Urban Jungle Armor: A Manila-proofed Land Cruiser
Ask any commuter/driver plying the roads of Metro Manila and they will give you a unanimous sentiment: The streets are unforgiving. Having to deal with irresponsible drivers, public utility vehicles dropping passengers wherever they please, and the odd
crater pothole here and there, our city streets aren’t exactly the nicest place to be for a car that’s built to spec. That is why seeing dedicated owners building special vehicles are all the more amusing for us here, but what if we looked at the side of the aftermarket that’s gearing cars up for battle on those hellish streets?
The overland/offroading scene is exponentially growing in the Philippines as people come to realize the same things that help trucks and pickups along a rutted path are also effective at fending off the nuances of a daily commute (goes to show how crappy our roads are, right?). While steel bumpers and nudge bars will less frequently be used to guard against dents from the odd taxi or jeepney, they certainly add a layer of protection – and intimidation – for whatever might attempt to hit your vehicle. There are many ways to jump into this kind of build as well as a varying range of budgets you can allocate, but what happens if you take possibly the best platform for an urban vehicle and fit it with a healthy dose of top dollar offroad pieces? This LC200 may be a good example.
Having evolved into the go-to mode of transportation for politicos, the wealthy, and celebrities alike, the ubiquitous LC200 Toyota Land Cruiser has somewhat become a status symbol that sits atop the Filipino vehicular food chain. The unwritten rule of the streets is to never butt heads against a Toyota Land Cruiser – lest you may find yourself with more than a dent on your car. Despite the infamy this SUV enjoys, that’s not to say it is completely immune to the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila in stock form; And that’s where Atoy Customs comes in.
Geared as much for off-road as it is for pavement, this Metallic Salsa Red late-model Cruiser has all the armor it’ll ever need while not deviating so much from the Land Cruiser ensemble. Rival Russia has been tapped for their aluminum lightweight front bar along with a full set of 6mm Under Vehicle Protection plates that spans the whole underbelly.
Both the front bar and the skid plate allow for a steeper approach angle versus the stock piece while minimizing additional weight thanks to its aluminum material – a welcome convenience on trails instead of ruining the stock bumper on ruts.
An Opposite Lock stepboard coated with Line-X allows for additional anti-slip properties thanks to its crinkle finish as well as some much-needed protection on the sides.
The rear is finished with a Kaymar Rear Steel Bar that is body color-matched just like the front bar for a well-rounded look. A Rhino Rack Backbone flat rack also gives occupants the option to carry more items on the roof during out-of-town excursions. Finishing off the exterior is a set of KC Rock Lights that make egress easier for occupants late at night.
The party trick to this Land Cruiser however lies underneath all the chunky exterior bits. Sitting behind the Method wheels is a full ICON Vehicle Dynamics Stage 6 Suspension System. Along with a set of full coilovers front and rear, the kit also comes complete with billet lower trailing and upper control arms to optimize suspension geometry as the vehicle is lifted.
This whole setup sits on a versatile set of BF Goodrich KO2 All-terrains – a perfect balance between quiet NVH for the streets and adequate offroad capability. For a beefy setup like this you’d reckon some mud-terrains would be more appropriate, but then that’ll defeat the purpose of a street-spec build with all the noise it makes. A lot of thought going into the car’s true function can be told by the set of tires it’s wearing.
With the mechanical parts pretty much sorted, next on the list for this LC would be to improve creature comforts by way of a proper audio system – another great-yet-underrated coping mechanism for the stress caused by Manila traffic. With the powertrain still stock, perhaps a good exhaust as well as a good tune that improves torque and powerband may help this Cruiser carry its additional weight. Either way, with the attention to detail on this build so far we’re sure this example is going in the right direction as far as gearing for Manila streets is concerned.
Words by Aurick Go
2018 Toyota Land Cruiser LC200
Build Supervision by Atoy Customs
Rival Russia Aluminum lightweight front bar
Rival Russia 6mm aluminum Under Vehicle Protection (UVP)
Kaymar Rear Steel Bar
Rhino rack Australia Backbone flat rack
Opposite lock stepboard (with Line-X treatment)
Method 310 Con-6 Wheels 18x9
BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrains 305/65/18
Kyo Ei lugnuts
KC Rock Lights
Body color bumpers by Atoy Customs 4x4 and Bodykits
ICON Vehicle Dynamics LC200 Stage 6 Suspension System
- 3.0 Series Front Coilover Kit
- 2.5 Series Rear Coilover Kit
- Billet Lower Trailing Arms
- Dual Rate Rear Springs
- Billet Upper Control Arms