Join Date: Apr 2001
Member # 4211
Location: Birmingham, Al, US
From watching the 2018 KOH EMC, I knew I wanted to be in the 4600 Stock Class. None of the other classes really fit what I love – seeing an OEM looking vehicle doing amazing things. The Stock Class vehicles look like the vehicles I can relate to – those in the “Everyman’s” garage. While there is no doubt that they are amazing, the 4400, 4500, and 4600 class vehicles just aren’t what I was looking for.
Next, like many of you, I'm a Toyota guy through and through. I have had a 1st gen Tacoma, a 3rd gen Tacoma, 80 series and 100 series land cruisers, and three 1st gen 4Runners. So, I now needed to research the best possible 4600 class Toyota rig.
For pure budget reasons, a 1st Gen 4Runner was a no-brainer at first. They’re cheap, reliable, and light – what else more could you want… Well…how about power for one thing? Or wheel travel for the desert? Or the ability to survive KOH’s relentless abuse?
Many drivers have done amazing things with 1st Gen 4Runners at KOH and I certainly commend them. But I quickly saw some pretty sizeable limitations and, when my back-of-the-napkin budget for my dream 1st Gen 4Runner went through the roof, I killed the idea.
After enough time and research had passed, I began to see that a combination of driver skill and patience, vehicle strength and reliability, and a build plan filled with elegant simplicity could be some of the keys to success at KOH.
So, in a search for elegant simplicity, I stumbled upon 2-3 different threads where industry experts and KOH legends were talking about 4th Gen 4Runners. They all seemed to reach the same consensus – a 4th Gen 4Runner could actually do really well in the 4600 Stock Class. It’s got an extremely reliable platform, strong 4.7L V8, stout transmission, IFS Coilover based front suspension, 4-link rear suspension, and an entry price that has dropped substantially over the past few years. And of course, it’s built by Toyota – so it has to be solid.
But, when I kept reading in anticipation of a build thread, I was surprised to see that nobody seemed to be able to pull it off.
Well, as you can tell in my post above, I’m the type of person who can pull it off. So I dove in with both feet. I researched the 4th Gen. Put together a rigorous budget. And then, staring at the bottom line figure, sat in shock at the price tag necessary to build it right.
I went back to the Ultra4 rulebook that I have practically memorized and made a huge realization:
Dave Cole and the leaders of KOH intentionally invented the EMC 4600 Stock Class to be a product showcase and testing ground for offroad manufacturers, fabrications, and corporations. I.e. it’s the ultimate class to attract sponsors.
So, now I had a vision. I had a solid, but still seemingly unachievable plan. And, most of all, I had the will to make it happen. Now all I needed was a way.
First, realizing that I couldn’t pull this off alone, I started seeking out sponsors that both had amazing products that were a perfect fit for this build and could really benefit from KOH exposure. I shared my vision of how I believed a well-engineered IFS Coilover Based 4th Gen Toyota 4Runner, backed by an amazing team and sponsors, can strongly compete in the KOH EMC 4600 Stock class. And to my surprise, many got it and jumped on board.
Here is my vision for this build, written back in February and it still holds true today:
As many of you know, solid axle Jeep or buggy based rigs have dominated KOH EMCin the past. Therefore, this build will garner a lot of attention simply because of how different it is – I will most likely be the only modern IFS Coilover based vehicle in all of EMC and will turn heads.
I personally believe the vast majority of consumers honestly cannot relate to a 4400 rig, which is where all the IFS coilover exposure has occurred to date. This build is our chance to grab the consumer’s attention!
And we’ll be doing so in a modern Toyota 4Runner that matches or at least resembles the vehicle most consumers can actually relate to. To me, watching a 4400 rig is intimidating and far from achievable for the “Every Man”. This build will change all of that. And that is what gets sponsors excited – it’s pure marketing gold!
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