In 1983, Toyota joined forces with Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI) in an effort to diversify their motorsports portfolio. This partnership lead to, among other successes, an off-road racing team that dominated the Mickey Thompson Off-Road Stadium Series while accumulating 27 wins and seven championships in the SCORE Desert Series. Though the team was comprised of many talented hands, legendary off-road racer Ivan “Ironman” Stewart stole the spotlight. A 2006 inductee in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, Stewart earned his nickname by completing entire desert races without a navigator or relief driver. His efforts lead to several records including most all-time MTEG wins (17) and most Baja 500 wins (17).
For 17 years, PPI and Stewart ruled the intensely competitive world of off-road racing, even taking first at the 1998 Baja 1000. That victory, along with four Baja 500’s were accomplished using chassis number 015. Built in 1993 to replace PPI’s aging 010 chassis, the 015 would become the Master’s thesis and, ultimately, final product of a remarkably successful off-road team. Fresh out of an extensive restoration performed by the very hands that built it originally, RK Motors Charlotte is proud to offer the once in a lifetime opportunity to own one of Baja’s most famed competition vehicles.
At the core of this truck is an aluminum 302 cubic inch V8. Loosely based on the 1UZ-FE Lexus engine. The race version retains the DOHC/four-valve configuration but little else. Though the component list features familiar names such as JE Pistons and Carrillo Rods, every internal part has been custom built to PPI’s specifications. Fuel is pulled from a custom 42 gallon fuel cell and distributed by eight EFI throttle bodies controlled by a Weber/Redline ECU. With a 13:1 compression ratio, the mill is good for over 550hp with a flat torque range from 4,000 to 7,500 rpm. Exhaust is channeled through a tuned stainless steel Borla system with USFS-approved spark arrestors. At idle, the truck is surprisingly quiet but a quick blip of the throttle ensures this is a purebred racer.
Backing the aluminum powerplant is a custom PPI transaxle utilizing a 5-speed Hewland VGC 200 gear selection box often seen in GTP racing. With a vehicle capable of doing in excess of 135mph across the dunes, the suspension had to be tough. The front and rear both utilize a double A-arm setup featuring PPI coil overs with internal position sensitive shocks that can be tuned for compression and rebound. Only the rate of the Eibach springs varies between the two ends. The setup is good for a total of 22 inches of travel, making small jumps a simple matter. When the desert roads wind, steering is kept light thanks to a PPI V2 power rack and pinion with ram assist. This setup feels more natural to turn at low speeds than many of the smaller race cars we’ve seen. Braking power is distributed to a four wheel disc setup utilizing PPI rotors, Brembo calipers and a Tilton master cylinder. The whole setup rides on sturdy PPI custom 17” x “7 48-bolt beadlock wheels wrapped in tall BF Goodrich 37” x 17” T/A KR’s.
Inside, the driver is placed in the center of a hand fabricated aluminum chassis. Despite the middle seat configuration, control layout is familiar with all instrumentation directly in front of the driver and the gear selector positioned to the right. The left hand side of the dash is dominated by toggle switches that control the twelve Hella HID spotlights used to illuminate the desert at night. The right side contains switches for the ignition, fuel pump, fans and other traditional pieces most enthusiasts are familiar with. Overall, the interior is far less restrictive than most race vehicles with plenty of room on either side of the seat. The seat itself is a heavily padded Mastercraft piece with a Simpson four-point harness keeping the driver in place during tough landings. With such long stretches of track performed at once, the driver has to be prepared for anything. The truck is well supplied with a tool kit, Maglite, and hydration system all within arms reach.
With the exception of additional lighting, the trucks carbon/kevlar shell has been restored to its appearance at the Baja 2000. For that race, Ivan Stewart was paired with fellow off-road icon Larry Roeseler who drove the second leg of the race. Both names are featured on the #11 number tag behind the cab. Though the composite body has seen a few different paint schemes, this one is an accurate representation of the truck’s final competition appearance. All paint and bodywork was performed by former PPI employee Chris Hukill of Hukill Paint and Graphics.
As noted earlier, the extensive restoration of this truck to race ready form was performed at TM1 Motorsports by many of the hands that originally built the truck at PPI. The build was watched closely by off-road racing fans and extensively documented by both RK Motors Charlotte and TM1 Motorsports. There are countless pictures of the overall build as well as videos of the freshly rebuilt engine cutting its teeth on the dynometer. The final product was shot by Dirt Sports Magazine as part of their “Masterpiece in Metal” series before being tested in Barstow by the Ironman himself. That testing session plus the full back-story of the truck are covered in a "detailed video produced to celebrate the restoration":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lowlizUxn8&list=UUnvfe-Iu9G144cbTPBfe-9g&index=1&feature=plcp
Also Included in the sale are irreplaceable items such as the original chassis blueprints, along with a treasure trove of new replacement parts including:
5 quarter panels
4 cab sides
1 brush guard
8 sets of bead locks for wheels
5 mounted wheels
49 unmounted wheels
7 boxes of assorted parts
If you want to enter a vintage event or even the Baja 1000, go in with confidence. If you break something, there is very likely a replacement within this collection.
Motorsports enthusiasts would likely agree that it’s difficult to look at this truck without envisioning it airborne and covered in dust, with the Ironman at the wheel. Built and driven by the best, 015 is a truly significant piece of off-road history worthy of anchoring any collection. In the days of pre-fab racers, hand built masterpieces like this are becoming increasingly more valuable. We submit that this is arguably the most significant truck in the history of off-road racing. To own such a piece of history is a once in a lifetime opportunity-don''t wait!