A number can carry significant meaning, none more so than a Million. The Toyota Hilux, which has been a stalwart in the local light commercial vehicle (LCV) market, can now proudly attach its name to the word million. As a testament to the South African public’s love, respect and trust for the iconic ‘Bakkie’, South African sales of the Hilux eclipsed the one million mark in July this year.
The one millionth unit, a Single Cab 3.0 D-4D Legend 45 model, was sold to Pretoria resident and business owner Shabier Aboobaker on 31 July 2015. Mr. Aboobaker is a Toyota loyalist, having owned a wide variety of Toyota products in the past, including a 1982 Corolla Sprinter, a 1986 Cressida 2.8i (of which he was one of the first lucky owners) and various Camry models, some of which are still in the family.
“We are incredibly proud of the vehicle’s achievements on the local market and this is further proof that Hilux’s legendary reliability and heritage has entrenched it in the hearts of customers,” says Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Toyota South Africa. “This is also a significant achievement for our Durban based production plant where the current Hilux is produced.”
In recognition of not only the sheer number of Hilux vehicles produced, but also of its unparalleled success as a competition vehicle, Toyota SA Motorsport has built a one-of-a-kind Toyota Hilux. Known as the Toyota Hilux Racing Experience, this unique machine is a celebration of Hilux.
At the heart of the race version of the Toyota Hilux is the powerful and flexible Lexus IS-F V8 engine. In celebration of its racing success, this is the same engine that does duty in the Toyota Hilux Racing Experience vehicle. With more than 335 kW of power available at 6,000 rpm, this is most likely the most powerful Toyota Hilux ever built. However, the Hilux Racing Experience is much more than just a Toyota Hilux with a big engine – it is a finely crafted machine that embraces a host of technology used in Toyota SA Motorsport’s Hilux race vehicles.
The engine management system, for instance, has been replaced with a Pectel Cosworth system, making the most of the engine’s direct fuel injection. The sump has been modified to make room for the production Hilux front differential, which has been equipped with a new gear ratio. The rear diff received similar treatment, and the inlet manifold has been modified to Dakar spec, effectively boosting the torque characteristics of the engine.
A new alternator and power steering pump has been fitted, together with a new air conditioning compressor. The entire wiring harness has been upgraded to Dakar spec, a full tubular exhaust system has been installed and modifications made to the transmission’s bell housing, in order to mate the gearbox to the IS-F engine.
“So the modifications are pretty comprehensive,” says Toyota SA Motorsport’s Glyn Hall. “But you can’t just add all that power and toys without ensuring that the vehicle can handle it.” As such the suspension system has also been upgraded, with fully adjustable front and rear dampers, and the entire vehicle has been lowered by 50 mm over the production version. The steering ratio has been increased for faster movement and large 18×9” wheels have been fitted.
“All of this come together with the AIM electronic dashboard, which is fully integrated with the Pectel engine management system and provides the driver with a vast array of engine information in true motorsport fashion.” The result is a well-balanced bakkie that offers supreme performance without compromising handling – in essence, a road-going Toyota Hilux injected with motorsport DNA, which offers the driver the very essence of Toyota SA Motorsport’s race vehicles.