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Old Man Emu are arguably Australia’s best known suspension brand. Often abbreviated to OME, the name stems from the way that an emu bird runs on uneven ground; their body stays at an even height whilst their legs act like “shock absorbers” and compensate for the terrain – even at high speeds. This phenomenon can be experienced at your local zoo or via a search on YouTube.
Now we have cleared up the origins of the name, let’s look at the history of the brand. Founded in 1976 in Australia, the company offered a small but very high quality range of “uprated” suspension for 4WD vehicles, aimed at commercial and adventure travel users. At this time, it was almost impossible to find anything better than standard or “OE-equivalent” suspension parts – and OE suspension has always been designed for light use and not for the perils of the Australian outback.
By the late 1980’s Old Man Emu had become well known across Australia and enthusiasts from the United Kingdom and many other countries had imported their own kits directly from Aussie retailers, but the brand did not have a significant global recognition. Well established Australian 4×4 manufacturer ARB purchased OME in 1988 and this is where the brand’s success story really begins.
ARB was in the process of building a global network of resellers, and the acquisition of Old Man Emu allowed them to make their mark on the single biggest area of 4×4 vehicle upgrades: suspension systems. After significantly investing in manufacturing and testing facilities and after hiring some of the best and most skilled personnel in the field, ARB greatly increased the range of vehicles for which OME suspension was offered and also introduced an ever growing line-up of innovations over the coming years.
Toyota and Ford had long been two mainstays in the Australian market, with models such as the Hilux, Courier and Land Cruiser. However, as the global influence of Land Rover declined, models such as the Jeep Wrangler, Mitsubishi Shogun and Nissan Patrol became more commonplace. The line-up quickly included these models, along with the L200, Navara, and the Suzuki SJ410, SJ413 and Samurai.
When correctly selected and installed, an OME suspension system is designed to offer the best ride comfort and handling – whether you are on or off-road. A key to this is the fact that OME offer “integrated” suspension solutions – meaning that each part is developed to work together as a system with shock absorber valving being matched to spring rates and components being tested and tweaked and tested again until they give the best outcome and meet or exceed all standards for comfort and safety.
Old Man Emu’s ongoing quest for suspension perfection has included parts from leaf springs and coil springs to shock absorbers and struts, bush kits, u-bolts, fitting hardware, upper control arms, and more recently BP-51 and MT64 dampers.
Unlike most vehicle manufacturers, who design their suspension to meet a price point, OME have the luxury of being able to seek out the desired results for each and every vehicle model without penny-pinching vehicle manufacturers being involved. The results are outstanding and the cost of an Old Man Emu suspension upgrade are far outweighed by the years of comfort and reliability you will gain from it.
4×4 Works are the UK’s largest and best-known Old Man Emu stockist and reseller, with in-depth technical knowledge of the brand. Some customers travel the world with their OME kits, but others never leave the tarmac; either way there is a great suspension upgrade ready to be tailored to your individual needs. Our staff are here to help you make the right decisions for your vehicle build, regardless of where your adventures take you.
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