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1976 Toyota Land Cruiser - 2005 Top Truck Challenge

Posted in Top Truck Challenge: 2005 on November 1, 2005
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Contributors: Ken Brubaker
Photographers: Ken Brubaker

The Blue Ox
Hailing from Piedmont, Oklahoma, is Phil Bargman and his long-wheelbase 1976 Land Cruiser, affectionately dubbed, the "Ox." The Land Cruiser is an exceptional foundation for a Top Truck, but this one is even better, having been built by Phil's very own hands. Phil is very appreciative that he has been chosen to represent Toyota fans everywhere and promises his Ox will hold its own in this year's Top Truck Challenge.

The Ox stands proud on 46-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claws. Diamond-plate armor and Speed Liner spray-on coating fends off rock strikes, while dual Warn 9000i winches can yank this FJ out of trouble.

Supporting the front of the Ox is a Dana 60 sporting an ARB Air Locker, with 4-inch lift springs in a spring-over conversion with Rancho RS 9000X shocks. An AGR gearbox and steering-assist cylinder point the big Mickeys wherever Phil wants to go.

Unlike any Land Cruiser we have ever seen, this FJ has a trick rear airbag suspension with 6x23-inch bags mounted on top of a Detroit-Locked GM 14-bolt with a single pivot ball and Panhard bar. Dual Rancho shocks keep it all in check. Phil says the rear axle has been moved back about 24 inches.

Turn the key and you'll hear the sound of power coming from under the hood. Once the heart of a Chevrolet Camaro, the L98 350ci V-8 sings through a single Flowmaster muffler.

The stock dash has been removed, in its place is an aluminum dash filled with the Auto Meter gauge catalog. Nissan Pulsar seats are much more supportive than the stockers ever were, and a Grant steering wheel allows Phil to become one with the Ox.


Phil Bargman/Piedmont, Oklahoma
Vehicle model:
1976 {{{Toyota Land Cruiser}}}
What he does when not 'wheeling:
Oklahoma City firefighter
Chevy {{{Camaro}}} L98 350ci V-8/
Flowmaster muffler
Mike Allison Turbo 350 with triple coolers, B&{{{M}}} 2-quart pan, Art Carr shifter
Transfer case(s):
NP203 with Atlas II 4.3
Suspension (f/r):
4-inch spring-overs, Rancho shocks, AGR gearbox/Airbags, pivot ball, Panhard bar, dual Rancho shocks
Axles (f/r):
Dana 60, ARB Air Locker/
GM 14-bolt, Detroit Locker
Axle ratio:
15-in. USA 6x6 with double bead locks
19.5-46x15 LR Mickey Thompson Baja Claws

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