THE LEGEND CONTINUES... 45 years since the first Hilux (inset) came ashore in South Africa - so here's the Legend 45 collectors' item. Image: Toyota SA / Quickpic
It was a helluva launch. A chartered jet, a mysterious Indian Ocean island of mountains, glorious tropical jungle, golden beaches, puppy-eyed lemurs and friendly natives with a penchant for digging up deceased ancestors every few years to party with and re-clothe before re-burial.
The island: beautiful Madagascar. The occasion: the launch of an anniversary version of the iconic Hilux bakkie distinguishable from the run-of-the-mill models pretty much only by different bumpers, a special rollover bar and badging that identified it as the Toyota Hilux Legend 35.
LOG BRIDGES, SWIFT STREAMS
Fruit bats and heart-of-palm, for which whole trees were sacrificed, were a speciality of the hotel and I won an award for eating, as I recall, five of them - bats, that is. The test-drive route wound along a mountain track that led through virgin jungle and villages in which (possibly also virgin) bare-breasted maidens waved cheerfully and unself-consciously at the passing convoy.
GALLERY: Hilux today and yesteryear
Log bridges over swift streams were no real obstacles for the nimble all-wheel drive Toyotas, though scary at the time; neither were the sudden ascents and descents of that awesome, mountainous, Eden. The drive, for those old enough to have been there, also became a legend in what since then has become a litany of vehicle launches.
So it was something of a shock to realise this week, when a media release popped up in my email inbox, that a whole decade had gone by and the arrival of a Toyota Legend 45 was being announced for South African distribution. No unmarked white jet, no maidens, no fruit bats - just a darn press release this time.
No doubt the Legend 45 will also become something of a collectors' item among off-roading fans of the Toyota Hilux. Here's what they're all about... with the prices and specs of the 13 variants of Raider (high-spec) rear and all-wheel drive single, Xtra Cab and Double-Cab raised-body and 4x4 units. Generation 7 of a real Legend of a bakkie.
In the words of Glenn Crompton, vice-president of marketing for Toyota SA: "Hilux is the Corolla of the light-commercial world and its worldwide success is by no means accidental. Evolutionary progress through the generations has produced a vehicle with the ideal combination of superlative off-road driving manners, car-like refinement, plus rugged workhorse credentials.Distinguishing the '45 from other Hiluxes are these exterior treatments...
“More than perhaps any other Hilux generation, this the seventh iteration has seen numerous successive improvements throughout its life, each exceeding buyers’ needs, to assure its place right at the top of the sales charts.
“It's undoubtedly the purest distillation of toughness and versatility you'll ever find in a pick-up and, best of all, it's rooted in the guiding principles of Toyota's QDR - Quality, Durability, Reliability). And now, to celebrate 45 years of 'bundu bashing' excellence, Toyota SA is pleased to announce the introduction of the aptly named Legend 45.
• New headlights and front foglight design with black-out detail
• Smoked tail lights
• Stainless-steel front nudge bar
• Stainless-steel rear step bumper
• Matt-black side steps
• Legend 45 badging on the nudge bar, side decals and tailgate
• Colour-coded door releases and chromed mirrors
• Multi-spoke 17" anthracite alloy wheel rims
• Special exterior colours including Glacier White, Chromium Silver, Chilli Red, Pacific Blue Metallic, Graphite Grey, Attitude Black, Silky Gold and Dark Steel Mica
• Tonneau cover and rear styling-bar as an extra-cost option (Legend 45 Plus)
...these interior embellishments...
• Full black interior, including facia finish
• Black leather with silver contrast stitching on the seats, door panels, steering-wheel and gearshift lever boot (manual)
• Reversing camera on the Xtra Cab Legend 45 models as well as 2.5 D-4D and 2.7 VVTi Legend 45 models (standard on all other Double Cab Legend 45's).
...and the prices:Legend 45 Xtra Cab
Legend 45 Single Cab (RB=raised body)
2.7 VVTi 4x2 RB -R300 200
3.0 D-4D 4x2 RB - R345 100
3.0 D-4D 4x4 - R401 200
3.0 D-4D 4x2 RB - R374 100Legend 45 Double Cab
3.0 D-4D 4x4 - R430 400
2.5 D-4D 4x2 RB - R411 900
2.7 VVTi 4x2 RB - R377 900
3.0 D-4D 4x2 RB - R438 300
3.0 D-4D 4x2 RB a/t - R452 000
3.0 D-4D 4x4 - R495 500
3.0 D-4D 4x4 a/t - R509 300
4.0 V6 4x2 RB a/t - R451 200
4.0V6 4x4 a/t - R533 900
2.5 D-4D: This 106kW diesel engine features variable nozzle turbo (VNT) technology. The turbine blade is infinitely adjustable, allowing for the blade angles to be optimised depending on engine load. The turbo is activated at very low engine revolutions because the blades are powered by an electric motor. Torque of 343Nm is the same as for the three-litre but comes in from 1600 to 2800rpm.
2.7 VVTi: Twin balance shafts ensure smooth operation of this four-cylinder 16-valve petrol unit. It produces 118kW at 5200rpm, maximum torque of 241Nm from 3800rpm.
3.0 D-4D: Fuel delivery is controlled by an electronic driving unit that activates each injector at precisely the right instant to inject a measured high-pressure fuel charge drawn from the common fuel-rail directly into each cylinder. This three-litre four-cylinder turbocharged and inter-cooled engine with a 16-valve DOHC configuration delivers 120kW at 3400rpm. Peak torque of 343Nm is delivered from 1400 to 3200rpm.
4.0 litre V6: This unit has a 24-valve DOHC configuration within a compact and light design and makes use of an aluminium cylinder block. It produces 175kW at 5200rpm and 376Nm at 3800rpm.
Details and pictures of the preceding Hilux models since 1969 are included in the Toyota Hilux Legend 45 image gallery.