THE $20,000+ BUILD

4 x 4 Australia - - Gear -

SPEND­ING more than $60K on a new four­wheel drive and then drop­ping an­other $20K at the lo­cal 4x4 store isn’t just for the rich and fa­mous. In fact, it’s quite easy to spend well in ex­cess of $20,000 on ac­ces­sories and mod­i­fi­ca­tions to tailor a four-wheel drive to match your needs, real or imag­ined. With a lit­tle plan­ning and a few smart choices, you can trans­form a stan­dard, low-spec wagon or ute into some­thing that will end up more ca­pa­ble, com­fort­able and ver­sa­tile than some far more ex­pen­sive lux­ury 4x4s. And the best thing is it’ll have the fea­tures you want and none of the stuff you can do without.

Out­back tour­ers who’ve al­ready spent $10K on the ac­ces­sories we’ve out­lined will now have a ve­hi­cle well-suited to the ‘big trip’ – but with an­other $10K (or more) they can re­ally go to town – or leave it, as the case may be. Some use­ful lux­u­ries in­clude a rooftop tent, an awning, roof cargo bags or roof pods, a nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, a bat­tery charg­ing sys­tem, in­fo­tain­ment, so­lar pan­els, in­vert­ers and power out­lets, hot wa­ter sys­tems, show­ers, aux­il­iary light­ing, swingout wheel car­ri­ers, hi-lift jack hold­ers, and top-spec sus­pen­sion com­po­nents.

Still got money to burn? How about some en­gine mods such as a turbo, chipped ECU and three-inch man­drel bent ex­haust? Or how about an en­gine con­ver­sion? Then you could fit a rock-crawl­ing trans­fer case, lower or higher fi­nal drive ra­tio and por­tal axles: the sky – and your credit card – re­ally is the limit.

WE’VE fea­tured hun­dreds of mod­i­fied ve­hi­cles in 4X4 Aus­tralia over the years, so there’s no short­age of in­spi­ra­tion to draw upon. One of the most im­pres­sive – and ex­pen­sive – tour­ers we’ve fea­tured is Hema Maps’ Landcruiser 79 Dou­ble Cab, jam-packed with good­ies de­signed to make it self-suf­fi­cient in re­mote Aus­tralia for weeks at a time. It’s had its chas­sis stretched and rear track widened to im­prove on- and off-road com­fort, load­car­ry­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, han­dling and safety.

Stretch­ing the bud­get even fur­ther is Icon’s Land Rover De­fender, which cost around US$300,000 to build. It runs a 6.2litre LS3 V8 mated to a four-speed auto gear­box and, as well as cus­tom sus­pen­sion, it’s loaded with cus­tom-made parts, from door han­dles to air-con­di­tion­ing vents.

It’d be nice to have an un­lim­ited bud­get to build some­thing re­ally spe­cial, but you can achieve a hell of a lot with just $5K. And if you plan your build wisely, there’s noth­ing stop­ping you from adding ac­ces­sories and mak­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions as you can af­ford them.

En­gine data dis­plays re­veal stuff like your air-fuel mix­ture. Even a sim­ple awning pro­vides shade and keeps the dew off.

Never too much light; LEDS are cheap and use al­most no power. Nav­i­ga­tion and map­ping tools re­veal what’s nearby.

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