1998 sees Oka Motor Co. consolidating with the administrative offices moving back to the manufacturing factory in Bibra Lakes WA. Oka fell upon hard times in 1996 before being bailed out by a major shareholder. Since then the operation has been secure with four wheel drive sales steady and Oka's mainly going to 4WD tour operators, mining companies and local authorities.
Like many Australian firms, Oka will feel the effect of the Asian financial crisis of 1997/1998. In 1997 the first 10 of 50 Oka 4WD's were shipped to a major dam-building project in Sarawak. That project is now delayed for 2 years due to the crisis and there are 10 near new Oka's sitting out there at the dam site. Naturally the other 40 will not be needed for some time.
Back at home, the Australian
have perhaps two dozen Oka's in total
performing miscellaneous duties.
There are also 4 on test with the RAAF and 6 on test with the army.
Fire engine conversions are in use at air-bases
and these units are also popular with local councils.
The first Oka was built in 1992
and that well-used vehicle is still running around (right),
based at the factory.
A minor revision in 1995 made detailed improvements
for example to cab comfort.
Throughout, the Oka remains true to its
Perkins 4 litre diesel engine,
Dana Spicer manual gearbox and axles and
Rockwell transfer case.
Front and rear suspension is by live-axles and leaf springs
despite WA being the home of
Ventilated disc brakes at each wheel take care of the stopping.
The chassis is a heavy duty box-section flat ladder design.
You can buy it as a cab-chassis,
as a crew-cab with either one or two extra rows of seats,
or as a bus.
If you are considering an Oka as a 4WD camper,
you will need a truck licence because the GVM of 5.5 tons
exceeds the limit on a car licence.
A 1995 experiment was the shipping of six V8 petrol-powered Oka's (right) to the middle east, but little came of this expensive adventure. One of these trucks was back in the factory in 1998 being converted back to diesel power.
Oka 4WD 1998.
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