SOMETIMES, it takes a setback to take a step forward in life. And unfortunately for the owner of this 105 Series LandCruiser, Callum Mackellar, it took a serious accident for him to arrive at this dream setup.
Callum cut his teeth in the 4WDing world in a 2003 Holden Jackaroo, and a slow, yet trusty 105 Series LandCruiser with the naturally aspirated 1HZ diesel motor which he loved to pieces. Sadly, that vehicle is no longer with us.
“My first 105 was written off,” says Callum. “But that presented me with the opportunity to buy the holy grail, a stock-as-a-rock 2003 Kakadu Grey 105 LandCruiser. Well, stock apart from having a Sahara spec interior trim conversion, and (let’s be honest – the main attraction) a highly sought-after factory turbo diesel 1HD-FTE motor swapped in.”
Now, the 4.2L 1HD-FTE factory turbo diesel motor needs no introduction, as it’s proven to be an absolute workhorse, yet it was only available in the 100 Series LandCruiser which features a torsion bar IFS setup that isn’t favoured by hard core 4WDers. When Callum saw this beast up for sale, with the factory turbo motor swapped into a 105 Series Cruiser with solid axles front-and-rear, he knew it was too special to pass up on.
While the bones of this vehicle were solid, it was a bit sad in the accessory and modification department, and we all know that’s not going to cut the mustard off road. “The vehicle was basically stock standard,” says Callum. “Which to be honest, suits me just fine as I’ve been able to build it up the way I like and create my version of the ultimate vehicle for extended trips all around Australia.” A job well done we say.
Callum mentioned that that side of things was actually rather smooth sailing, as he undertook most of the work himself. And while it was challenging, he found the experience extremely rewarding. The build took him a year to complete, and he tells us it cost $65,000 to put together, which in the scheme of things is money very well spent as he learned plenty along the way.
First cab off the rank, was extracting a little bit more power out of that lovely motor, by enlisting the help of Graham at GTurbo in Balcatta, Western Australia. With a few key modifications, Callum’s 105 is now making 233hp and 640Nm at the wheels, serious numbers indeed. These modifications include a GTurbo Red Wheel turbo upgrade, a front-mount intercooler conversion, PDI 4-inch airbox and a 4-inch stainless steel snorkel from Moonlight Custom Fabrication.
To allow the tuners to talk to the engine, a Unichip Q4 module was also installed, as well as a Manta 3-inch exhaust system meaning you can definitely hear Callum coming. To get power from the engine to the tyres, Callum wisely decided on a clutch upgrade, using a proven NPC unit. Around this time, Callum also decided it was important to have a solid touring range, and installed a 170L Brown Davis long-range fuel tank to extend his time between fuel stops dramatically. To further assist with fuel economy, a Marks 4WD 2WD conversion kit was also installed.
Touring mods include a winch compatible TJM steel front bar, with Stedi Type X spotlights, a Shoreline alloy roof rack with 50-inch LED light bar across the front and some aftermarket headlights to complete the lighting package. Callum has had a custom rear bar manufactured which incorporates twin jerrycan holders and a space for the spare tyre. A set of basic rear drawers house any camping gear and tools Callum needs to haul, and provides an area to put a bed on top as well as a hidden fridge. Solar screens on all windows help keep interior temps down too, as well as provide security while parking up for the night.
Suspension and tyres are two of the most important aspects for any touring 4WD, and Callum is wrapped with his setup. Starting with 3in Dobinson coil springs and 5in Superior Engineering remote res shocks. The coils are set up to carry 150kg constant load in the front, and 450kg in the rear. Superior Engineering again got the nod for its beefy upgraded suspension arms, such as tie rod and Panhard rods. A wise decision as the factory offerings are a little tame. Wheels are 16in Dynamic steelies with fake beadlocks, covered with 315x75R16 Toyo mud terrains, which Callum says are the best bang for buck mud tyres he’s driven on.
Regarding 12V, Callum is running a triple-battery setup (one start and two auxiliary) which is managed by a Redarc BCDC1225 and fed by a 180W solar panel when camping. A JVC head unit has been installed, as well as a 1000W amp to power a sub and 6 x 9 speakers when he is sick of hearing that FTE purr. So not often, in other words. With the Sahara interior fitted, Callum has such luxuries as woodgrain trim, leather seats in the front (the rears were turfed early in the game) and the coveted centre console icebox.
When asked why the 105 is so special to Callum, he summed it up nicely. “It’s an extremely capable and comfortable touring vehicle that I have 100 per cent confidence in.” And what’s in store for the future? Callum answered rather simply, by saying “many things.” His plans include improving the sleeping platform inside the Cruiser and installing some gullwing windows on both sides to allow for better access.
Interestingly, Callum is also planning on installing a sunroof directly above their heads so they can watch the stars of a night while sleeping in the vehicle. A capable, powerful and rugged vehicle for touring, and a comfortable place to sleep at the end of the day. What more could you ask for in a dream setup?
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