Arctic Trucks


When conquering the planet’s final and possibly deadliest frontier, you want the right set of car keys in your pocket.

Antarctica in fifteen seconds... Ready?

  • Fourteen million square km of snow, ice and crevasses –- It’s dangerous

  • Population density of 0.00008 people to the square km –- It’s remote

  • Lowest temperature of -89C –- It’s super-dooper cold

  • Leopard seals –- They’re just freakishly terrifying.


That was closer to twelve seconds, so I'll add one more thing: Leopard seals! Seriously, have you seen them?


Okay, fine. Maybe you don’t need to worry about a leopard seal attack from the cabin of your Arctic 4x4 (unless you go through the ice), but just how the hell you get any 4x4 through a place so perilous? Well, you throw Warren Buffet’s coin purse at a Toyota HiLux and, point the nose south toward the most inhospitable place on

earth. The end result looks a little bit like this...



THE RIG AT A GLANCE

  • Toyota HiLux 4x4

  • Up to 4.88 differential gearing depending on tyre size

  • Front and rear Air-Lockers

  • Standard automatic transmission



THE BODY

Fitting anything over 33’s on an IFS ’ Lux is usually a pretty involved process of cutting, hammering and ‘self-clearancing’ so when you step that up to a 44x18.5R15 tyre, things get… well, choppy. The inner guards are all but completely scrapped and new panels and bracing are welded in to clear the enormous ‘floatation’ tyres. Once the welds have cooled, giant flares do their best to cover the tyres in a style not that dissimilar to Borat’s man-kini.


SUSPENSION AND GEOMETRY

To clear the aforementioned rubber, the rear axle is moved back by six inches, while the front is shifted forwards by nearly two inches. Top-shelf Fox shocks and high load capacity springs are fitted at either end bringing the payload capacity to a ludicrous 1500kg. Heezus!


THE TYRES

Bespoke, and built in-house, companies like Arctic Truck actually hand cut their own tyres anywhere between 38 and 44 inches depending on the vehicle and it’s use. A second core-less valve allows super-fast inflation a deflation down to their usual ‘tough-going’ pressures of 3–5psi. At this stage they have a tyre footprint 17 times larger than a regular car.


THE FUEL

At temperatures below -35C, diesel turns to to jelly. To combat that issue, the fuel system is revised to allow the Polar HiLux to run on Jet A1 – jet fuel, admittedly with a few additives. Being the only available fuel in the Arctic, running a polar fleet on Jet A1 kinda makes sense. The 4x4 vehicles carry upwards of 280L of fuel, while the 6x6’s can cart a whopping 800L.


THE GADGETS

  • Webasto diesel heaters with automatic altitude adjustment

  • Crevasse protection ‘Stinger’ bar and Come-up detachable winch

  • Coolant and In-Tank fuel heaters

  • 220V power

  • Chart-plotters and marine navigation systems

  • Engine driven air compressor

  • GPR – Ground Penetrating Radar system for crevasse detection


THE COST

The basic starting price for a ‘baby’ truck (that’s on pissy little 38’s) with bugger all

accessories is around $60,000, not including the base vehicle purchase. Expect a vehicle ready for a polar expedition to tip the scales somewhere well north of $250,000.



Any takers?


I’ll take one, if you’ll accept my undying love and handfuls of pocket lint as payment.


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