Toyota’s redoubtable Hilux continues to push the boundaries of extreme endurance, completing a marathon Antarctic journey of more than 5,900 miles, further than any vehicle of its type has managed before. And true to Toyota’s reputation for toughness, it did so without a single technical hitch. The latest feat, achieved as part of the longest expedition in polar history, adds to Hilux’s achievements of reaching both Magnetic North and South Poles.
Remarkably, the vehicles used in the double trans-continental crossing organised by Extreme World Races used standard 3.0-litre D-4D engines and transmissions. But to meet the demands of temperatures as low as -50°C and harsh terrain rising to above 3,400m the vehicles were specially engineered by Icelandic conversion specialists Arctic Trucks.
Three Hilux – including two “6×6” models – completed the expedition, running on Jet A-1 fuel to cope with the extreme cold. Each clocked up almost 6,000 miles over four months from November 2011 to February this year. In all 10 Hilux were deployed by the expedition team, which trusted in the Toyotas to meet the demands of setting up a fuel depot and weather station and providing essential support to scientists and competitors in a ski race.
Necessary modifications to the vehicles included fitting a crane to lift heavy equipment and a 280-litre fuel tank – 800 litres in the case of the six-wheel models. The suspension and drivetrain were strengthened, crawler gears were added to the transmission, and the extra large tyres were filled to between 2.0 and 3.0psi (compared to 29.0psi for regular road-going Hilux), giving a “footprint” 17 times larger than standard tyres.