It arrived! Our Sun Fusion Yellow '06 Toyota FJ Cruiser showed up just in time for us to ship it off to Denver to start the transformation from entry-level off-roader to our extreme exploration machine. If you've been under a rock, or better yet away from your subscription out in the rocks, let us catch you up. Each year the staff of Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road takes a weeklong dirt road trip and goes exploring some different part of the nation. On top of that we build an official trail contraption that must fill the roll of stead and stallion for group leader (and 4-Wheel & Off-Road editor) Rick Pewe. Of course, being a magazine project truck we usually get started late, and try to round up a group of top fabricators, mechanics, and component suppliers that are willing to lend a hand or two, or even those of their entire staff, to get the truck done in record time (as this is written we have just over two months left to go).
So what is the plan for this year? You can expect a big trail machine with expedition flair. We plan to spend over a week living out of this beast with rare stops at fuel stations for tummy and truck fuel, hole-in-the-wall repair shops to patch up anything that gets hammered, and random small-town motels to wash up after a week of camping and wheeling. With this in mind, we took the FJ to Poison Spyder Customs for safety upgrades in the form of an internal cage built to protect four occupants, and to Slee Off Road for internal expedition amenities that should help the trip run smoothly. Poison Spyder is a recognized name in the Jeep and tube buggy portions of the 4x4 scene where they make armor for TJs, YJs, CJs and the upcoming JK as well as both two- and four-seat chassis for folks wanting the next level of trail rig. Meanwhile Slee Off Road is renowned in the Toyota Land Cruiser scene for supplying everything from expedition racks and lights to roof-mounted tents and rocksliders.
If you want to see even more info on our Ultimate FJ buildup, just log onto www.ultimateadventure2006.com.
When traveling off-road and living out of your 4x4 for any extended period it isn't uncommon for gear to get bounced around and quickly become a disorganized mess. Slee Off Road offers its African Outback drawer system that has been in use for years overseas in sport-utes that need safe and secure storage. We like the idea of access to the tools and heavy gear that will be stored down low in the drawers without removing everything from on top. These heavy-duty drawers are constructed of galvanized steel and wood and can support up to 200 pounds of cargo. They use a bolt-action lock to keep the drawers closed on steep climbs and against criminal fingers.