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Is this the LandCruiser ute Toyota should have built from the factory?
Ryan’s ‘KUT105’ has to be one of the best mixes of work and play that has graced our pages for a while. There’s plenty of utes on the market, almost as many wagons around too – but this is what happens when a smart bloke blends the best DNA from each and makes it his own.
LandCruiser 105 robustness. 1HD-FT simplicity. Extra cab comfort. Tray back utility. Perfect. It certainly begs the question, should Toyota have built this ute from the factory? Ryan the owner certainly thinks so, and who are we to disagree…
Like many of us, Ryan Lynch grew up with family holidays touring the country in tents and a 4WD, with Mum, Dad and his sister sharing in a great Aussie pastime. As soon as Ryan received his own driver’s licence, he picked up a 1998 HiLux and set off camping. The HiLux lasted a while before Ryan moved on to a ’93 model 75 series ‘Cruiser ute (that lives on through donating its tray to the 105) and now the ‘KUT105’ we see today, allowing Ryan to follow the lifestyle his parents taught him.
Ryan finds his hometown of Brisbane to be the perfect centre for 4WDing, with close proximity to Land Cruiser Mountain Park, Stradbroke Island, Mount Mee and Somerset Dam, as well as longer trips to Fraser and Moreton Islands.
When the weekday duties of aviation ground services management eases off before the weekend, Ryan loves getting away for some state forest or national park camping.
Ryan purchased his 2001 top-of-the-range HZJ105 GXL in 2014. Besides the robust base vehicle, it already had a tasteful list of modifications care of the previous owner, with a 1HDT head fitted to the legendary though lethargic 1HZ and an uprated gearbox from a factory-turbocharged 100 Series.
Wanting a bit more poke, Ryan swapped the 1HZ out for a 1HD-FT, one of the last mechanically injected turbo-diesel engines in 4X4 use. Clamped to the manifolds is a GTurbo Bad Boy red wheel turbo feeding from an FFM sealed alloy airbox, through the front mount intercooler and with +30 oversize injectors fed by an uprated lift pump, giving a massive 180kW at the wheels when running 35-inch tyres. A couple of VDO gauges keep an eye on boost and exhaust gas temperatures in the cockpit.
Ryan benefited from more of the previous owner’s modifications with the Safari snorkel, 250-litre fuel tank and turbo timer already installed. The suspension has been worked over by Ryan thoroughly, now sporting Superior Engineering Superflex radius arms matched with Dobinsons Springs and AmadaXtreme remote reservoir shock absorbers. Ryan has kept the front and rear sway bars, which maintains the comfortable on-road handling of a stock-height vehicle despite the increased articulation and lift.
Preventing wheelspin, Ryan has fitted Harrop ELockers front and rear to get the most from the 315/75R16 BF Goodrich KM2s. The Harrop ELockers are wired to the factory diff lock switch, to keep the cab looking stock.
As you can tell, Ryan takes great pride in his ‘Cruiser, and to keep the body in shape there’s an ARB bull bar supporting the Magnum winch, and Radius Fabrications brush bars and sliders protecting the panel work. With the lightweight alloy Allied Thunder rims, it’s a neat and good looking package that’s built to perform as well as it looks.
Ryan has tried to keep the interior comfortable and maintain the factory look, enhanced with a dark tint to keep cool. The previous owner installed the Outback roof console, where the two UHF radios are fitted – one for convoy communications, the other set to scan the channels and allow Ryan to keep aware of other 4WDers. To keep it neat, the microphones are wired through the dash to prevent hanging spiral cords dangling from the ceiling. Some of the few concessions away from manufacturer’s standard are the gauge pod on the A pillar and double DIN head unit with iPhone connectivity. A windscreen mount keeps the phone in sight for Mud Maps navigation.
…and the elephant in the room. 105s are wagons. This is clearly a ute! Ute chops come in all shapes and sizes, with single-cabs and dual-cabs and everything, such as this one, in-between. The previous owner did the extra-cab chop, giving enough room to lean the seats back a bit and keep the road snacks handy.
The steel tray is from Ryan’s previous 75 Series, modified to suit the wider track width of the 105. Ryan says he will replace the tray soon, but loves the stainless steel half canopy and dual-wheel carrier – the box fits a swag, fridge and anything else needed for weekend camping trips out of sight, secure and out of the weather. And that’s all a bloke could ask for, right?