Is this Australia’s most modified 80 Series LandCruiser?

By Sam Young 10 Min Read

No stone was left unturned, no shortcuts were taken. This 80 Series build, a six-month painstaking process, left most of us broken… or at least broke! 

This 80 Series LandCruiser has over 1,000 horsepower. Nearly 1,300 Nm of torque. Coilover suspension – and completely custom fabrication and upholstery work throughout. I’m of course talking about my 80 Series LandCruiser. Today, you’re going to get an in-depth look at exactly how we pieced together this one-off monster together. 

How it looked at the start of the project, total Grandpa spec.

Trying to stay ahead of the game in a rapidly evolving landscape is tricky. There’s no two ways about it. Four-wheel drives are getting bigger, louder, more capable, and faster every year that goes by. The once humble ‘budget builds’ are taking a back seat whilst the limitless insanity of bespoke offroad weapons take their place. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I too fall deeply into the problem niche of limitless and seemingly ridiculous builds, but hey, at least I’m owning up to it right? That’s enough of fluff, you’re here for the build! Let’s dive in. 


What’s the story?

You’re probably thinking, heck, I bet this is going to be a methodically thought-out rundown of this build… You should know me better! I’ve been tossing up for an hour now whether I should kick things off with least expensive to most expensive mods, or perhaps starting from the outside and finishing up inside, but I honestly have no clue. I’ve roughly put some groupings together, for part one of this little yarn, so let’s dive in! 

How it looks today, just a bit different…

Custom Barwork 

In an ocean of boring barwork, for this build, we knew we had to level up. ‘Off the shelf’ was never going to cut it. We wanted high clearance, 360 degree protection, and a staunch look that was unique to the build. 

Working with Matt and the team from Kinsela’s Kustoms meant that we could achieve exactly that. Using some previously seen bars as inspiration but modifying them with our own flare, we created a tough, tight and high-clearance bullbar that was heavily inspired by the comp-truck scene. Connecting the bullbar to the sliders was a set of custom front scrub bars which we added some spicy little triangle pieces to to add maximum strength and aesthetics. The rear bar is a wildly custom piece of engineering too. The 50mm tow hitch was recessed through the chassis crossmember to save on the departure angle, and the spare wheel was mounted in the centre for a unique look. We also added some rear scrub bars to complete the 360-degree protection element of the build. 


Everything was tied together and connected using some very clever and tidy ‘roll bar joiners’ which are not only strong but give a seamless join. The tube was all done in 40nb sizing to give a cohesive and uniform look too. To finish it off and give it the professional finish that we all love, powder coating of course! 

Building a 1,062hp 80 Series engine 

The mighty 1fz-fe Toyota engine has got to be one of the most under-utilised engines in Australia. Most people avoid them like the plague. So much so, that the resale value of a petrol 80 series is less than half that of a diesel 80 series. I wanted to show the internet, and the world, that with a little bit of love, you can make these once forklift engines, an absolute monster. 

With six-cylinders inline, 4.5L of capacity, and 24 valves to play with, you can probably see where this is going… TURBO TIME.

I partnered with HD Auto to build one of Australia’s highest horsepower LandCruiser engines. And I think we achieved exactly that. The car made 1,062hp and just shy of 1,300Nm of torque at the rear hubs with only 32psi of boost. 

How to make it reliable

To do this reliably, however, we needed to make some wild changes. We started with a 1fz-fe out of a 105 Series LandCruiser so we could utilise its factory coil pack ignition system. We then stripped it down completely and rebuilt it from the ground up using some of the highest-spec parts available on the market. 

80 Series Engine mods

Where do we even start, fully balanced and linished crank, forged rods and pistons, cometic head-gasket, upgraded every single bolt internally to ARP hardware, upgraded the oil pump, got the head ported and flow matched, installed upgraded valve springs, oversized valves, the biggest cams available and bolted the thing all together. On either side of the engine, we have custom manifolds and a monumental Raceworks fuel system feeding this beast E85 lifeblood. All of which is tuned up via a standalone Haltech computer system. 


Wheels and tyres

This really is the lipstick-on-a-pig moment for most people. Wheels, tyres and suspension are just one of those combinations that can make or break a build. These are some of the first elements of a car that can give you the WOW factor when you pull up to that campsite or 4×4 show. How the car sits with the suspension, do the wheels compliment the rest of the build, what size tyres are you running and how will it all work in harmony?  

By now you’ve probably realised the theme of the build… to be different from the rest and be groundbreaking. So that’s exactly what we went for here too. To kick things off, a crowd favourite, a set of 37-inch Maxxis Trepador tyres and a set of understated yet extremely strong DWC Lockup rims that are of course bead locked. This combination allows us to run the tyres at 2-4psi with zero dramas, and absolutely looks bees’ knees on the truck! The wheel specs are 17” in diameter, 9” wide and have a -30 offset if you’re wondering! 

Suspension modifications

Suspension is where we really got carried away, and where a LOT of Kinsela’s man hours went to try make it all function properly. From factory, LandCruiser suspension is a little… boring. To spice it up, we cut absolutely every single thing out from the chassis, lifted the body off and started again. 

We converted the front end to run a GU patrol Dwizz front housing and pushed it forwards around 45mm. We then chose to go with a 3-link front setup and 14” Bilstein coilovers to give us a ridiculous amount of articulation whilst maintaining proper suspension geometry. The rear end got a similar treatment with a triangulated 4-link arrangement, braced 80 Series diff and 14” Bilstein coilovers. The entire car got 4” hydraulic bump stops to ensure a smooth ride even when smashing whoops offroad! 

All the links in the car are made from hand-turned alloy to save a stack of sprung weight. They have been mated up with massive Heim joints, so there is zero binding or limitations that you may find from using a traditional bush. The combination of coil overs, with the unique and custom suspension setup meant we had ultimate flexibility when it came to setting things like castor, ride height, pinion angles and more. Basically, we can now make sure the car drives phenomenally on and off-road.

Part two next week

When it comes to getting carried away, I dare say that’s exactly what this entire project is. We moved the goalposts nearly every week, but it helped raise the bar for all future builds that we may see on the internet! 

In part two of this in-depth breakdown, we’ll be talking more about the interior, the driveline, and some other miscellaneous goodies that have really helped tie the whole project together! Make sure you’re staying up to date with the Unsealed 4×4 goodness, and we’ll see you very soon (next week to be precise). 

Watch the video series

Sam, has filmed the entire build process of this wild 80 Series LandCruiser. If you’d like to watch along, and see just how much went into this, check out his Youtube:

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