Behind the scenes at the South African company building Dakar race cars – TopAuto
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Behind the scenes at the South African company building Dakar race cars

The Red-Lined Revo rally vehicle was announced in August, and at the time we were fortunate enough to get a behind-the-scenes look at where this car is built.

Red-Lined was established after team boss Terence Marsh travelled overseas in 2012 in search of a car suitable to race the Dakar.

Empty-handed, Marsh returned to South Africa to design and build his own car – and the Revo presented a completely clean slate for Red-Lined to imagine the ideal rally vehicle.

The Revo has been fully developed in-house by the South African FIA-spec rally car builder – which is based in Midrand, Gauteng.

While the team has built and several Red-Lined Nissan Navaras for various cross country race series, the Revo is an entirely new car designed to take on the FIA’s World Cross Country Series.

These rallies occur across the globe, with teams traversing at least 1,200km over five days in the most gruelling conditions.

This includes the Silk Way Rally across Russia, the Abu Dhabi desert, and the Dakar.

The Revo

It’s not unless one of these racing bakkies carves through one of the many traffic circles in the Kyalami Office Park that you’d know the world-class production facility was building the Revo.

With its agreement with Nissan having come to an end in 2020, Red-Lined designed a T1.1 class vehicle that brought all the best elements of practical design, aerodynamics, and best handling-principles to an off-road car.

Manufacturer guidelines relating to where to place the spare tyres, radiator, and engine – as well as which axles to use – were optimised and no longer dictated by a “road car” design.

This meant weight distribution, the centre of gravity, driver and navigator usability, aerodynamics, and power were paramount when it came to the design of the Revo – and the best solution could be deployed from the start.

Inside the workshop

Entering the facility through the business-end presents a vast hall of fame of South Africa’s top celebrities who have been a part of Red-Lined’s driving challenges and rally programmes.

However, the real customers are privateers from around the globe who have turned to Red-Lined for a vehicle to compete in one-off rallies and the World Cross Country Series.

Red-Lined has built over 45 cars, all of which are still racing today, with car number 1 sitting proudly in the workshop.

“In rally, there’s one thing more important than speed, and that is reliability,” said Marsh.

Broken cars cost time and money and result in a Did Not Finish.


Everything on the Revo has been developed so that the car can carry fewer parts, and when something does require replacement, it’s quick.

Suspension wishbones, for example, are interchangeable. No need to carry an individual spare for each side.

The Revo is built around a custom-built spaceframe with an integral FIA-spec safety cell, too.

Red-Lined said that certain elements of their vehicles are welded in the Netherlands, while the rest is done in-house where the full assembly takes place.

Alongside the new Revos is the current clutch of VX50 and VX56 Navara race cars, all running Nismo V8s. Red-Lined cars favour a robust V8 to turbocharged petrol engine, too.

Lots on the go

In addition to building customer cars, the Red-Lined Penta Group race team is racing in a local cross country series.

The Red-Lined facility maintains these race vehicles that require dedicated preparation ahead of each event.

In addition, the team conducts driver training sessions with potential new customers, mechanic training for a new customer’s mechanics, and experiential events in the very few gaps in-between.

Red-Lined International

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