The Toyota Hilux has achieved several milestones during the past five years, and I've been around to experience a few of them.
First, let's go back close to 51 years ago when the first Hilux was sold in South Africa. Forty-six years later, the Japanese company sold its millionth Hilux in 2015.
That model was a single-cab 3.0 D-4D Legend 45 model, bought by Pretoria resident Shabier Aboobaker (pictured below).
And in 2019 Toyota celebrated 50 years of the Hilux in our beautiful country, and launched its Legend 50 and Gazoo Racing Hilux models.
But there's a very special Hilux that some may not remember. To celebrate selling one million Hilux models, Toyota called up the boss of Gazoo Racing SA, Glynn Hall, and commissioned a one-off Dakar-spec Hilux with number plates.
And thus the Toyota Hilux Racing Experience was conceived. Rex, as its affectionately called, uses the Lexus IS-F 5.0-litre V8 producing 335kW/600Nm, a twin-plate AP racing clutch, stiffer dampers (front and rear fully adjustable), and stiffer springs.
Top speed? 235km/h, not bad, eh.
Visually, compared to your Hilux parked in your garage, it's 50mm lower and wears brakes with 350mm discs with billet aluminium 4-piston calipers from Power Brake - Dakar Hilux brake suppliers.
I count myself very fortunate to have driven Rex, snapping second gear, listening to the might of that brawny Lexus-derived V8 engine.
It was one of those experiences that I still pinch myself about, particularly because of the bakkie's legacy.
The Hilux has crept into meme culture, businesses, and even matric balls. It's as recognisable as the smell of a braai, and will continue to carry South Africans and whatever they choose to chuck in the back for years to come.
I'm just fortunate to have driven the fastest one ever. Read the original article here.