Where the car­bu­ret­ted six used to sit there’s now a 5.7-litre LS1 V8 backed by a TH400 au­to­matic trans­mis­sion

4 x 4 Australia - - Custom -

80-se­ries and the 45 body placed on top ready to mock up the body mounts and bar work. The body has been set back on the frame to push the front axle for­ward for a bet­ter ap­proach an­gle. Sur­pris­ingly this meant the wheel­base be­tween the 45 and 80 were al­most bang-on iden­ti­cal, with only a slight re-work of the rear wheel arches all that was needed to dial it in. With the wider 80-se­ries axles push­ing the wheels and tyres out a fur­ther 100mm each side, Billy con­structed a se­ries of re­in­forced tube whee­larch flares that also tie the front and rear bars into the slid­ers. The whole lot not only gives Billy the con­fi­dence to slip and slide the 45 through rocky ter­rain, but it sub­stan­tially re­in­forces the chas­sis against twist­ing.

While the body was off for fi­nal weld­ing of the bar work and body mounts, a new cross­mem­ber and en­gine mounts were burned into place for the up­dated driv­e­train. Where the car­bu­ret­ted six used to sit there’s now a 5.7-litre LS1 V8 backed by a TH400 auto trans­mis­sion send­ing power to both axles through a Chevy-sourced NP205 trans­fer case. Just for good mea­sure Billy shoe-horned a GTX42 tur­bocharger into the al­ready cramped en­gine com­part­ment, with a front mounted in­ter­cooler slot­ted in be­tween the ra­di­a­tor and sup­port panel. De­spite be­ing a low boost set-up with only 8psi pushed through the in­takes, up­graded in­jec­tors were re­quired for the in­creased fuel de­mands. Hang­ing off the back of the turbo is a full 3.5in cus­tom ex­haust with a Hooker muf­fler. On its first run on the dyno with a mild tune she pushed out 340hp at the wheels, which works out to be in the mid-400s at the fly­wheel – although with a more ag­gres­sive tune in the works this num­ber should jump to 400 and 500 re­spec­tively. Se­ri­ous ponies for an old Troopy.

How­ever, it wasn’t all sunshine and rain­bows get­ting the new driv­e­train work­ing. With the trans­fer case’s rear out­put cen­tred in the chas­sis and the 80-se­ries diff cen­tre be­ing off­set to the driv­ers’ side, a GQ Pa­trol rear axle was needed to get things back

When is a 45 Troopy not a 45? When it’s an incog­nito 80. 80 Se­ries un­der­pin­nings bring coil sprung com­fort and con­trol to the old bus. 37-inch tyres look al­most car­toon­ish – un­til the V8 starts to bark.

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