INTRODUCING THE FJ49
A LANDCRUISER CLASSIC SPLICED WITH MODERN DAY OFF-ROAD CAPABILITY
Patriot Campers is known for taking the world by storm with some of the baddest 4×4 Builds in the world, a reputation that started with the iconic LC79 “Black Truck” and continued to grow with the 6×6 LC79 “Megatourer” and the RAM 2500 “Superam”.
In 2022, the Montesalvo boys are back at it again with another world first, the “FJ49”. The FJ49 is a powerful fusion between an immaculately restored 1945 LandCruiser, with the full engine and driveline capabilities of Australia’s most reliable vehicle to date, a modern-day 79 Series LandCruiser.
WATCH THE FJ49 BUILD SERIES
The FJ49 has been a coming of age project for the Montesalvo Twins, Christian and Ashton, as they approached getting their licences in 2021, and both boys set out to purchase their first vehicles. With a Patriot Campers legacy to uphold, the decision was no easy task.
Christian and Ashton have spent every school holiday working at Patriot HQ since they were pre-teens, and were excited to take their skills to the next level with the FJ49 Build. After years of saving wages from Patriot Campers, Ashton was able to purchase the 45 Series LandCruiser just a few months before his 17th birthday, just in time to get his provisional licence on the Gold Coast.
Proud Dad and Director of Patriot Campers, Justin Montesalvo, then pitched in with company resources to help Christian and Ashton complete the build. A reward for many years of hard work.
After a failed first outing at Gordon Country, a local four-wheel-drive park and camping ground, Ashton decided that he wanted to update his iconic 45 series LandCruiser, to give it the reliability and performance of a modern day 79 Series LandCruiser, which is considered by many to be the pinnacle of reliability and performance in the off-road category.
With this in mind, the teenagers set out to complete a full engine and driveline conversion utilising an ex-mining, 2011 V8 Diesel 79 Series LandCruiser. The finished FJ49 would keep its original chassis, and borrow its engine, transmission, air conditioning components, differentials and springs from this donor vehicle, before adding in several other modern enhancements.
The FJ49 is engineered with a set of Harrop Eaton ELockers, which are designed specifically for four wheel drive systems, giving the driver the ability to lock or unlock the differentials when necessary. When locked, the ELockers perform as a full locker, capturing 100% of the available torque and sending it equally to both ends of the axle. Next, the team added a PWR Performance radiator and intercooler, which work together to maximise cooling efficiencies and disbursement of heat. A must for any off-roader looking for performance. The leaf-sprung suspension has been upgraded to a one off coil system on the front only utilising the 79 series LandCruiser components, with the back featuring a JMACX Heavy Duty Diff Upgrade for the leaf suspension, which acts to correct the track to match the front differential as factory units are 100mm narrower. All of this performance gear rounds out with the Stainless Steel Exhaust, which acts to cool down gases from the vehicle and prevent overheating. The team at GSL provided their expertise during the fitment of all the gear, helping out with the intake and intercooler plumbing, before Dyno Tuning the FJ49 at the GSL head office in Toowoomba, QLD.
One of the first features that you might notice on the FJ49 is all the custom barwork, courtesy of the Engineering Team at Patriot Campers. Using 3D Automotive Scanning, the Engineering team were able to design and manufacture fully customised flares, bar work, tow bar and an EXOCAGE exclusively for the build. All design and fabrication work was completed in-house at Patriot Campers’ state of the art facility utilising the most modern manufacturing techniques and access to top shelf machinery, including Fronius welding equipment. PCOR® Wheels were selected for the build in order to take advantage of the vehicle’s maximum legal track, which is a possibility thanks to the unique offset of these wheels. Wrapped around the wheels are a set of BFGoodrich 20″ KO2 tyres, thanks to the team at Bob Jane T-Marts, who worked with Christian and Ashton on the right tyre for aesthetics and capabilities. The KO2s deliver just that, with an aggressive all-terrain tread pattern which continues through the robust sidewall design.
Mounted to the front of the vehicle is a Warn High Mount Winch, which is the fastest of the WARN range and features the longest rope length. The winch motor has 10,000 lb of capacity thanks to its 6 horsepower motor. Fitted on board is also an ARB Twin air compressor, which the team chose for its known reliability over time, as all of the Patriot Games vehicles have been running these compressors for the last few years without issue. A full suite of quad-optic LED driving lights are also fitted to the vehicle, which feature Multiplexer Projection Technology from the team at X-Ray Vision. The kit includes new headlights, and two lightbars; one 900mm and one 1200mm.
Opting for a tray back set up without canopies, Ashton has chosen to go with a more flexible setup. For weekends away, he’ll power his DOMETIC CFX 55L fridge with the onboard Redarc electronics suite. Rounding out the look on the exterior are a set of PCOR® MAXTRAX XTREME, which offer the most advanced 4WD recovery track on the market, so the boys can get out of whatever trouble they get themselves into in the FJ49. And of course, you can’t miss the Patina paint job from Livin Loco Garage.
In a 45 Series Landcruiser world-first, REDARC Systems manage every electrical input and output using a combination of a Manager 30 and a Redvision TVMS. Two deep reverse cycle batteries from Mega Life Batteries power the whole system, including a 350 watt REDARC inverter, which will allow Ashton to charge small items like phones, and power a small stereo system.
A Boost and EGT Gauge monitors the engine performance, and a Towpro Electric Brake Controller has also been fitted, both from Redarc. The TowPro has been installed as a part of the PCOR® Trail Connect system, which is a complete wiring solution for the tow pro and anderson plug connection, which allows for an uncomplicated wiring set up and fast, no fuss installation. An interior of any Patriot Games build wouldn’t be complete without an XRS Connect UHF Radio system from GME, which features bluetooth and game-changing XRS Connect Location Services via a smartphone app. Other prominent features of the cab include a Nardi steering wheel, custom upholstery and an overhead console.