Within this thread, one of the very basic questions asked by the elder Kiani Saab actually prompted me to start thinking: what do I want from this vehicle?
The answer took a lot of pondering about, and mental hand-wringing before I finally found the answer.
In my "stable" this FJ is joining a pair of other beasts.
My Range Rover HSE is a beautiful machine. Impeccable pedigree. Stunning looks. Great off-road performance. Near-perfect road manners. It is as exciting as it can be unflappable. As temperamental as it can be ecstatic to drive. Opulent, as well as old-school understated.
Then there's my FZJ79...which is an equally beautiful machine. It's raw, unbridled, macho good-looks coupled with a simplicity, reliability, and dependability which border on the indestructible. As a departure from the RR, I'd spent a great deal of time, making it the beast that would start its journey where the HSE would stop.
And now, the FJ.
Perhaps it's a case of trying to push the envelope, and explore automotive and artistic "boundaries". Subconsciously, perhaps, that's why I bought the most impractical set of wheels imaginable, within minutes of laying eyes on them. These wheels alone DEMAND a vehicle that is unordinary, in concept and utility. A vehicle that starts ITS journey, where the FZJ would stop.
I'd always loved the look of the old school FJ45...despite having a Toyota pickup (the FZJ79). So...the natural course of action for me, whilst rebuilding an FJ40 into an FJ45 lookalike would be to call it an FJ405.
This is what I'm planning to do:-
Body. Elongating the wheelbase to medium length. An FJ45 cabin, which in size, is something between a single cabin and a double cabin...call it a "king-cab" size, if you will...which would be big enough to accommodate me (I'm tall!), another passenger, and speakers, shotguns, ammunition, and the odd pointer kutta behind the seats. This cabin would have a removable, bolt-on roof, and an inner-built roll cage...allowing the option to remove the roof, doors and roll down the front windscreen...for an open-air experience. The rear of the frame would house a pickup bed in the rear, which would have its own roll cage, somewhat similar in design to the cabin cage). These two roll-cages (when combined) would make a single "compartment" which could take a bikini top and/or canvas top should the need arise. In addition to stock doors, I'll be getting a pair of tube doors, made out of pipes for the open-air experience. The pickup "tub" too would be removable, and you would be able to bolt on a piped "jangla" instead, for when you'd want to do some real HAIRY off-roading. Alternately, you could just leave the space behind the cabin vacant, altogether. Wheel arches of course, would have to be shorn, widened, and raised so as to accommodate the oversized wheels. Rock-sliders which would double as sidebars. A self-fashioned snorkel system, in chrome. Shorn bumpers to make sure there's no interference with the large tyres.
Suspension / Underpinnings. This rig is going to be big. I think it'll be raised / lifted by at least a foot...if not 15 inches. An SOA conversion is definitely on the cards. Special attention on the "perches". Longer, bent springs, too. Long-travel shocks. Perhaps double shocks at the rear. A shackle reversal. All round disc brakes. The appropriate ring and pinion / diff change. Spacers...to widen the vehicle's stance, and (in tandem with the extra-wide tyres and negative offset rims) somewhat balance the massive increase in ride height.
Mechanicals. 1FZ-FE engine and gearbox. Power steering. Free-flow exhaust (I have this recurring image of an upright silencer emerging just behind the cabin, like a Volvo truck). CNG kit, with dual-mounted CNG tanks for those fuel-guzzling rides TO the offroad sites.
Interior. Prado dashboard. Prado seats. Air-conditioning. A decent sound system. Gun racks. Built-in cargo compartments. A fridge / hot-box. Latex coating of the cabin floor, overcoated with easy-to wash plastic foot-mats. [U]
Miscellaneous Builds[/U]. A bikini top (for just the cabin area, and the entire vehicle area). Canvas pockets for the tube-doors.
Of course...this will be subject to continuous review / updating. I have this feeling, that over the next few months, I'm going to need...
LOTS OF PARACETAMOL!