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THIS ROAD LEGAL 79 WILL REVOLUTIONISE THE TOURING SCENE

WORDS & IMAGES BY HARRY TEMPLE

VEHICLES

After killing a couple of dual cabs around the farm, Steve decided he wanted to do something cool. He had no idea that it would form the base for one of the coolest builds in Australia

THE OWNER
After spending a fair chunk of his life thus far working across various jobs and industries, Steve now manages one of the country’s premier Angus studs in the foothills of the High Country. Even though he enjoys working out in the elements, his desire to venture out and explore the remote regions of Australia is apparent as soon as you meet him. This passion is something he shares with his son Logan, and together, it is something they can bond over. Logan has autism and he feels very connected to Skooby, the 79. Working towards the goal of spending more than one night away on trip with Logan, Steve has managed to strike a balance between the modifications needed to make the experience as fun as possible for Logan, while also ensuring the 79 is up to the daily tasks around the farm.

ABOVE A quick photo from one of Steve’s trips with the canopy on. What a set-up! // BELOW The front end of the rig means business. ARB’s colour-coded big tube bar is married to the matching side steps and brush bars, while also housing a Warn winch and providing a mounting point for those hugely powerful Roadvision spotties

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THE VEHICLE
If I had to choose one word to describe the vehicle, it would be methodical. Given the whole process of installing the portals has to be done through second stage of manufacture (SSM) before registration, he wanted to make sure he picked the right model 79 to be completely road legal. He ordered a late 2016 model and among 79 owners, they’re known as a unicorn. It was one of the first models to have a DPF installed to meet the new legislation, as Toyota didn’t know whether the vehicles were going to ship before or after the new rules came into effect.

Steve informs me that because the legislation only applies to models sold from the beginning of the following year, his model is one of the only 4WDs that can have the DPF removed and not be in violation of any emissions laws. It was necessary to jump through the hoops and find the unicorn, as it was always going to come off to ensure it didn’t spark off any grass fires on the farm. All I can say is that Skooby is 100 percent engineered, as I’ve seen the certificates and mod plates first-hand. Carrying on the same methodical approach to his aftermarket accessory selection, Skooby is drawing attention from all corners of the 4WD community and inspiring a large number of up-and-coming new builds.

BELOW The more you look the more you find. Personally I never understood the fascination with the little gearstick extension until Steve threw me the keys to Skooby. That small bit of added length changes the driving dynamic and cuts down the gear throw immensely

BELOW Steve has had his brush with the local HWP, but, as he recalls, “Thankfully I had asked Mark at Marks 4WD for a copy of all the paperwork so when I got pulled over by Mansfield HWP, I just took him through the paperwork and at the end he was stoked to see something that was 100 percent road legal”. There you go folks, it can be done

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THE MODIFICATIONS
The majority of questions Steve gets are about the portals. He explained, “The portals give you 35-inch tyres, six inches of clearance under the diff over standard, plus they are also geared to regain the factory responsiveness”. After 90,000 trouble-free kays, down some tough High Country tracks, he finally spat a rear long side axle a few days after our shoot (you can read about that here). They are becoming a lot more commonplace nowadays, compared to when Steve first enquired. You can clearly see the added diff clearance, which is complemented by an additional two-inch kit from Ironman, comprised of lifted coils in the front to ensure the 35-inch MTZs actually fit back up into the guards at full tuck. Maximising droop and optimising ride quality comes courtesy of the BP51 shocks in each corner. Steve initially fitted a set of airbags to make sure the ‘Cruiser didn’t drag its bum when fully loaded, but since Ironman’s heaviest leaf pack went in they have been rendered unnecessary.

BELOW Steve had the plates lying around from his days in the rally scene. All these years later they finally found a home on the 79

ABOVE The bonnet stickers are a nod towards the 79’s extensive customisation. A nice touch

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The second-most common question is about the tray design. Steve reflects on the time he first encountered a vehicle in Queensland that featured a tray from Superior Customs: “I got talking to Will as I loved his attention to detail and workmanship, and before long we started designing a set-up for Skooby based around his Gen ‘17 tray”. The tray had to be steel, as it needed to be able to cop a hiding during work duties. When we caught up with Steve, the matching canopy wasn’t on the vehicle as he had begun the second stage of the build and was looking to change his set-up. Inside its central-locked doors, the set-up was relatively simple, with an ARB Elements fridge on an MSA drop-slide while the rest of the canopy was empty for multiple storage boxes that housed all his camping gear and equipment. Up top, the Darche rooftop tent and side awning created quite a spacious campsite. In work mode, the two spares are moved from the rear canopy wall and are tucked up next to the headboard (which is actually a sneaky 50-litre fuel tank) for better weight distribution. Countersunk tie-down points line both internal edges and a huge rear drawer slides out from between the handpicked tail lights.

