility of taking this trip. She's 13 now and would be a couple of weeks shy of 15 when she joins me. It's a good thing I have a year to prep this. At the rate I'm going I'll need it.

    Iceland is where I would prefer to begin but that is totally flexible until I finally determine where I can purchase, register and license. From the US would be easiest for me but all I hit here is wall after wall.
     
  17. Twindorn

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    After researching new vehicles for three months I'm finally coming to a conclusion. I would love to purchase a diesel Amarok, Hilux or EU Touareg but so far it's problematic for reasons already stated above.

    I currently own a 2003 AllWD Honda Element and Tentrax trailer that I purchased for the 2004-2005 50,000 mile trip. Both are in good condition and have good miles left on them. On that trip I averaged 24 (UK) mpg and had a cargo box and kayak on top as well as the trailer- lots of windage. They're now worth 25% of original sticker price.

    Driving across the US and shipping to Iceland in May 2013, by June the circumference road should be drivable in the Element. Then I would ferry to the Faroe Islands and onward to Denmark. The first year would be spent in the EU, UK and Scandinavia. More of the EU in Spring 2014 and then eastward across the ....stans and China with Japan the Fall of 2014. Then SE Asia, AU and NZ in 2015.

    The roads through the ...stans may be rough, maybe parts of China as well, but 7" of clearance should see me through there. I'll have to purchase regular unleaded and deal with any dirty fuel I may encounter. Parts? Service? Probably non-existent. At least so far the Element has been trustworthy. Only replaced the front shocks and door actuator.

    Once I get to AU or NZ I would reassess the trip. If I decide to continue by then the Element will be fully depreciated- basically worth nothing. At that point I can (somewhat) rationalize taking the Element to a scrapyard for recycling. I would retain the trailer and Autohome tents and purchase a new vehicle, staying long enough to establish an address for registration and on-going licensing.

    At that point I will be 75 yo and the more difficult and challenging portion of the trip lies ahead- Africa and the Middle East. Will I take my granddaughter there? I would like to but I will not jeopardize her safety. That could be the time she returns to the US for her final year of high-school. Would I do that portion of the trip on my own? TBD.

    If you spot an Element with the personalized Washington state license plate 5, that's me. Just plain number 5, nothing else.
     
  18. Twindorn

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    Just a quick edit.

    If the Element is still serviceable by AU or NZ I'll ship it back to the US instead of scrapping it such that granddaughter can use it during her senior year of high school.

    Interesting info posted elsewhere removing the DPF for the Amarok. I assume that could probably also be done on the Hilux.
     
  19. vodkawodka

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    I agree a land rover or lancruiser then sell it before coming home. No problems with getting fixed and you can get a diesel. Or by a American 4x4 and leave it . Just a thought...
     
  20. JAKE BULLIT

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  21. Twindorn

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    Thanks everyone for you suggestions. I'm considering all of them.

    It's difficult doing comparisons between vehicles when so many are not available in the US. The VW Touareg is an exception except that the 4XMOTION (4WD) is not available to the US market. The 4MOTION (AWD) is available. So I did comparisons between the UK, DE and the US.

    Using common denominators: liters per 100 kilometers based in Euros for diesel fuel costs in February 2012.

    The data that VW provides in their brochure indicates that the Touareg gets: urban 8.2 l/100 km and extra urban 6.6 l/100 km in both the UK and Germany. In the US the same vehicle with the same engine gets 12.38 l/100 km urban and 8.4 l/100 km extra urban.

    So whereas the cost of diesel is seemingly the least expensive in the US, the actual cost in the US is highest because of the lessor efficiency of the engine. An engine that is supposed to be the same in all three countries- the 3.0 V6 TDI 240 hp.

    The only explanation I can come up with is that the US engines are being chipped and mapped to be less efficient.

