Custom Toyota LandCruiser VDJ76R review

Custom Toyota LandCruiser VDJ76R review

Some of us are born off-roaders, childhoods spent bouncing along in the back seat of a rusty old 4x4 as we travel to far off destinations that others only dream of. Others don’t find their way behind the tiller of a 4x4 until much later in life, often by sheer chance, but sometimes due to a life-altering event.

For Anthony Collins, the owner of this one-of-a-kind VDJ76R, he was firmly in the second group. A trained osteopath, Anthony found his life at a crossroads in 2014 when a mountain bike accident severely damaged his left hand and left him unable to work.

Custom Toyota Land Cruiser VDJ76R rearWith his future in doubt and surgery only aggravating the injury, Anthony decided to hit the road. A month travelling the outback of Australia would give him a much needed break from the stress of his current situation and time to figure out where his life was headed.

Anthony loaded what little camping gear he had into the back of his Nissan Murano, kissed his wife goodbye and set off west. He conquered the Strezlecki Track, Cordillo Road, Birdsville Track, Oodnadatta Track, Mereenie Loop, Humbert Track and Nathan River Road in the soft-roader through a combination of level headedness and sheer luck. It was out there that Anthony first heard the rumble of Toyota’s current V8 Land Cruisers and decided he had to have one.

“I spent the twilight days of my outback trip drooling over them in 4x4 magazines,” Ant told us. “I literally walked in the front door after not having seen my wife for over a month, slapped a fist-full of dog-eared 4x4 mags on the table and declared I was buying a Land Cruiser.”

Custom Toyota LandCruiser VDJ76R sideskirtsHis insatiable desire to own a Cruiser wasn’t the only thing Anthony learnt in his time spent travelling the outback. “At this time Queensland was suffering some of the worst droughts on record,” Anthony said. “Cockies were having a rough time trying to maintain healthy livestock.”

After reading about the Hay-Run Anthony decided he needed to do something as well. He put together the Outback Osteopathic Outreach Program for Farmers. The idea was simple: gather a few healers and travel Australia’s remote reaches and help keep our farmers healthy. All he needed now was the Land Cruiser.

Custom Toyota LandCruiser VDJ76R drivingHunting around for the perfect foundation for his plans he stumbled across the only black 76 Series he had ever seen and knew he had to have it. From here he got in touch with Luke and Scott at GSL Fabrications, where things really started to snowball.

After falling head over heels for the unique paintjob Anthony decided to double down with an aggressive black-on-black theme throughout the rest of the build. Baguley Steel Fabrication installed a black powdercoated bullbar and brush bar combo with matching side steps down each side in order to protect the vulnerable front end from animal strikes.

Custom Toyota Land Cruiser VDJ76R roof rackThe outreach program often sees the team travelling long into the night, so X-Ray Vision Lighting decked out Anthony’s Cruiser with a mixture of HID driving lights and LED spot and spread beam lighting. ARB at Jindalee came to the party with a host of gear, from the Kaymar twin rear wheel carrier and ARB roof rack right through to the Bush Ranger hot shower and Long Ranger fuel and water tanks.

Anthony provided plans for a unique stainless-steel snorkel which was brought to life by Brandt Madsen, but of all the modifications the stickers are what Anthony’s most proud of. Each and every sticker represents a company who has donated time or parts to help Anthony make life just that little bit easier for Australian farmers.

Toyota Land Cruiser VDJ76R interiorAnthony often spends long stretches behind the wheel between stations and it’s important that he arrive at his destination ready to go. To that end, the front stock pews have been replaced by a set of L Series Recaro bucket seats.

The rear bench has also been removed, with a massive Kruiser Kustoms storage system residing in its place. An Engel fridge and second set of drawers have been installed in the cargo area.

Custom Toyota -LandCruiser VDJ76R storageRedarc installed a whole suite of electronics, from EGT and boost gauges right through to dual battery monitors and a battery management system with its Smart Start Battery Isolater and Manager30 system. The whole lot was soldered into place by Sweeney Auto Electrical. With space and weight at a premium Anthony reached out to Revolution Power for some of its super-lightweight lithium batteries.

“The 60Ah batteries I run are 5kg each,” he said. “I run two but you can basically double the rating with lithium, so 240Ah for 10kg. I’ve basically saved 50kg and they’re much smaller than gel or lead acid batteries.”

Custom Toyota LandCruiser VDJ76R sunshadeCompleting the aggressive look of the Black Knight is a set of 35in bias ply Maxxis Trepadors normally found on competition rock crawlers. “I had ordered a set of Radial Trepadors but these turned up by mistake and I fell in love,” Anthony said with a laugh. “Handling is a different kettle of fish but I was willing to forgo some on-road handling for strength. They’ll wear quicker than a radial but if you balance it against a potential sidewall cut there’s not much difference.”

To clear the bigger rubber there’s a Dobinson spring lift all ’round with remote reservoir Fox Shocks smoothing out the corrugations. The rear track issue has also been rectified with a Jmacx wider rear axle, with the factory leaf spring arrangement complemented by a pair of triple-bellow Boss air bags to help fight sag when the Cruiser is loaded to the hilt.

Locker -and -suspensionAnthony’s 76 Series LandCruiser is purpose-built with a specific goal in mind, and it has been able to achieve that thanks to the support of some of the best companies in the country. 

Look up Black Knight Off-Road Industrie on Facebook to follow Ant’s outback travels and good deeds.

AUSTRALIA’S QUICKEST 76 SERIES

Custom Toyota Land Cruiser VDJ76R sideWhen we first heard Ant had claimed the crown of the quickest 76 Series in Australia it immediately grabbed our interest. We jumped straight on the phone to the blokes at GSL Fabrications in Grantham, Queensland, to find out just what went into making Toyota’s Diesel workhorse a 14.2 second quarter-mile terror.

“Ant’s running our 100 per cent kit,” Scott French from GSL told us. “We offer a few options but the 100 per cent kit is for 100 per cent more power. The engine itself is basically standard with a heap of work to make it flow better.

Custom -Toyota -Land Cruiser -VDJ76R-engineThere’s a GSL front mount intercooler; GSL 4in intake; GSL 4in exhaust system with a 5in dump pipe and 2in crossover pipe; and an HKS piggy back ECU to manage things. It’s also running a GTurbo Red Wheel turbo, and an NPC 1300Nm clutch because the stock unit couldn’t handle it. We also had to upgrade the fuel injectors to one that flows 70 per cent more fuel.”

Scott tells us the 100 per cent kit took a long time to R&D and even longer trying to make 4in piping fit where it just shouldn’t, but they’ve got it fine-tuned now so it’s basically a plug-and-play system for them.

“Ant’s running an extra 250hp shot of nitrous at the track but we probably sell at least one 100 per cent kit every month. The 1VDs are one of the strongest motors you can get, we haven’t killed one yet and we’ve had them up to 1200Nm and 450hp at the wheels on stock internals and lifting both front wheels in the air.”

Watch Anthony's custom LandCruiser VDJ76R shred up the beach!

Get the latest info on all things 4X4 Australia by signing up to our newsletter.