The Turbo V8 Frankenstein Hilux

What do you do when no one makes a wide-body for your vehicle? Easy – you create one. But that’s only half the story of this 1977 Toyota Hilux.

While I was out at Holley LS Fest West earlier this month, I saw Josh Mazerolle from Vague Industries driving around in the unique build. The turbo sticking out of the hood – along with the intake and alternator – and wide-body is initially what caught my eye, but there’s a lot more to this Hilux than that.

Let’s start with the wide-body; it’s an all-metal job, and it’s this type of metal work that Vague is known for over in New Hampshire. The fenders are hand-formed sheet metal and welded together with cut accents on the openings behind each tire. This also includes the custom front bumper and splitter, all made of steel. While you are probably expecting me to say it uses inches of spacers, that’s not actually the case.


To get this wide setup, a Ford Crown Victoria suspension was removed from a donor Panther chassis, all while Josh was stuck in Texas thanks to an oil-puking 20R. Of course, those parts just don’t bolt up, so Josh cut the front of the frame off and made a new front frame.


The rear is also from the same Crown Vic donor, but a set of custom leaf spring perches gets the chassis close to the ground without the need for lowering blocks. The Ford 8.8-inch rear end is also stronger than the original Toyota 7.5-inch unit, as well as being about six-inches wider per side. Thus, this truck has no need for spacers with its 18-inch wheels wrapped in 275/40R18 Falken Azenis FK510s at each corner.


Inside, a fully TIG-welded 4130 chromoly cage was installed, and with the way it was built Josh only lost around a 1/2-inch of headroom in the cab. The gauges are, well, drawn on a white piece of paper and taped on the cross bar just above the stock steering wheel.

If you’re a Hilux fan, you probably notice a couple of things out of the ordinary, namely the larger trans tunnel and the odd placement of the lug wrench. The tunnel was cut and new metal fitted to accomodate what’s up front, while the lug wrench is the shifter.


The engine itself turned out to be an interesting story, as it was originally thought to be a LM7, otherwise known as a Gen III 5.3-liter iron block unit as found in GM trucks. A tune was burned into the GM 0411 PCM for the On3Performance 70mm turbo, Nitrous Express 100hp shot kit, and the 4L80E (a GM 4-speed automatic). It has been driven this way for two months and over 20,000 miles thanks to trips between New Hampshire and Los Angeles. It’s also gone through several pairs of rear Falkens on this tune.


However, while in Las Vegas for LS Fest, Josh found out that the engine’s actually an LR4, which means this is a 4.8-liter iron block V8 instead of a 5.3-liter. That’s the trouble of the GM LS-based truck blocks, without a VIN number it’s hard to tell what you really have until you peek through the spark plug holes and see the pistons. The LR4 has flat-tops while the LM7 has dished pistons. It also speaks to the strength of these truck engines when you can put a 100-shot of nitrous and 7psi of boost through the intake and it doesn’t melt away on you.


You’ll probably be seeing more of Josh and this Frankenstein Hilux; both will continue to cross the US and speak to the power and reliability of its boosted 4.8-liter on nitrous.

Justin Banner
Instagram: jb27tt
Facebook: racerbanner
Twitter: RacerBanner



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You're in the desert and this car rolls up with a gypsy behind the wheel. Do you get in???


Yes. Yes, I do.


I honestly would too. Was thinking about that scenario as I was reading through this article and the car is so badass I would literally enter a Liam Neeson movie plot to drive it.


Mad max worthy adversary?


All this space and no profile shots, no wide shots to get the full picture of this truck? Come on man!


not a single side shot, disappointed


Great project!
I assume it's a good looking truck? fantastic detail pics, but not one side shot, not one 3/4 view? rims?
I need more pics!!


Interesting truck.. would love to see what the rims look like or at least a profile shot of it?


The Hoonigans have a video of this thing on YouTube, for those wanting more visual... plus donuts. Search "Hoonigans Hilux" and it should be the first to pop up.


Wow the hoonigans did it!? It must be ground breaking and on the cutting edge of everything. I better hurry and find it before all those kids who drive subarus with backwards hats!


Normally I'd agree with your feelings towards that side of the culture, but the Hoonigans team actually seem like pretty cool guys. The kids that put DC, Monster, and Hoonigan stickers on their cars... not so much.


Honestly I'm with you there. I dislike most of the "bro" culture that surrounds car culture but in most cases the Hoonigan channel goes above that. Ever since Dan and Brad came on as builders the projects are starting to become bad ass and they aren't just dicking around doing whatever now. Also, every guy in there has their own knowledge base. Vin is a BMW guy, Hert is the drifter, Jon is their graphic artist and into classic muscle, Brandon Kado edits their shows and loves classic J-tin, Zach is into bikes and Scotto has a car addiction/collection that would make most of us drool.

With that spread of car culture appreciation working there they will end up with something for everyone.


Slave to editing.


Sounds like you're a hater for the sake of being a hater. At the end of the day, a feature is a feature, who cares who provides it. Doesn't change what the car is, or its story.


*hits vape*

Cool bro!


Just out of curiosity, why do so many of these feature cars run without air filters?

Do these people desperately WANT engine damage?


I believe there is a hashtag for this #aintcare

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I'm not one to criticize, but this time I gotta agree with most of the guys here. Why no profile shots or even 3/4 views? I'd seriously love to see more of this thing.


I thought the same, until i googled hoonigan hilux as others have suggested. The wheels and their offsets leave MUCH to be desired.. weak link in the whole build imo. I really REALLY hope theyre waiting on wheels and thats why no side or 3/4 shots were featured here. fingers crossed!


A fixed machine gun in the trunk and Frankenstein is ready for death race, that's a mean looking Hilux.

I would join the call of more wide photos, profile shots,...

Matthew Everingham

Damn. I'd love to pick up a girl for a first date in this monster. Imagine the parents' reaction haha.

Such a badass approach to an otherwise forgotten chassis. I can't remember the last 70's Hilux on the road. High-fives for Josh!


Nice wheels by the way! ... said no one, because there's absolutely no picture of the sides of this thing. Disappointing.


To answer your questions, there was a decision made not to show the wheels on this on as they're copies of a popular wheel. At the same time, the truck is very cool and deserves to be shared, so this was the compromise that we reached.

It's not ideal, but maybe we can re-visit it in future.


Wait why not show them? Legal thing or something?


Understandable. Definitely follow up on this one please, its solid wallpaper material and I JUST WANT TO SEE MORE! Thank you guys!

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Alright, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the clarification Paddy.


saw the main pic before clicking and figured this was gonna be some more amazing Khyzyl Saleem work... definitely a build capturing some of that.


God, I wish I still had my '93 T-Bird SC.

I'd turn it into this.


If y'all want to see a side shot of this truck go on YouTube and look up Hoonigan Daily Transmission Hilux.


So.....the LR4 in my rusty Silverado will take that much punishment you say?
This gives me ideas