Pole-dancing Hilux heats up the ice

By Alastair Sloane

Specially-equipped Toyota Hilux 4x4s after a gentle cruise to the South Pole. Photo / Supplied
Specially-equipped Toyota Hilux 4x4s after a gentle cruise to the South Pole. Photo / Supplied

Toyota has added further to the invincible reputation of its Hilux with another expedition on ice; this time to the South Pole.

Three specially prepared workhorses covered about 70,000km in four months on the frozen continent in what Toyota is saying was the longest wheeled expedition in polar exploration history.

Iceland company Arctic Trucks prepared the Hiluxes, which were among 10, including six-wheel-drive units, shipped to the deep south last November to help set up fuel depots and a weather station and to support research teams.

To face temperatures as low as -50C and altitudes of over 3400m, the 3-litre turbo-diesel engines had to be reworked to consume jet fuel. Standard diesel would turn to jelly in the freezing temperatures.

The trucks were also fitted with large tyres running just 2-3 psi of air pressure, resulting in a footprint on the ice around 17 times larger than a standard Hilux tyre. Regular Hilux tyres have a pressure of 29psi.

Other modifications included revised suspension, changes to gearbox ratios and fitting 280-litre fuel tanks and a crane to one of the Hiluxes. The six-wheel-drive trucks had 800-litre fuel tanks.

The highlight of the programme was a double trans-continental crossing, organised by Extreme World Races.

A video of the polar exploration is expected to be available on Toyota Europe's target="new">YouTube channel soon.

- NZ Herald

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