“With the High Country on my backdoor, I’ve found the biggest hurdle to be the ramp-over angles on consecutive step-ups. When they get chopped out, they can get rocky and rutted … then you see a diff mark … then another diff mark with oil and that’s where portals come into their own”

TOP LEFT BT Cruiser struts are a must-have, even if the ‘Cruiser only has the bonnet open to install more modifications! // TOP RIGHT GSL and Superior Customs had communicated during the design process to ensure that both products could fit together in what undoubtedly constitutes a large portion of vehicles coming through their respective workshops

The same attention to detail has been applied to the interior. To combat the agricultural feel, the factory milk crates were ripped out in favour of some luxurious Recaro seats. Squeezing in between them is a Department of the Interior floor console with a volt gauge and rocker switch panel. Adding extra storage up high, a roof console from the same company adds even more 12V outlets. Not content with the factory sounds, Alpine speakers sit inside Cruiser Console speaker pods on all the doors and the fantastic sound produced by the Kenwood headunit is magnified through a stand-alone amp tucked behind the rear seats. A custom alloy plate was profiled to tuck behind the seats and serve as a mount for the amp, BC-DC, Narva fuse block and lithium battery. After the Dynamat was installed, road noise has been cut down substantially and there is considerably less heat transfer into the cab.

ABOVE The Rhino-Rack plays host to some of the Roadvision’s best LED bar offerings; check out that 50-inch up front

BELOW An ARB long-range tank is soon to replace the factory tank and still tuck behind the stainless exhaust. That will bring the total fuel on board to over 200L

Lastly, most people ask why it sounds so good. The simple answer to that is a red wheel turbo and crossover pipe from G-Turbo that is fed by the Safari Armax snorkel and ventilated by a twin four-inch GSL stainless steel exhaust. Not one to do things by halves, Steve went with a bigger intercooler and a custom set of intercooler fans that force air through the system. He then had it tuned through Power Torque in Silvan, Victoria and upgraded the clutch at the same time. The NPC 1300 can handle the 748Nm and nearly 200kW at all four wheels. To coax more power out of Skooby, the next port of call would be bigger injectors, however Steve is content with running stock internals and he has found the iDrive to offer a helpful improvement in throttle response.

FINAL THOUGHTS – FOR NOW…
With this build garnering so much attention across social media and knowing he has several big trips in the pipeline for 2019, Steve is rapidly changing the set-up to suit his evolving requirements. There’s been talk of an extension, new canopy and a few more must-see modifications before journeying up to Australia’s last frontier. 

VEHICLES

THIS ROAD LEGAL 79 WILL REVOLUTIONISE THE TOURING SCENE

SCROLL DOWN

WORDS & IMAGES BY HARRY TEMPLE

After killing a couple of dual cabs around the farm, Steve decided he wanted to do something cool. He had no idea that it would form the base for one of the coolest builds in Australia

ABOVE A quick photo from one of Steve’s trips with the canopy on. What a set-up! // BELOW The front end of the rig means business. ARB’s colour-coded big tube bar is married to the matching side steps and brush bars, while also housing a Warn winch and providing a mounting point for those hugely powerful Roadvision spotties

THE OWNER
After spending a fair chunk of his life thus far working across various jobs and industries, Steve now manages one of the country’s premier Angus studs in the foothills of the High Country. Even though he enjoys working out in the elements, his desire to venture out and explore the remote regions of Australia is apparent as soon as you meet him. This passion is something he shares with his son Logan, and together, it is something they can bond over. Logan has autism and he feels very connected to Skooby, the 79. Working towards the goal of spending more than one night away on trip with Logan, Steve has managed to strike a balance between the modifications needed to make the experience as fun as possible for Logan, while also ensuring the 79 is up to the daily tasks around the farm.

THE VEHICLE
If I had to choose one word to describe the vehicle, it would be methodical. Given the whole process of installing the portals has to be done through second stage of manufacture (SSM) before registration, he wanted to make sure he picked the right model 79 to be completely road legal. He ordered a late 2016 model and among 79 owners, they’re known as a unicorn. It was one of the first models to have a DPF installed to meet the new legislation, as Toyota didn’t know whether the vehicles were going to ship before or after the new rules came into effect.

BELOW The more you look the more you find. Personally I never understood the fascination with the little gearstick extension until Steve threw me the keys to Skooby. That small bit of added length changes the driving dynamic and cuts down the gear throw immensely

BELOW Steve has had his brush with the local HWP, but, as he recalls, “Thankfully I had asked Mark at Marks 4WD for a copy of all the paperwork so when I got pulled over by Mansfield HWP, I just took him through the paperwork and at the end he was stoked to see something that was 100 percent road legal”. There you go folks, it can be done

