If an LC79 with a five-poster is a clean-cut country boy, Blake Oldham’s wild incarnation is a gruff outlaw.
2018 Custom 4x4 of the Year: The finalists
To kick things off, Blake went straight to custom guru Steve Etcell of Automotive Etcellence in Sydney’s West. With the LC79 on the hoist, Steve pieced together a custom triangulated four-link arrangement, which uses rebuildable Johnny Joints at the end of each link. From here, CNC-cut brackets were fabricated to the diff and chassis.
Heavy-duty coils keep the rear end afloat, while adjustable remote reservoir King 2.0 shocks are fitted to custom mounts. A set of progressive bump stops smooth out landings. Body roll is kept in check by ramping up the bound and rebound rates on the King shocks with the manual clickers.
It copped similar treatment up front; with factory coils right out of the box, the job was considerably easier. The stock cast radius arms have been binned; in their place are a set of super-flexy replacements from the guys at Comp Rods.
The heavy-duty offerings not only suit the lift but correct caster, without changing to flex-robbing caster correction bushes. A Tough Dog adjustable Panhard rod keeps the front axle tracking right, while a matching set of King shocks provide the smooth ride.
Cruiser tragics will spot the custom shock mounts, too, and while Steve had the welder out he converted the front shocks to an eye-eye setup to suit the big-dollar shocks. The arrangement lets Thug Truck flex its way through gnarly bush tracks and allows room for the 37-inch Hankook Dynapro MTs wrapped around 17x8.5-inch Method 311 Vex simulated beadlocks. Thug Truck also runs a trick axle-widening kit in the rear from Kinetic Engineering that perfectly matches the front and rear wheel track.
The 4.5L TDV8 breathes easily thanks to a stainless steel snorkel from AAA Exhausts. It then huffs fresh air through the AAA Exhausts airbox. From here the job is handed off to the bent-eight, which Automotive Etcellence dyno-tuned to put out a respectable 204rwhp and 680Nm, with a 3.5-inch turbo-back exhaust dumping spent gases.
Custom 4x4: Read our full feature on Blake's 'Thug Truck'
The standard bucket seats were replaced by FPV GT deep buckets customised by the guys at InCharge Automotive; a set of Hurricane adaptor plates fix the seats to the stock Cruiser rails. Cruiser Consoles are responsible for almost everything else in the interior, with Blake running its centre console, roof console and gear stick surround, as well as a set of ‘Mack’ door trims.
Above the revamped rear suspension is a stout tray from the guys at Coldy’s, which sports twin dog cages up front. Plus, there’s also a 120-litre water tank hidden underneath the tray.
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