z_13_of_14Meet Aswad; a man who describes himself as a normal guy who's not afraid to get his hands dirty. He grew up around modified cars as his dad was the original owner of the Plus Starlet piloted by Doug Maloney at Bushy Park back in the day. It is therefore no surprise that Aswad developed a keen interest in things automotive. After owning a couple cars that could hold their own on the street, Aswad turned his passion towards a project that is a bit more rugged but really street at heart.


Meet Aswad's Vehicle - a 1989 Toyota Hilux Solid Axle Pick-up.

Aswad asserts the opinion that his projects should be functional and capable of being a daily driver if required. He had initially started building a Series III Land Rover but during the build he realized that it was not in line with what he had envisioned so that project was scrapped and the vehicle sold. So the hunt was on to locate a replacement project vehicle. He considered Samurais, Jeep CJ's but none of them really caught his attention. He had always liked the double cab solid axle Hilux but knew that these were hard to find in Barbados. But as fate would have it, Aswad happened across a solid axle Hilux for sale, albeit a single cab. It was not exactly what was desired but it made a good canvas for the picture he had in mind.


The first course of action for the pick-up was body and paint work and Aswad ensured that the high standard set by his previous vehicles was maintained. It was driven as standard for six months before the modifying bug hit. An All Pro 5" extreme lift kit was installed to give the desired ground clearance.


This was complemented with 15"x10" American Racing wheels and some bump absorbing 33"x13.50" Bridgestone MT tyres. To bring the gear ratios back in line a Yukon Gears 5.29 ring and pinion kit was installed, along with front and rear diff lockers.

To ensure he was prepared for the difficult terrain of off-roading, Aswad installed various equipment to make the vehicle safer and more robust. These included the All Pro tube bumper, custom rear bumper, a roll bar in the tray, steel braided brake lines, an LED Light Bar, Toyota Hilux fender flares and LED tail lights. These auxiliary add-ons also added well to the rugged appearance of this transformation.

z_5_of_14Frustration from the lack of performance by the stock engine quickly set in as it laboured to spin the bigger wheels buy kamagra uk online. So, the search ensued for a power plant that was more modern, fuel injected, had good performance from the factory and of course, by Toyota. Although aware of the torque benefits of a turbocharger, Aswad is a purest and therefore specified that the engine be naturally aspirated.


After about 2 to 3 months of searching, a 3S-GE Beams turned up at a local scrap yard. After some research and consultation the Beams engine was chosen. The Altezza engine is more famous for drifting and circuit applications and as word got out about the project, the skeptics maintained that the Altezza engine didn't have enough torque for the off-road realm. Undaunted by this, Aswad forged ahead.


The engine swap was done at home in the garage and with a few modifications the engine was fitting snuggly into the engine bay with a custom intake and exhaust system. After this it was the electrical wiring and time for the 2 litre Japanese engine to take its first breath. Similar to a proud dad, Aswad says this moment lasts with him and with each drive, the project they said wouldn't work, brings a beaming smile to his face.....pardon the pun!


In the interior, Recaro semi bucket seats were installed to provide the driver some support from the severe lateral forces of off-roading. To maintain the pick-up's street cred, a Pioneer head unit was installed and the centre console was customised to accommodate 2 6.5 speakers.


In the near future Aswad plans to step up to 35" tyres, install a winch, a Be Cool aluminium radiator, rock sliders and AC.

For those who doubted the capabilities of the truck and engine, check out the BRC MudDogs events where the truck can be seen in action. It takes on the challenges without breaking a sweat. Function at its best, built not bought!