Steve informs me that because the legislation only applies to models sold from the beginning of the following year, his model is one of the only 4WDs that can have the DPF removed and not be in violation of any emissions laws. It was necessary to jump through the hoops and find the unicorn, as it was always going to come off to ensure it didn’t spark off any grass fires on the farm. All I can say is that Skooby is 100 percent engineered, as I’ve seen the certificates and mod plates first-hand. Carrying on the same methodical approach to his aftermarket accessory selection, Skooby is drawing attention from all corners of the 4WD community and inspiring a large number of up-and-coming new builds.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

THE MODIFICATIONS
The majority of questions Steve gets are about the portals. He explained, “The portals give you 35-inch tyres, six inches of clearance under the diff over standard, plus they are also geared to regain the factory responsiveness”. After 90,000 trouble-free kays, down some tough High Country tracks, he finally spat a rear long side axle a few days after our shoot (you can read about that here). They are becoming a lot more commonplace nowadays, compared to when Steve first enquired. You can clearly see the added diff clearance, which is complemented by an additional two-inch kit from Ironman, comprised of lifted coils in the front to ensure the 35-inch MTZs actually fit back up into the guards at full tuck. Maximising droop and optimising ride quality comes courtesy of the BP51 shocks in each corner. Steve initially fitted a set of airbags to make sure the ‘Cruiser didn’t drag its bum when fully loaded, but since Ironman’s heaviest leaf pack went in they have been rendered unnecessary.

BELOW Steve had the plates lying around from his days in the rally scene. All these years later they finally found a home on the 79

ABOVE The bonnet stickers are a nod towards the 79’s extensive customisation. A nice touch

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

“With the High Country on my backdoor, I’ve found the biggest hurdle to be the ramp-over angles on consecutive step-ups. When they get chopped out, they can get rocky and rutted … then you see a diff mark … then another diff mark with oil and that’s where portals come into their own”

The second-most common question is about the tray design. Steve reflects on the time he first encountered a vehicle in Queensland that featured a tray from Superior Customs: “I got talking to Will as I loved his attention to detail and workmanship, and before long we started designing a set-up for Skooby based around his Gen ‘17 tray”. The tray had to be steel, as it needed to be able to cop a hiding during work duties. When we caught up with Steve, the matching canopy wasn’t on the vehicle as he had begun the second stage of the build and was looking to change his set-up. Inside its central-locked doors, the set-up was relatively simple, with an ARB Elements fridge on an MSA drop-slide while the rest of the canopy was empty for multiple storage boxes that housed all his camping gear and equipment. Up top, the Darche rooftop tent and side awning created quite a spacious campsite. In work mode, the two spares are moved from the rear canopy wall and are tucked up next to the headboard (which is actually a sneaky 50-litre fuel tank) for better weight distribution. Countersunk tie-down points line both internal edges and a huge rear drawer slides out from between the handpicked tail lights.

TOP LEFT BT Cruiser struts are a must-have, even if the ‘Cruiser only has the bonnet open to install more modifications! // TOP RIGHT GSL and Superior Customs had communicated during the design process to ensure that both products could fit together in what undoubtedly constitutes a large portion of vehicles coming through their respective workshops

The same attention to detail has been applied to the interior. To combat the agricultural feel, the factory milk crates were ripped out in favour of some luxurious Recaro seats. Squeezing in between them is a Department of the Interior floor console with a volt gauge and rocker switch panel. Adding extra storage up high, a roof console from the same company adds even more 12V outlets. Not content with the factory sounds, Alpine speakers sit inside Cruiser Console speaker pods on all the doors and the fantastic sound produced by the Kenwood headunit is magnified through a stand-alone amp tucked behind the rear seats. A custom alloy plate was profiled to tuck behind the seats and serve as a mount for the amp, BC-DC, Narva fuse block and lithium battery. After the Dynamat was installed, road noise has been cut down substantially and there is considerably less heat transfer into the cab.

ABOVE The Rhino-Rack plays host to some of the Roadvision’s best LED bar offerings; check out that 50-inch up front

BELOW An ARB long-range tank is soon to replace the factory tank and still tuck behind the stainless exhaust. That will bring the total fuel on board to over 200L

Lastly, most people ask why it sounds so good. The simple answer to that is a red wheel turbo and crossover pipe from G-Turbo that is fed by the Safari Armax snorkel and ventilated by a twin four-inch GSL stainless steel exhaust. Not one to do things by halves, Steve went with a bigger intercooler and a custom set of intercooler fans that force air through the system. He then had it tuned through Power Torque in Silvan, Victoria and upgraded the clutch at the same time. The NPC 1300 can handle the 748Nm and nearly 200kW at all four wheels. To coax more power out of Skooby, the next port of call would be bigger injectors, however Steve is content with running stock internals and he has found the iDrive to offer a helpful improvement in throttle response.

FINAL THOUGHTS – FOR NOW…
With this build garnering so much attention across social media and knowing he has several big trips in the pipeline for 2019, Steve is rapidly changing the set-up to suit his evolving requirements. There’s been talk of an extension, new canopy and a few more must-see modifications before journeying up to Australia’s last frontier.