When you’re one of a set of twins, there’s a lot you share in common with your brother. Interestingly enough, choice of off-road weapon was not one of those things…
Being twin brothers, there are a lot of things you’re going to share – roguish good looks, hairstyles, clothes, a gym membership and maybe girlfriends (face it, we’ve all wondered). There are however some things that you don’t share – namely the colour of your sunnies, and your taste in trucks.
Enter Matt and Braden Connelly – both of these blokes work as chippies, for the same company, doing the same hours, yet one drives an angry coil converted GU, and the other drives a very neat and pokey Luxxy. I caught up with these blokes down at Palm Beach, Queensland. I got to try and work out which bloke was which and climb all over their trucks to try and work out who has the better vehicle.
Matt got his ’Lux, brand spanking new, back in 2015; bone stock. He picked it up because of the look, and the fact that, well, it’s a HiLux. They’re tough, reliable and a reasonably capable truck off the bat. And it was somewhere to throw all the tools.
Braden on the other hand picked up his 2005 TD42-powered GU just over 12 months ago and, same as Matt, it was bone stock. Being one of the last 4.2s, Braden got the GU because of their proven reliability, bulletproof driveline; and they’re a known good thing. Back then, you’ve gotta remember, that common-rail diesel was still in its infancy; and the poor old ZD30s… well… we all know how a lot of the early ones went.
Fast forward to now, and both of these trucks are far from standard – with all the right mods to do some very specific jobs. Matt’s HiLux is set up for beach work, and is a nice clean and neat truck; while Braden’s has some pretty nuts suspension making it perfect for some of the more demented tracks out bush.
Matt’s HiLux has had quite a fair whack of mods thrown at it – getting him all the places he wants to go, while still keeping it neat enough so he doesn’t get a second look from the blokes with the blue shirts and flashing lights.
First off, he’s thrown a few boxes of Bilstein gear at the ’Lux, keeping both springs and shocks of the Bilstein variety and going for a 75mm lift in the front and 50mm in the rear. He’s gone with the Bilstein brand simply due to the name they have in both the on-road and off-road markets. He tells us he’d absolutely get them again, if only due to the build and ride quality. Lifting the cab up that much more, there’s a set of 25mm body blocks on slightly modified mounts to fit the zero offset Fuel Boost 16s with BFG 285/75/16s inside the guards. Keeping the CVs at a more appropriate angle for the lift, Matt has thrown a Phats Bars diff drop in the front, and also a set of sliders from Phats and 5mm ARB bash plates. The sliders were made specifically for Matt’s truck, to a design he wanted, with alloy fill-in panels.
Out the front of the ’Lux, there’s a TJM single hoop bar housing a set of eBay special LED spotties which (according to Matt) ‘do the job’ as there’s no big kays done at night. Out back of the Luxxy, there’s an ARB rear bar keeping the arse-end and tub from being beat up.
Under the bonnet, he’s just got a HPD Catch Can, and a 3” mandrel bent exhaust system getting the HiLux breathing better (with a sneaky muffler delete). Rolling into the cab, you’ll find a set of SAAS gauges keeping an eye on the boost and voltages for Matt, and a Uniden UHF keeping a handle on the comms.
Braden’s Patrol has
been done towards the other end of the spectrum, being built up to take him to places he never knew he wanted to go!
Suspension wise, he’s gone to town with Superior Engineering gear. Having a 5” lift in the front riding on Tough Dog shocks, and the Superior Superflex arms, gets the front moving a lot better than a Patrol has any right to. Looking at the back, it’s a whole different ball game. The Troll was originally a leaf ute, however it’s been completely converted to a coil 4-link rear. With 5” coils, Superior Pro Fender shocks with 12 inches of travel, superior coil tower brace and extended lower arms, it’s a little bit nuts. TM Fabrication threw the conversion in for him, and he’s never looked back.
To be able to utilise the coil rear-end setup, the chassis was braced as well – due to the weight on the rear being in a completely different spot. Sticking the truck to the earth is a set of 35” Maxxis Bighorns, wrapped around a set of ‘sorta’ beadlocked sunnies (yep, they’re those fake jobbies).
Heading to the barwork, and fab work on the truck, there’s a factory Nissan front bar (it actually looks pretty bloody good), with a Dominator winch in it and LED spotties; and there’s a 38” lightbar up on the rollbars. There’s a completely custom tray and half canopy fitted, which houses the fridge, stereo, 8,000 fuses and the recovery gear (not that Braden needs it, or so he tells us). It’s amazing how cocky Patrol drivers are, right up until there’s a LandCruiser tied to the front of them pulling them out (the writer is a self-confessed LandCruiser lover and owner).
In the cab you’ll find a slimline sub and Sony head deck looking after the tunes. There’s a Uniden UHF, and boost and EGT gauges. For headlights, he’s made the conversion to LEDs and can’t rate them highly enough.
Favourite place these blokes have been is Fraser (I mean, they live an hour away, where else would you rather go?), and when asked about future places he’d like to take it, Fraser came up again. And he’s planning a Cape trip for next year. Might just see if I can tag along to rescue the Patrol on that one?
At the end of the day, these two blokes own two tough as nuts trucks that have been built specifically for their own roles, from the big and capable (now coily) GU, to the solid and comfy ’Lux. Either way, they’re both bloody good trucks… and you’d be happy owning either of them. Just for the record, when on the shoot I didn’t refer to either of them by name; only by what truck they drive. It was easier to tell them apart that way. Thanks for a magic day out fellas… and looking forward to seeing what future mods happen with these trucks!