Is there no driving challenge beyond the scope of Toyota's mighty Hilux? The legendary pick-up has completed a journey across Antarctica to the South Pole, further proving the go-anywhere qualities that helped it become the first car to be driven to the Magnetic North Pole in the 2007 Top Gear Polar Challenge.

The expedition also demonstrated that Hilux has advantages over snowcats when it comes to being a sensible transport choice. It can travel much faster, uses significantly less fuel and can carry more passengers – in more comfort, to boot. And thanks to the quality of Toyota's 3.0 D-4D engine, CO2 emissions are lower.

Hilux models were requested as support vehicles for the Amundsen Omega3 South Pole Race, a 483-mile skiing challenge celebrating the historic rival expeditions of explorers Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott. The Hilux Double Cabs were prepared for the extreme conditions by Arctic Trucks, the Reykjavik-based company which also fettled the Top Gear challenge machines.

Towing custom-built trailers, the Hilux at times had to cope with loads up to 2.5 tonnes – 1.5 tonnes more than their specified capacity, and were also newly fitted with a system to melt snow while on the move, using heat from the engine. Pressed into service to ferry supplies, scientists and team support groups and to carry out reconnaissance duties, the four Hilux have covered more than 2,000 miles each across the rough, frozen terrain in temperatures as low as -30C.

Hilux has already proved its worth as a workhorse of choice for scientists based at Camp Novo and other Antarctic research stations, and is being reviewed as the solution for future transport requirements in the area, demonstrating beyond doubt its ability to tackle the world's toughest environments.

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SPECIFICATION

Arctic Trucks Hilux for the South Pole Race 2008/2009

A standard Toyota Hilux Double Cab 3.0-litre with Automatic Transmission

ENGINE

  • Auxiliary heater on coolant added
  • Original battery replaced by two heavy duty batteries
  • Air intake modified
  • Special exhaust system fitted

TRANSMISSION AND LOW GEAR

  • Original 4 gear automatic transmission
  • Original low gear modified by Arctic Trucks into crawler gear
  • Additional low gear from KZJ 95 added
  • Drive shafts modified

DIFFERENTIAL

  • Front: Arctic Trucks 4.88:1 8.2" ring and pinion installed
  • Rear: Bigger 9.5" rear differential installed with 4.88:1
  • 100% differential air lockers fitted front and rear

TYRES AND WHEELS

  • Dick Cepec FC 44x18.5 - 15 inch tires fitted
  • Steel wheels 15"x16"

FUEL SYSTEM

  • Fuel heater added
  • Two additional fuel tanks with 210 litre capacity added
  • Total capacity 290 litres

SUSPENSION

  • Front: suspension moved forward 4 cm and down 5 cm.  Standard coil springs and shocks replaced by heavy duty Arctic Trucks springs and heavy duty Koni shocks
  • Rear: suspension moved back by 16 cm.  Standard leaf springs replaced by modified Tundra leaf springs.   Heavy duty stopper and rear track bar added
  • Reinforce knuckles installed

BODY

  • 6 cm body lift
  • Relocated body mounts
  • Extensive body trimming front and rear
  • Large fender flairs fitted.

NAVIGATION AND COMMUNICATION

  • VHF and HF radios
  • Iridium phone
  • GPS and laptops

OTHER

  • African Outback roof rack fitted
  • Crevasses protection bar
  • Roll cage installed inside cabin and on rear deck
  • Rear towing hitch welded on frame
  • Winch/towing bar fitted in front
  • Additional skid plates made from 12mm PE500 plastic fitted
  • Two electrical air pumps installed and air conditioning pump modified for pumping air
  • Auxiliary electrical system for various equipment and film crew
  • Comeup 9500I winch with Dinex rope
  • Power outtake for winch front and rear
  • Snow melting system fitted, using engine coolant
  • New sided steps fitted, can be used as push bar between vehicles and as a fixture for a crane to lift oil barrels
  • Fixtures on rear deck for fuel barrels and various equipments added
  • High lift jack, shovel, craw bar
  • Note: For critical parts a steal with high tolerance to low temperature was used: