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All that Quentin Boylan really wanted was a crazy 550hp bakkie to go to work in every morning. But as we know it, things never quite go according to plan.

By Joel Batty Silva

It’s a brave new world out there in the land of engine swaps. As it turns out, 2JZs in Corollas aren’t nearly as awe-inspiring as they once were and the new kid on the block is supposedly the 4.0L Barra motor. Displacement trumps all, or so it seems, and there really is no better place to get it than with General Motor’s family of V8 LS engines. Or so that was what Quentin Boylan thought.

The LS1 is the obvious choice for would-be swappers. It’s true, there are exponentially more powerful LS engines, but at 350hp, few other engines make as much sense. But what happens if you find something with almost twice the power and grunt!

“The LS1 is a pap motor!” he says with a straight face. “I originally fitted a LS to this Hilux – it didn’t really excite me.” The tone in his voice raises slightly as he explains how he bought a wrecked Mercedes Benz S63 from an auction. And after reading up how much power the AMG lump made, he said “hang on, let’s gooi that thing in!” In a matter of time, his right-hand man Hercules “Tjonkie” van Wyk planted the M156 6.2L AMG seed deep inside the Hilux’s belly. Quentin explains the swap was pretty-straight forward, although the hardest thing to conjure up were the exhaust headers. For this he entrusted CME Engineering. With restricted space to work with, Chris Muller used loose flanges to fabricate the headers instead of going the one-piece route.

Supervising the AMG motor is a Motec M150 EMS, which Martin Roets from MJR undertook. “The huge headache is that Motec cannot control the AMG gearbox. I’m probably the only person in the world begging them to sort out a Canbus for that reason. So that’s why I went for the GD6 6-speed gearbox.”

“Before we changed the bellhousing, you couldn’t get the gearbox out on its own – you had to remove the entire engine and gearbox because of the constraints in the tunnel.” The transmission has always been a thorn in Quentin’s paw. The first setup involved the said Toyota Hilux GD6 gearbox and a Honda double copper clutch which he found lying around the workshop. Sadly, that setup never worked as Quentin explains, “It was kak to drive in traffic. It was so harsh, and it irritated me. So, I sold the bakkie!” The new owner sorted out the clutch issue. But when Quentin was offered the opportunity to buy back the bakkie, he couldn’t say no. On the first day behind the wheel, the flywheel bolts broke off. Tjonkie and Quentin devised another idea to try out a D4D clutch plate. Sadly, that too couldn’t handle the punishment. But when they added a second D4D clutch plate, the heavens opened, and a choir of angels descended.

After taking out the gearbox more than 25 times, they eventually got it right, and he has the father and son team of Kobus and Lehann from Xlint Clutches to thank. “The bakkie is now drive able and the clutch doesn’t slip,” says Quentin. “Remember, we’re making 750Nm at 1500rpm: the 2Js can get away with the single D4D clutch because their power and torque comes in at the top. But we had to use two.” Cooling was another issue which is 99% sorted: Junior Welding Works fabricated a bigger radiator that incorporates a fan off a Prado. “I still want to do an induction of some sort – it’s still getting a lot of underbody heat. Maybe I’ll put a Nissan R35 vent with the induction running down to feed cooler air.”

The Hilux uses Golf R discs and calipers (right) to stop. “Shit. We can’t call them proper brakes then!” he says, laughing out loud. But they do the job and that’s what counts. The exterior features subtle additions like the 20-inch Aline wheels, AMG striping, a custom Ford Wildtrak roll bar, and an extension on the front bumper which he found in Malaysia.

I guess owning a massive spares enterprise specializing in Colt and Toyota bakkie spares has its fair share of advantages. But the love Quentin has for the trusty Hilux goes far and beyond that. Scroll through his Facebook wall and you’ll encounter modified Hilux’s in every form and manner, even a hefty turbodiesel that could well embarrass a hot hatch on any given day.

“I need to go. I must actually go and load grass on this car.” And with that sentence, Quentin Boylan summed up the phenomenon that is AMGLux.

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