South Africa has a new go-anywhere vehicle on the market.
Pretoria-based 6 x 6 Africa has converted a standard Toyota Land Cruiser to a 6 x 6 vehicle – yes, with six wheels – to supply the local and export markets.
“Initially we wanted to obtain licensing from an Australian firm to manufacture their 6 x 6 conversion kits in South Africa, but that didn’t quite work out as planned,” says 6 x 6 Africa MD Hansie Coetzee.
“Then we thought: Why don’t we do it ourselves? Why don’t we design our own kit to convert these vehicles?”
6 x 6 Africa started operations in 2016, with September 2017 seeing the company clinch a contract to supply 50 conversion kits to the French defense force.
Coetzee has already travelled to France to train technicians on how to do the conversions.
The vehicles will be used as troop, ammunition and water carriers.
“We also have an order for ten vehicle kits from the Mauritanian government,” notes Coetzee.
“This is the first 6 x 6 Land Cruiser to be developed in South Africa,” he adds. “It is also the first 6 x 6 in the world with 37-inch wheels. We are currently working on a version with 40-inch wheels.”
6 x 6 Africa buys a standard Land Cruiser from Toyota, converting the vehicle, if destined for the local market, at the company’s facilities in Pretoria.
The kits are manufactured at two factories in Silverton, Pretoria. These facilities employ around 30 people.
Carry the Load
The 6 x 6 Africa single cab Land Cruiser can carry a load of up to three times more (4 t) than a standard Land Cruiser, and 2.5 times more (3.5 t) than that of a standard double cab Land Cruiser.
Towing capacity is between 5 t and 6 t.
The 6 x 6 double cab is roughly one metre longer than the standard Land Cruiser, with the single cab 1.5 m longer.
The single cab has a load area of 2 m by 3.5 m, big enough to load a FJ Cruiser. The width remains the same as the standard Land Cruiser.
This means these vehicles – smaller than off-road trucks – can carry heavy loads across some of the most daunting terrain Africa has to offer.
Coetzee says the 6 x 6 Africa team believes the vehicles will perform well in the mining, prospecting, energy, firefighting, camping, forestry, military, farming, emergency and overland markets.
“Around 99% of overland vehicles are overloaded,” he says. “This is not a problem with the 6 x 6.
“Also, you can, for example, build a cherry picker with a 24 m reach onto the back of this vehicle, or load 3 000 l of water, as opposed to the 800 l for most forestry fire-fighting applications.”
The 6 x 6 Land Cruiser also offers “great flotation on sand and mud”, notes Coetzee. “You can reach more places with this vehicle. Also, stability is great, road handling is excellent, while the vehicle offers a limousine-type drive. This vehicle really behaves like a spider.”
The 6 x 6 can be driven in 6 x 2, 6 x 4 and 6 x 6 modes.
The vehicle comes with a 320 l diesel tank.
Pricing for the conversion kit, excluding installation, starts at R720 000.