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354km/h Land Cruiser thinks it's a supercar

Industry news

By: Dave Abrahams

Las Vegas, Nevada - At first glance, this Toyota Land Cruiser looks like any other blacked out, body-kitted, slammed SUV you could see rumbling around the 'hood.

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But looks, in this case are more than deceptive - they're downright, deliberately misleading. What you are looking at, according to Toyota, is the world's fastest SUV - the Land Speed Cruiser. Because under the bonnet there's a twin-turbo V8 rated at 1470kW, theoretically capable of pushing this 2.7-ton box-shaped sled to over 350km/h.

Toyota motorsports technical centre manager Chuck Wade and his team of major league performance junkies took out the original 5.7-litre 3UR-FE V8, which is good for 270kW and 530Nm in stock trim, and rebuilt it from the block up, topping it off with two volleyball-sized Garrett turbos and a small freeze-feed reservoir - which gets filled with ice blocks to super-cool the intake air for short runs.

Needless to say, the standard US-spec Land Cruiser auto transmission would tie itself in knots like a pretzel if you asked it to handle more than five times the power it was designed for, so the modified V8 is attached to a custom-made ATI racing gearbox. Toyota doesn't say whether the Land Speed Cruiser is rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, but in either case every component in the drivetrain would have to have been either modified or replaced.

‘Every single system and component’ upgraded

The same goes for the running gear: Wade's crew actually took the complete body off the ladder-frame chassis and upgraded "every single component and system". They also lowered and stiffened the suspension, fitted a complete undershield to smooth airflow under the car, and bolted on big wheels shod with supercar-spec tyres.

Then they bolted the (almost) standard body back on, after replacing the standard bonnet with one that with slots feeding intake air directly into the intercoolers.

Finally, they added a rather blocky air dam under the front bumper to create a partial vacuum under the car - which simulates downforce by literally sucking the car down on to the road - and sprayed the whole thing an intimidating plain black.

And there you have it - the ultimate street sleeper. Respect.

Motoring.co.za

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