Before the gaming console, we all spent a lot more time outside – honing driving skills, with RC vehicles. Once confident, you’d graduate to perhaps getting to drive the family Hilux bakkie as your first true steer.
One of the most iconic RC models of all time was the late 1980s Hilux by Tamiya and to celebrate its heritage, there’s now an astonishing recreation of it, in full-scale.
It’s called the Hilux Bruiser and feature a credible commitment to detail. Based on a standard Hilux extended cab 2.4 D-4D, most of the bodywork reshaping and enhanced stance is courtesy of an Arctic Trucks AT35 conversion – which you probably have guessed, features 35-inch tyres and a 50mm lift-kit as its anchor features.
Beyond the substantially flared wheel arches, necessary to accommodate those 35-inch tyres, its mechanically not that much different. The 2.4 diesel still makes 110kW, although gear ratios have been adjusted for the larger rolling circumference and greater resistance of those 35-inch off-road specific tyres.
It’s the RC-bakkie details which really astound. There’s an on/off switch in the load bay (non-functional, of course), pin-latch bonnet catch, huge RC-type antenna, louvred rear window and period late 1980s vinyl wrap with appropriate graphics.
Does look rather fantastic, doesn’t it? And it’s in RHD too, which does flare the hope for a production version – which probably won’t happen. But you could always try and recreate your own one.
Think not? Well, you could. Seriously. For just shy of R200k, the Arctic Truck AT35 Hilux conversion is available in South Africa, from 4WD Trucking, based out of Pretoria. Matching the colour and graphics can’t be too challenging, and scouring an antenna should be fairly easy too. Fabrication of that on/off load bay switch is a quick job for any experienced toolmaker and there you go: your very own Tamiya heritage Hilux.
You know you want to do it. You could even use the more powerful 2.8 D-4D. Now there’s an idea to keep you busy this weekend.