Typically, when we think of V12s, the mind drifts to thoughts of lithe Italian supercars, German sedans, or perhaps the luxurious Jaguars of years past. However, Toyota too have played in this space, with the 1GZ-FE engine under the hood of the Century. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before one ended up stuffed under the hood of a Hilux, as Double Apex reports.
The build hails from South Africa, where a pickup truck is referred to as a “bakkie.” It’s the creation of one Francois Fritz, owner and proprietor of FatBoy Fab Works. Inspired by other Toyota V12 swaps, Fritz decided he needed to build a Century-swapped Hilux without compromising its usability as a pickup truck.
The build started with a 2012 Hilux, which came stock with a 3.0-liter diesel engine. In an earlier iteration, it sported a twin-turbo setup good for 284 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. However, that powerplant was pulled out and sold off to fund the V12 swap. The 5.0-liter Century V12 was good for 295 horsepower stock, but Fritz had bigger plans. The 1GZ-FE got a rebuilt bottom end and twin Garrett GT35 turbos, and was dropped in the Hilux along with its standard four-speed automatic transmission. Thrown on the dyno, the combination put out 539 horsepower and a monstrous 715 lb-ft of torque running approximately 10 pounds of boost.
With pipes akimbo coming out the front end and exhausts coming out of the hood, it’s a properly mental rig. We can imagine you’d want plenty of fluid in your washer bottle to regularly rinse off the windshield; assuming there’s still one fitted, that is. The “JESUS POWER” banner across the top only adds to the befuddling, incongruous look of this muscled-up hauler. The design makes sense, given it was put together to compete at the Simola Hillclimb on a short timetable. Everything was buttoned up the night before the event. The V12 “bakkie” actually makes an appearance in the video below, a summary of the hillclimb from Cars.co.za:
Stickier tires and a suspension drop aimed to help the truck stay on the course, though brakes remained stock. For a hillclimb, that’s not so bad, as the combination of gravity and the short single run help avoid issues of brake fade. Minor electrical issues meant that the Hilux wasn’t able to set a dynamite time at the event, but Fritz was unbothered. “We made it to the hillclimb and it was one of the best experiences of my life. We went there to wow with something special and I am sure we did,” said Fritz.
It’s a great build for several reasons, but perhaps most of all because it shows you really can fit a nice 5.0-liter Toyota V12 inside the company’s most famous pickup. The 1GZ-FE may not have the catchiest engine designation, nor be as compact or as cheap an LS swap. However, they are powerful, torquey, and can shriek like all hell with the right exhaust. We fully expect to see more in future. There’s just something about 12 cylinders firing together that makes a car a little more special.
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