What started as a cheap hack now destroys tyres at every turn
A lot of car guys always talk about hindsight. “If only I knew then what I know now” is a common phrase, and it’s one that most of us can relate to. Young Wellingtonian Josh Trybula doesn’t need the benefit of hindsight as, at the age of 23 [when we featured this Hilux in 2012], he’s already owned more cool cars than most of us ever will, and more importantly, he’s learned how to build them from the ground up, almost single-handedly.
With what he’s shown he can do so far, his future as a car builder is looking very bright. So how did he managed to gain such a wide range of mechanical, fabrication, panel and paint skills at such a young age? Well, that may have something to do with the fact that his old man is Ed Trybula, a familar name to these pages. Ed owns the Chevelle gasser we featured earlier this year  and has a few other very cool projects on the go.
Ed’s a Chev man, no ifs, no buts — if it’s not a Chev, or Chev-powered, he won’t have a bar of it. Growing up with an old man like that, Josh was introduced to the joy of rumbling small and big block V8s from a very young age.
After working for Juniors, these days Josh works for the family business, which specializes in fleet maintenance as well as forklift repairs. The large, well-equipped workshop area is the perfect breeding ground for the family projects, as almost everything can be done on site.
It was this handy situation combined with Josh finding a bargain Hilux Surf body that led to the creation of his very unique machine. The original plan was to build it up as a cheap hack with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but seeing that he knew nothing about turbos and plenty about Chev V8s, that plan soon changed.
The Surf body is mounted to a two-wheel drive Hilux ute chassis, which has been shortened to fit. Besides a couple of new body mounts and some new cross members needing to be fabricated, the chassis swap was a relatively simple affair. Before the body was mounted, Josh added lowering blocks to the rear suspension, and wound the front torsion bars down too, making for one seriously low Surf.
The first engine he fitted was a basic 283, which soon spat the dummy and was replaced with a 350. A trip to the Pomona Swap Meet in California saw Josh return with a cheap ProCharger supercharger and it wasn’t long till the Surf was smoking tyres everywhere it went.
A few issues with the setup frustrated him, though, so when one of Ed’s mates offered up a BDS 6-71 supercharger, he made the switch.
Before fitting the new blower, he knew he needed an engine that would be able to handle the increased boost, building up a 355ci small block. The recipe included a 350 four-bolt block, steel crank, Eagle rods, forged pistons, and a decent blower cam. Deciding that if a blower was going to be sticking out the bonnet, it may as well look over the top, an Enderle Big & Ugly injector hat was sourced, which Josh modified to accept a throttle-position sensor.
The plate the intake is mounted to was also modified to take a set of eight injectors, in preparation for the Link ECU–controlled EFI setup.
Admitting that wiring wasn’t his strong point, he handed this task over to Wellington’s Speedtech Motorsport, which also dynoed the Hilux.
After a few issues, including discovering a blown head gasket and an incorrect stall converter, the car made plenty of power — not that it needed a lot to spin the tyres, as it’s only around 1300kg with Josh in it.
With the new engine setup ready to go, the decision was made to change to a decent TH400 trans, although this did require the trans tunnel to be raised slightly. This soon set Josh down the path of doing the car’s bodywork — an area he’d previously left untouched.
Josh found himself once again doing all the work, including shaing the rear wiper and aerial, along with removing the various dents you’d expect to find on a body that only cost $200 to begin with.
Once prepped for paint, Josh took the car to Classic Auto Refinishers where he had full use of the booth, and with the help of a few mates, applied a new coat of DeBeer coarse metallic silver. Before long, the Surf looked far better than Josh had ever intended it to. The new set of 18x10-inch Diezel rims and some tinted windows only added to its newly improved looks.
After getting into the Top 10 in the burnout comp at Powercruise 2010 with the old engine combination, Josh is looking forward to giving it another shot this year (as seen in this issue).
With more power than before, and no doubt a bunch more skids under his belt, we’re guessing he won’t go too badly.
Josh’s love of V8s isn’t all about doing skids, though, as he’s currently putting his knowledge and skills to good use on his next project — a ’57 Chev Bel Air convertible. If he considers the Surf to be just a hack, we can’t wait to see what he can create when he’s really trying! If only the rest of us had been so hands-on from a young age …
1990 Toyota Hilux Surf
Engine: 355ci small block Chev, four-bolt mains, steel crank, Eagle rods, forged pistons, Felpro head gaskets, Comp Cams blower cam, BDS blower manifold, BDS 6-71 supercharger, Enderle Big & Ugly injector hat, eight 450cc injectors, billet fuel rails, Sard fuel-pressure regulator, Bosch 044 fuel pump, two-litre surge tank, Holley Blue lift pump, braided fuel line, eight LS2 coils, MSD leads, Link Xtreme ECU, block hugger headers, 2½-inch exhausts, Flowmaster mufflers, high-flow oil pump
Driveline: GM TH400 transmission, 2000rpm stall converter, Hilux LSD, 31-spline axles
Suspension: Lowered front torsion bars, reset rear leaves, rear loweing blocks
Wheels/Tyres: 18x10-inch Diezel D1R wheels, 225/40R18 and 225/45R18 Goodyear tyres
Exterior: Shaved rear wiper, shaved aerial, custom DeBeer paint
Interior: Recaro front seats, Momo steering wheel, Auto Meter rev counter, Pioneer audio
Performance: Pretty chur