GX-470: Best Kept Secret?

GX-470: Best Kept Secret?

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"Is that a Lexus?"

"Are you lost?"

"You should turn back!"

These are the standard greetings I receive when I use my 2003 GX470 for trail duty.  It’s okay, I am used to it after almost 8 years.  I have learned to retort with witty humor to diffuse the clear shock of these folks; My GPS told me the outlet mall was at the end of this road.It’s all in good fun.


GX 470: Best Kept Secret?

Speaking of good fun, the GX470 is the best kept secret in the off road and expedition community today. A bulletproof full time 4WD system with a 4.7L Toyota V8 coupled with a very advanced ATRAC system and a true manual lever 4L capable transfer case. It is a V8 4R (or Land Cruiser Prado 120, or an FJ) in sheep’s clothing. Parts are easy to source for maintenance and repair because of the family membership with so many other rigs as per above. Break a CV? Local auto parts stores have them to get you home (even though you should have a spare).

So why build a Lexus, and what did I do with mine?

Simple: They are cheap to purchase used (yes, really). They are easy to work on if you are in the Toyota family now and have any IFS Toyota from 2003-2009. They have power, capability, comfort, and quiet. They have more sound deadening than almost any other model.
It is easier if you see for yourself:

  • Total Chaos Upper and Lower Control Arms
  • ReadyLift Tacoma steering upgrade package (billet tie rods)
  • Extended travel Icon 2.5 coil overs with remote reservoir and CDC
  • Icon S2 secondary shocks on Total Chaos secondary hoops
  • Icon 3 Expedition springs (rear)
  • Icon 2.5 long travel remote reservoir CDC rear shocks
  • Iron Man 4x4 Prado 120 front deluxe winch bumper
  • Iron Man 4x4 12,000lb winch with wireless remote
  • Custom rear bumper and sliders by ACC Garage
  • ASFIR aluminum skid plate set
  • Nitrogear 4.56 front and rear, ARB lockers (and compressor) for the front and rear
  • Iron Man 4x4 Prado 120 snorkel
  • 34x10.50x17 BFG AT KO2s on Method wheels
  • Removed the plastic trim, filled clip holes, and bedlined two tone colors
  • Remote mount HAM radio antenna (front bumper)
  • ARB Prado 120 rear storage solution with drawers and wings
  • MSA drop-down fridge slide
  • ARB fridge (hoping to get the first stainless outdoor one in the US)
  • Handheld HAM mounted to panavice arm in the cab
  • Aftermarket stereo (Alpine, JL Audio) with iPad USB input 
  • iPad mini mount to dash for music, GPS, and GoPro streaming
  • CO2 tank mounted in the back, along with all the recovery and camping gear 
  • Eno hammock system including wheel mounts, rain fly, and padding

This truck has seen Ouray (FJ Summit X), Cruise Moab (10th anniversary in 2013), and most of the off road parks in the southeast. Plans are to make the 20th Cruise Moab this year, the 30th Rubithon next year, and attempt Baja and Alaska in the following years.

It is an amazing platform that is smaller, more agile, and amazing off and on road. I was one of so few at the beginning, but through social media and forum posts the community grew, and now I am proud to say that the GXOR community on Facebook and the 120 series forum on ih8mud.com have taken off and become the center of the GX rising movement.

Vendors are picking up the trend as well. MetalTech4x4, Southern Style Off-road, ARB, Iron Man, and HeftyFab all have bumper and slider options, with more vendors creating their visions of the GX. BajaRack and Gobi are joining in on the roof racks, and storage and overlanding vendors are starting to kit out their stores with GX gear.

Long story short, the GX is prime to be the next big movement in off-road and overland vehicles, and I have 8 hard years of building and miles on the trail to prove that it is indeed a Land Cruiser under all the luxury, and should be in the running with anyone planning a build in the near future.

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