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SA Hiluxes set Antarctic record

2012-04-02 08:13

COOL TRUCK: The tyres have 17 times the footprint of a normal model, the D-bar is crevasse protection. Gallery

A convoy of South African-built Toyota Hilux bakkies with Arctic Trucks big-tyres conversions has pushed the endurance boundaries on the Antarctic continent.

A team of 4x4 and 6x6 pick-ups has completed a marathon journey across the ice of nearly 9500km, further than any vehicle of its type has managed. And, true to Toyota and Arctic Trucks' reputation for toughness, did so without a technical hitch.

The latest feat, part of the longest expedition in polar history, has added to the Hilux bakkies' achievement of reaching both of Earth's poles.

1X4X4 AND 2X6X6

Remarkably, the vehicles used in the double trans-continental crossing organised by Extreme World Races used standard three-litre D-4D engines and transmissions. However, to meet the demands of temperatures as low as -50°C and harsh terrain rising to above 3400m, the vehicles were specially engineered by Icelandic conversion specialists Arctic Trucks.

Three Hiluxes – two of the 6×6 models – completed the expedition running on Jet A-1 fuel to cope with the extreme cold. Each clocked up 9600km over four months from November 2011 to February this year. In all, 10 Hiluxes were deployed by the expedition team, which trusted in the Toyotas to meet the demands of setting up a fuel depot and weather station and providing essential support to scientists and competitors in a ski race.


Necessary modifications to the vehicles included fitting a crane to lift heavy equipment and a 280-litre fuel tank – 800 litres in the case of the six-wheel models.

The suspension and drive train were strengthened, crawler gears were added to the transmission, and the extra-large, low-pressure tyres pumped to about 10% of the pressure of regular Hilux tyres to give them a "footprint" 17 times greater than standard.

*Toyota SA says it now has 100% penetration in the Antarctic market.


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