All 900Nm of this cus­tom-made 200 Se­ries Cruiser.

The neat­est Land Cruiser in the coun­try also packs one hell of a punch – 900Nm worth!

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - WORDS DANIEL EVERETT PHO­TOS NATHAN DUFF

We spent hours por­ing over Cale Wal­ton’s im­mac­u­late LC200, and noth­ing sums it up bet­ter than one word: per­fect

WHEN you first lay eyes on what is inar­guably the neat­est 200 Se­ries Land Cruiser in Aus­tralia, the only word that can do it jus­tice is per­haps one of the most overused: Per­fect. We’re not us­ing that word lightly. In fact, we spent hours por­ing over Cale Wal­ton’s im­mac­u­late LC200 try­ing to think of an­other an­gle, some other de­tail that makes it stand head and shoul­ders above the crowd. We couldn’t. Noth­ing sums it up bet­ter than that one word. It’s not per­fect in the way some other 4x4s have earned the ti­tle. It’s not the kind of bus that can rock-bounce with the best of them with­out turn­ing vi­tal com­po­nents into a slurry of gear oil and metal shards. It’s not the fastest in the whoops, ca­pa­ble of leap­ing tall washouts in a sin­gle bound. It’s not even the most mod­i­fied LC200 we’ve seen. But ev­ery sin­gle mod­i­fi­ca­tion, al­ter­ation and cus­tomi­sa­tion has been so thor­oughly re­searched and metic­u­lously planned that the end re­sult is far greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a me­chan­i­cal work of art very few will ever fully ap­pre­ci­ate. If it sounds like we’re ex­ag­ger­at­ing, it’s be­cause it’s hard to put into words just how rare it is for a build of this cal­i­bre to fall into place the first time around. It’s a tes­ta­ment to the care­ful plan­ning of Cale, and the or­gan­i­sa­tional skills of his wife Krys­tal, who makes things hap­pen when Cale’s off work­ing the gas lines.

Shoe­horned in­side the Ul­tima bar is an Ox winch that’s best de­scribed as un-kil­l­able

We’ll kick things off at the log­i­cal start­ing point: the very front of the 4x4. There’s a grow­ing trend among late-model 4x4 own­ers to work with the de­sign of their ve­hi­cle rather than against it – form and func­tion work­ing to­gether. With that mind­set, Cale searched high and low for a bull­bar that’d give him the pro­tec­tion needed for re­mote tour­ing, with­out cov­er­ing up the in­stantly recog­nis­able styling of the 200.

He found it at the end of a lengthy im­port process, with an Ul­tima bar com­ing from Viper 4x4 in Venezuela. Shoe­horned in­side the bar is an Ox winch that’s best de­scribed as un-kil­l­able. Cale laugh­ingly as­sured us he’s never found him­self on the busi­ness end of it, but it’s seen count­less use re­cov­er­ing oth­ers or drag­ging fallen trees off the tracks. An LED light bar from Rigid In­dus­tries keeps it com­pany on the Cruiser’s front.

Down each side is a pair of Viper 4x4 heavy-duty side­steps that pro­vide eas­ier en­try and exit with­out trekking mud in­side. Cale says they’re more than strong enough to pro­tect the sills, hav­ing taken the Cruiser’s full weight more than a few times in their life.

Each piece com­ple­ments the rest per­fectly, and the re­sult is a 4x4 that flat-out works. It’s a stylish tourer that can keep up with the best of them

In an un­con­ven­tional move, the spare tyre still lives in the stock lo­ca­tion. To keep the rear panel and quar­ter pan­els in one piece, a colour-coded Kay­mar rear bar re­sides down back. The pro­tec­tion pack­age is rounded out with a full set of TJM bash plates guard­ing the vi­tal, and some­what ex­posed, com­po­nents un­der­neath.

Cale has run Mickey Thomp­son MTZS for years, in­clud­ing on his rock-crawl­ing-ori­en­tated GU IV Pa­trol that the 200 re­placed. So it’s no sur­prise to see them shoe­horned in­side the LC200’S wheel arches. They mea­sure in at a some­what com­mon 33 inches tall and 12.5 inches wide, but there’s an 18-inch hole in­side to suit the black Mon­ster XD al­loy wheels.

To make room for the larger tyres, the 200 is sit­ting 50mm higher, thanks to a spring and shock pack­age from Tough Dog. And, as with most things Cale does, it wasn’t a ‘throw it in and hope for the best’ sort of ar­range­ment. Up front, the up­per con­trol arms have been re­placed by Su­pe­rior Engi­neer­ing units that cor­rect both cam­ber and cas­tor, with spher­i­cal bear­ings up top for in­creased ar­tic­u­la­tion. The rear has copped a sim­i­lar treat­ment, with a Su­pe­rior Engi­neer­ing Pan­hard rod re-align­ing the rear axle in the cen­tre, while heavy-duty Su­pe­rior Engi­neer­ing lower con­trol arms re­placed the weak fac­tory of­fer­ings.

The ex­te­rior pack­age is fin­ished off with two very sim­ple

Mickey Thomp­son MTZ tyres house 18-inch Mon­ster XD al­loy rims.

Heavy-duty Viper 4x4 side­steps make ingress and egress eas­ier.

Airtec snorkel and a cus­tom air­box take the worry out of water cross­ings.

Tough Dog springs and shocks al­low Cale’s 200 to sit 50mm higher.

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