Bakkie build: sev­eral fun ways to beef up your Toy­ota Hilux

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING - DE­NIS DROPPA

SOUTH Africans love their dou­ble cab bakkies, as they’re great for schlep­ping toys to week­end play­grounds. But the bakkies them­selves can be turned into toys with a raft of af­ter­mar­ket up­grades avail­able to make them look, sound and ride bet­ter.

Leisure Wheels mag­a­zine re­cently took a stan­dard Toy­ota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 SRX dou­ble cab 4x4 and tricked it up with some new sus­pen­sion, wheels and tyres, free flow ex­haust, and de­cals. In­side, there are rac­ing bucket seats with four-point seat­belts, and a suede-cov­ered rac­ing steer­ing wheel.

The ve­hi­cle has been nick­named the SRS but it’s not a Hilux you can buy off the show­room floor; it’s a show­case for some of the af­ter­mar­ket prod­ucts that can be in­di­vid­u­ally bought to beef up your bakkie.

We test-drove it for a few days and the mod­i­fi­ca­tions have in­jected some va va voom into what is a very ca­pa­ble but oth­er­wise un­ex­cit­ing diesel bakkie.

For starters it looks any­thing but run-of-the-mill. It’s been fit­ted with high-pro­file 265/75 R16 Gen­eral tyres (com­pared to the stan­dard 265/65 R17s), and rides on raised Old Man Emu sus­pen­sion. The bal­loon tyres and jacked-up ride give this Hilux a bit of an arc­tic-truck vibe while the ad­di­tion of de­cals, red rac­ing stripes and red-rimmed wheels com­plete a pic­ture that wouldn’t make this Hilux look out of place in a Fast and Fu­ri­ous movie.

To avoid any war­ranty-void­ing is­sues the engine hasn’t been touched. At 110kW and 400Nm that 2.4-litre four cylin­der tur­bod­iesel makes one of the gut­si­est out­puts in its class, but the fit­ment of a free flow ex­haust from Pre­to­ria-based De Graaf gives it a hell-rais­ing voice that cranks up the imag­i­nary kilo­watts a good few notches. These are any­thing but sub­tle vo­cals, and this bakkie huffs and puffs like the wolf that will blow your house down.

Apart from the en­ter­tain­ing noise, the mod­i­fi­ca­tion we en­joyed most was the bump-beat­ing ride of that Old Man Emu BP-51 rally sus­pen­sion, sup­plied by 4x4 Mega World. This coilover, ad­justable sus­pen­sion can be tuned for a harder or softer ride and also adds 60mm of ground clear­ance.

To­gether with those high-pro­file tyres it re­ally smooths out the ride. Driv­ing this Hilux on our reg­u­lar rough-road test route, I laughed out loud when I was able to cruise over humps at nor­mal speeds rather than hav­ing to care­fully crawl over them as in most ve­hi­cles. We also took the bakkie for a spin on a gravel road, where that 60 grand sus­pen­sion just seemed to get bet­ter the harder we pushed it. It’s the sin­gle most ex­pen­sive up­grade on this bakkie but worth ev­ery penny, me­thinks.

To give un­der­body pro­tec­tion, Front Run­ner sup­plied a set of rock slid­ers to re­place the side­steps, along with a set of alu­minium engine pro­tec­tion plates. The head­lights are cov­ered in Llumar Pro­fes­sional film to pro­tect against de­bris on the road, while heat- and UV-re­duc­ing Llumar film cov­ers the side and back win­dows.

Fi­nally, the in­te­rior was sported-up with OMP rac­ing bucket seats with four-point rac­ing har­nesses, and an OMP rac­ing steer­ing wheel cov­ered in black suede - all sourced from ATS Mo­tor­sport sup­plies. THE BAKKIE One stan­dard Toy­ota Hilux 2.4GD-6 dou­ble cab 4x4 SRX: R468 800 THE UP­GRADES: OME BP-51 sus­pen­sion (shocks and rear blades): R59 475

Rac­ing Hart Con­cepts Dan­non 16” wheels (x4): R7 500

Gen­eral Tire MT 265/75 R16 tyres (x4): R14 800

Front Run­ner rock slid­ers and engine pro­tec­tion: R6 995

OMP Re­cliner Style bucket seats (x2): R10 349

OMP rac­ing steer­ing wheel plus Momo hub : R3 859

Schroth Quick­fit four-point ASM har­ness (x2): R5 019

De Graaf 76mm cus­tom ex­haust sys­tem: R7 397

Wrap Ve­hi­cles cus­tom vinyl de­tail­ing: R4 950

Llumar win­dow tint and head­light pro­tec­tion: R5 000

Liq­uid Ar­mour cus­tom paint: R2 950

4x4 Mus­cle Trucks (fab­ri­ca­tion and fit­ment): R4 500

TO­TAL EX­TRAS: R132 794

For more in­for­ma­tion and con­tact num­bers of the ven­dors, email us at de­

Cus­tom styling kit gives this Hilux more pres­ence. The ‘bal­loon’ tyres and OME sus­pen­sion re­ally smooth out the ride.

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