In part 1 of this blog about the trucks I covered the modifications made to the Toyota Hilux vehicles by the very talented team of engineers at Arctic Trucks... now our trucks are ready for Antarctic fieldwork. In this post we will look at the process of building the trucks.
To attain the capabilities to travel on snow in Antarctica with multiplied load capacity the Hilux AT44, 4x4 and the 6x6 vehicles needed fundamental reengineering. In the first step of this process the body is separated from the frame and dissembled.
To fit the larger tires, the body is re-engineered
The interior of the vehicle required re-engineering too.
The frames of the vehicles are built separately, to picture is the frame for the 4x4, it is reengineered for more strength, longer wheelbase, for fixture points and more. The 6x6 (bottom picture) frame is new.
Before re-assembling the vehicle the engine is refitted.
The drivetrain and suspension is installed.
Et voila…. Two of the sexiest vehicles out there!
We fell in love with the trucks pretty quickly during a week long training expedition in the spring of 2015. They are comfortable to drive, comfortable to work from, powerful and agile…. We took the trucks for a swim, drove them in all types of snow, through rivers, up mountains and most of this was in whiteout blizzard conditions. They didn’t complain once, nor did we from the warmth and comfort inside the trucks.
Photo's from our training week, in which we really put the vehicles to the test in all conditions on Vatnajökull
I will end this blog post with a few fun facts which I think prove just how awesome the trucks are. You know, in case you hadn’t already fallen in love with them…
Lowest temperature recorded: -56 (Antarctica 2010)
Highest altitude: 3820 m.asl (Antarctica 2011)
Longest expedition: 9600 km (Antarctica 2011/2012)
Longest time of expedition: 82 nights (Antarctica 2011/2012)
Speed record: 2300 km in 4 days (Antarctica 2010, Guiness World Record)
Longest drive between fuel depots: 1500 km (several expeditions)
Longest drive by one vehicle: 3720 km (Antarctica 2013)
The most serious driver: Jeremy Clarkson (Arctic 2007, Top Gear)