    As for which vehicle is ultimately chosen to drive after the first two years using the Element, that decision will have to wait until I can access what is available in the US or elsewhere. It's difficult to pre-plan what may or may not be available at that time.

    In the meantime I've been reading Do's and Taboos Around the World. It's definitely been educational. I can only hope that what I've written in these posts has not butchered the English language too terribly.
     
  22. Twindorn

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  23. Pelorus32

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    BTW I think you have your litres and gallons mixed up here. The costs per 100 kilometres are nothing like what you have quoted, because you have used litres/100 km but substituted in the gallon price rather than the litre price.

    Regards
    P32
     
  24. Pelorus32

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    Of course you could get yourself those kinds of costs by buying a Unimog U400 or U500 with Vario Pilot. The Vario Pilot allows you to slide the wheel, pedals and instruments from side to side in about 1 minute so you can drive on whichever side of the road is current. You can get them with all sorts of expedition backs on them and the resale values remain very high.
    The U300, U400 and U500 are much more civilised than many of the other 'Mogs on the road.
    See here for example. They do about 20 litres/100km on road and about 40 - 50 litres/100km in soft sand and dunes. the vehicle in that link has Vario Pilot and working gears fitted.
    moghvn.jpg
     
  25. Twindorn

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    Pelorus32, I was projecting prices for after the strike is over. LOL.

    No, you are correct. I did exactly what you said, substituted gallons for liters.

    DE urban €12.38 and extra urban €9.51 /100 km
    UK urban €13.86 and extra urban €10.65 /100 km
    US urban €13.25 and extra urban €8.99 /100 km.

    Thanks for pointing out the error. Hopefully it will be some time before we get to my first posted figures.
    As a teen I can remember when petrol sold for about 7.7 US cents per liter.
     
  26. Twindorn

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    Actually, what I truly have in mind is a vehicle that doesn't require any fossil fuel, will function in and medium- air, water or on land. It would be silent, stealth, and could transform itself at a push of the button to become a "camper" when a desired location was chosen. And of course- that price would below reasonable.
     
  27. dionysis22

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    If I were to go round the world then I would get me a Kamaz.....

    As a sideline I own a zetor tractor and that would go round the world and would run on anything even waxed out diesel. I ran it for 3 months without any cooling water and didn't notice, unfortunately the steering is a bit dodgy now so it isnt going anywhere and the cab is big enough for 4...
     
  28. volvos60r

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    Hi, I have a suggestion for you so you can purchase an Amarok without so much hassle.
    If you live in the U.S. the best thing for you is to buy it in Mexico.
    You can fly to El Paso,TX then cross the border and buy it in Ciudad Juarez, you do not need to supply a permanent address to register and insure the vehicle since most people who live in these 2 border towns do not own a residence.
    As long as you are paying in full at the time of purchase everything is going to be pretty quick to do. Buying a brand new car in Mexico is fairly easy.
    A 4X4 Amarok ranges between $ 346.000 mxn and $ 482.000 mxn, they will be able to manage with the english speaking part, and as long as you can meet U.S. emission regulations, which an Amarok should not have any problem with since it meets Euro IV regulations, you could be able to register it in the U.S.
    The only thing you should take into consideration is telling the dealer you need to have the rear fog light and DRL circuit installed at the Pacheco assembly plant before taking delivery, they will not be able to install them at the dealer since these are not required by law in Mexico. Volkswagen simply saves money by not installing them on vehicles sold in Mexico. All european countries require this equipment to be installed on any motor vehicle.
    Here is the direct link to the dealership in Ciudad Juarez,Chihuahua: Concesionario Volkswagen México you can ask them all your questions directly.
    I hope this can help you.
     
  29. Twindorn

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    Thanks volvo60r. That's a good solution.

    I've given up on the trip and I'm planning other adventures. However, if the Amorak is ever made available to US dealerships I may purchase one then. At some point I would need service and parts and having to obtain those through a foreign country just isn't worth the hassle.
     
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