Let the Bod­ies Hit the Floor

NZ Performance Car - - Construction Under -

We all know the feel­ing of buy­ing a new project, driv­ing it around, and find­ing more and more prob­lems, be­fore fi­nally cav­ing into an all-out build. That’s where Brian Gear found him­self af­ter pick­ing up his bagged Hilux back in ’09 as a war­ranted, reg­is­tered, and cert’d unit on 18-inch wheels. It was stripped back to noth­ing within four months.

The Hilux started out as a 2.4-litre diesel, but that has been binned in favour of a re­built 1UZ-FE pack­ing high-lift cams, decked heads to raise com­pres­sion, twin 2.25-inch ex­hausts with cus­tom head­ers, all run by a Me­gasquirt — oh, and, how could we for­get it — the cus­tom 4A-GE in­di­vid­ual throt­tle body (ITB) set-up. The whole pack­age is backed by a W58 five-speed with cus­tom flywheel and heavy-duty clutch.

It wouldn’t be a mini­truck with­out the ap­pro­pri­ate low, so the body and tray have been dropped 2.75 inches, with the pinch seam cut off and welded up to lie flat on the sills. The front has been fit­ted with a facelift Surf ex­am­ple — lights, grille, and bumper — along with a cus­tom bon­net to clear the ITBs. And like hot rod­ders of old, Brian has in­stalled Cadil­lac rear tail lights! Front and rear wheel tubs have been made to make room for the low, and the chas­sis has been stripped bare to cut off all the orig­i­nal bag set-up and re-bagged to suit 20-inch Dodge Nitro and, some­times, Chip Foose Speed­sters. These changes in­clude a Z’d front to suit the body drop, new mounts for the mo­tor and box to keep it off the ground, and lots of cus­tom mount­ing pieces for the un­der-tray fuel cell, air tank, shocks, etc.

Talk­ing air, the ’Lux uses SS6 front and SS7 rear bags, with five-gal­lon and seven-gal­lon air tanks re­spec­tively, which are filled from ei­ther the dive tank or the en­gine-driven York com­pres­sor. Brak­ing has been ad­dressed through the use of R33 calipers paired up with Fal­con ro­tors on the front and S14 calipers and ro­tors down the back, all tricked out with braided lines and a Toy­ota Star­let booster.

In­te­rior de­tails have been kept pretty ba­sic, with retrimmed dash, doors, hood lin­ing, and all the rest in black. A pair of Re­caro seats that adorn the front por­tion of the cabin are await­ing a re­trim to match.

The build is near­ing com­ple­tion, and the aim is to get ev­ery­thing ready for a cert over the next few months. All that is needed is a few fin­ish­ing touches — cus­tom top A-arms to get a bit more lift in the front to clear the guards at full lock, among the smaller de­tails. Brian men­tioned that al­most the en­tire build has been done in the shed at home, with “just a few mates, beers, and big ideas”. We can’t wait to see it lay­ing frame down the mo­tor­way.

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