The body has been painstakingly straightened, with all remnants of farm life removed
in line. The centre was also swapped for a high-pinion front from a GU Patrol with LSD internals installed. Up front there’s also a GU Patrol steering box on custom mounts, with a chromoly draglink tying the Patrol steering box to the Cruiser front axle.
Despite running mostly stock suspension components, there’s now an extra two inches of clearance thanks to a 50mm suspension lift from EFS. Each corner was weighed individually to get the exact spring rate dialed in for a plush ride. The coils have been teamed up with four-inch longer RAW 4x4 shocks for a little extra droop, providing more stability in the rough stuff. The change in ride height freed up just enough room for a set of 37-inch General Grabber SRLS wrapped around 17-inch Dynamic steel wheels.
With the body bolted back on, things don’t get any less impressive. It’s been painstakingly straightened, with all remnants of farm life removed. LED tail-lights and indicators have been recessed into the rear quarters, and a smooth coat of Toyota’s Dune Beige 416 has been liberally applied – one of the very few jobs Billy farmed out.
Those with eagle eyes may have noticed a lack of front indicators. To keep things looking clean the old boxy units have been binned and replaced by a trick halo-style headlight designed for early Mustangs, with the indicator built into the light.
Up the back Billy’s made a trick wrap-around tyre carrier, with the pivot point near the passenger-side rear wheel. This
has allowed him to keep a seriously impressive departure angle, despite having a rear-mounted Runva 11XP winch sandwiched between the body and tow bar. Up front the winching duties are handled by a significantly larger Warn 8274, otherwise known as a high-mount. It’s had the housing braced, and the brake shaft drilled, tapped and capped with a Warn 6hp motor upgrade.
On the inside Billy has kept the theme of old-school-cool, with a modern twist. The cargo area could almost pass as stock, with a sound-deadened floor and stock bench seats. Up front the driver and passenger are both strapped down in a pair of fixed-back Corbeau race seats Billy picked up second-hand for a bargain. The clunky factory gauges have all been replaced by a sleek digital unit from Australian company 1Gauge, which covers all engine vitals including most temperature levels, pressures, fluid levels, boost, and even air/fuel ratios. The speedo has been replaced by a GPS unit from Navman, with the whole lot wired up with the help of a few mates and more than a few beers.
Billy’s one-of-a-kind FJ45 may have some purists baying for blood, but it’s a good indication of the way 4x4 touring is heading in Australia: a combination of reliability and capability, with a huge slice of cool thrown in.
Billy obviously likes switches, while the digital control units add a modern twist to the otherwise original interior. “Front indicators? If you’d look at the headlamps, officer...”