4 x 4 Australia - - Custom 4x4 Of The Year 2017 -

BRETT ASHLIN and his part­ner Jodie knew ex­actly what they wanted when they got hold of a gold 2008 Land Cruiser 76 Series GXL V8: a prop­erly set-up bush tourer. The duo also had the ben­e­fit of not hav­ing to use the big rig as a daily driver, al­low­ing them to re­ally go to town when build­ing up the ve­hi­cle you see here. When Brett got his hands on the Cruiser, it was al­ready sport­ing ARB colour-coded bar­work and driv­ing lights. One of the first mods Brett performed was fit­ment of a set of HID Pro­jec­tor lights to the ARB bar, be­fore per­form­ing some metal surgery on the bar (which in­cluded cut­ting it down the mid­dle and fit­ting an 8mm plate with sup­ports) to al­low fit­ment of a Warn high-mount winch. Not con­tent with just a front-mounted re­cov­ery aid, Brett fit­ted a Warn XD9000 winch to the cus­tom XLR8 Fabri­ca­tions twin-wheel rear winch bar (this also houses a ground an­chor).

The Cruiser’s 4.5TDV8 is no slouch, but Brett was still keen to ex­tract more ned­dies, so he went to Brett O’keefe at Diesel Torque WA for fit­ment of a cus­tom-tune DPU per­for­mance mo­d­ule, and he’s also added a three­inch ex­haust sys­tem (al­though he’s now look­ing to fit a four-inch ver­sion). The fo­cus of this mod was to bal­ance more power and per­for­mance with­out sac­ri­fic­ing re­li­a­bil­ity for tour­ing; the mo­d­ule has been tuned to­ward Brett’s pre­ferred tour­ing habits that en­tail tow­ing a camper trailer, so there’s a tad more low-end grunt just for this pur­pose. Keep­ing all that power har­nessed means the man­ual ’box is fit­ted with a NPC bil­let fly­wheel and Exedy clutch (rated for up to 1300Nm).

The LC76 has also copped an EFS three-inch lift, with ex­tended shack­les, triple­bel­low airbags and Brett’s own cus­tom-made sway bar dis­con­nects en­sur­ing oo­dles of go-for­ward trac­tion when needed – as­sisted by the Al­lied


Sa­van­nah 16-inch Bead­locks, shod with Toyo Open Coun­try MTZ 315/75R16 rub­ber.

The in­te­rior also re­flects the tour­ing in­ten­tion, with no space wasted, and in­cludes the re­moval of the sec­ond row of seats, with false floor­ing fit­ted. Cus­tom draw­ers in the rear con­tain an ARB air com­pres­sor and bar­be­cue. It of­fers easy fridge ac­cess and there’s still room for Brett’s swag down one side. Power is taken care of via a dual-bat­tery setup mon­i­tored by a Redarc con­troller and topped-up by a 200W so­lar panel on the roof. Quick stops are sorted with the awning and a Front Run­ner rear door ta­ble. Comms and nav gear (a Hema HX-1 in a cus­tom-built mount) are housed in easy-ac­cess ar­eas.

Ev­ery­thing has its place and pur­pose in this LC7, re­flect­ing Brett’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to build a top-notch tourer. He’s done a bloody im­pres­sive job.

No space has been wasted in­side, with lux­u­ries like a bar­be­cue, fridge and ARB air com­pres­sor.

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