4 x 4 Australia
THE LC200 is still one of the best all-round touring rigs on the planet. This, of course, comes with a correspondingly steep asking price – and that is before you fit any gear. When you want to build the best of the best, though, expense doesn’t matter. As Matt Szczesny’s gleaming white 2018 LC200 VX proves, it is the end result that counts.
An appreciation of power first led Matt to think about a 200 Series, with a glance at the secondhand market revealing just how well these big boppers hold their price. “A second-hand one was more than 100 grand,” he said. “I thought bugger it, I will just buy a new one.”
This decision was reinforced after Matt chatted to a mate who used to test the LC200 suspension setups, as well as the vehicle’s durability.
Having the opportunity to build up a rig that has come straight from the showroom floor is rare, and Matt was keen on ensuring every piece of gear fitted was exactly what he wanted for optimum performance. He also didn’t want to over-build the Cruiser; besides being capable off-road, it still had to function as a daily driver.
“I had done my research,” he said. “I loved Process West from when I was younger; I knew it did really nice stuff, so I used its catch can. I had worked with Harrop when I was younger, so I used its breather kit (for the transmission and diffs).”
Matt had his own plan well sorted, but still went to other experts for advice on crucial components such as the LC200’S suspension, with a mind to how heavy the vehicle would be once all the mods were complete. This saw him head to WA Toyota gurus, Toyotune, for a King suspension setup. As well as the King 2.5 adjustable remote reservoir shocks and accompanying springs (resulting in a two-inch lift), also added were Blackhawk castor/ camber corrected UCAS, progressive bump stops, a diff drop kit, adjustable rear Panhard rod and Airbag Man rear bags. Aiding that is a set of Method MR309 18x9 Plus 18-inch rims, shod with Nitto Trail Grapplers 295/70R18 rubber. offers impressive performance, but Matt wanted to squeeze some additional oomph from the big
oiler. Toyotune set to work, fitting a Safari Armax snorkel along with a Toyotune EGR and throttle butterfly upgrade, custom ECU and throttle remaps, a Richards Auto Electrical High/low torque converter lock-up kit, and a secondary fuel filter kit. A Manta/toyotune custom dual 3in exhaust system with a high-flow stainless steel cat and twin 3.5in pipes dump it all out the back, and DBA T3 ventilated and slotted discs were fitted front and rear, along with DBA XP650 pads.
A dual-battery setup with Intervolt deep-cycle batteries was installed, and Matt raided TJM’S exterior protection catalogue for its MOS fullbody paint correction and quartz glass coating. Up front is a TJM colour-coded bumper cut bar, matched with rock sliders and Raptor-coated steps and scrub bars. Hanging off the front bar is a TJM 12,000lb winch. There’s also a Lazer Lamp light bar, with Lightforce supplying the driving lights, rear floods and tailgate light. Other kit includes a Rhino-rack Pioneer platform, Maxtrax, a Darche 270 awning complete with its own a customadapted Korr Marine light, a Darche telescopic ladder, an ARB 60L fridge/freezer, a 10L water tank, ARB dual-compressor and reserve tank, and a Custom Installations drawer system with an inbuilt 12-inch JW subwoofer and 600W amp.
“I am not a grey nomad, I didn’t buy it to tow shit around and go slow in,” Matt said of the build. “It’s for launching off the lights, boys’ weekends away and just a bit of fun, jumping the dunes, all that kind of stuff.
“Maybe when we settle down a bit, we’ll put a caravan on the back.”