A passion for four wheel driving and the chance purchase of a Toyota Hilux have led Phil Gogerly in a whole new direction …
Name: Phil Gogerly.
Where do you hail from:
I have lived in the area since I was born, growing up in Tuncurry and building a house on a property at Dyers Crossing with my wife Amy, 6 years ago.
What have you done to your Hilux?
I bought the Hilux about two years ago off a builder I had been doing some work for (he had decided to move back to Canada, where he grew up). I wasn’t really looking around for one, but had the intentions of one day buying one to build up to take the family away and explore the country.
I had no intention at that stage of it becoming remotely close to what it is now. One thing soon led to another and before I knew it, I was building something that I had only read about in Four Wheel Drive magazines.
The body was gutted and stripped back to bare metal, then given a fresh coat of paint. I chose white because scratches aren’t as evident after driving through the bush, and it’s a lot easier to repair. The rear of the engine bay had to be massaged to make room for the Lexus V8, as there was not a lot of room in there.
We had to remove all of the suspension and any mounting brackets that held shocks and springs etc. in place, as the new suspension needed new mounting points and is designed to flex and give more wheel travel when manoeuvring over rocks and through ruts. It also gives more lift for clearance underneath.
The tray was custom designed and made, as were the rock sliders. All of the wiring in the engine bay was replaced to run the V8. The hood lining and the door trims are really the only things that remain the same as the day I bought it. Although there is no way I could have done this without the help of Shane from Norti Custom 4×4 and Brian ‘Drysie’ Drysdale from L & C Mudgridge Mechanical.
I’ve always enjoyed four wheel driving, with most of my mates having a keen interest in four wheel driving and exploring some of the best parts of the country – that a lot of the time are only accessible by four wheel drive.
We have also shown a lot of interest in other people’s build-ups over the years and made it a ritual to make a group trip to ‘Tuff Truck Challenge’ – the biggest four wheel drive competition in Australia, which is held at Milbrodale in the Hunter Valley each year.
What is the plan for the truck?
I am going to start building some experience on a few of the trails between Wauchope and the Central Coast and then all going well, my first competition will be the 4X4 Masters at Eastern Creek early November.
I’d like to be able to get it dirty as much as possible and if time allows, be able to compete in as many competitions as I can.
What is the Tuff Truck Sport?
It’s really about people with a passion for more than your usual everyday four wheel driving experience. Some of the vehicles can climb almost vertical rocks, drive up rocky hills you would struggle to walk up and through mud up to your chest. A lot of the competitions are time based, where you have a set course that you have to accomplish by a certain time. Points are deducted if your vehicle moves outside the set track and points are gained if you can make it through the bonus line, which is usually a slightly harder part of the track.
There are a variety of different competitions around that cater for all vehicles, from mild to wild, and they can be found fairly easily online.
The biggest one is the Tuff Truck Challenge at Millbrodale, which is a 3-day event. It runs from Friday March 16 to 18, 2012 and caters for everyone from kids to adults. For more information on competitions, information can be found at outerlimits4x4.com or at tufftruck.com.au.
Also, there are many four wheel drive clubs you can join with your everyday 4X4, to not only help you learn to drive tricky terrain, but they’re also a great way to socialise while experiencing parts of the area you otherwise may not get to see.
What does your wife think of your truck and the sport?
She has actually been really supportive. It has meant countless nights in the shed and weekends covered in grease or searching online for parts, but she is always keen to know what stage I’m up to with it and what I’m planning to do next.
The kids and her have come to the last two Tuff Truck Challenges with me and have enjoyed the atmosphere and the fact that it is a family oriented event. I think she will be glad to see it covered in mud, rather than looking like it only sees bitumen roads. I will be too!