4×4 custom: Mazda BT-50
TThe owner of this well-equipped Mazda BT-50, Jake Lawrence, is an avid poker enthusiast. He loves nothing more than a card game with friends, camping and driving a 4×4. Jake likes to do things a little differently, you see, and he wanted to stand out from the crowd. He has also never modified a four-wheel drive before; told you he was a gamer.
Jake works in car sales, so he is tempted every day to buy a new vehicle. Once he laid his eyes on a BT-50, he thought to fuck him … let’s buy one and build it as a one-off project.
âIt’s something different from most other cars,â Jake tells us. “There really aren’t many like that, or that are driven as much and as hard as mine.”
âAlthough he is designed to do difficult tracks, he is also my daily rider and a reliable rider – he has not let me down. These BT-50s aren’t that common in the highly modified 4×4 scene, so I like mine to be unique and I doubt anyone would ever do something the same.
Speaking of unique, Jake’s BT-50 soars high thanks to a 4-inch lift. This consists of a Superior Engineering 2-inch body lift, 2-inch Outback Armor struts and springs in the front, and Superior Engineering shocks in the rear with Outback Armor leaf springs.
âOriginally, the list of modifications for the vehicle was short; pretty much a small suspension lift, 31 inch tires, a tub rack and a roof top tent, âJake said with a familiar smile. âOnce I did all of that, I was quite addicted to driving and camping, and my car was smaller and not as good as my friends. It was around April 2020, the modification bug and I decided I was going to level up, install a front locker and put on a body lift so I could fit the bigger tires.
Speaking of being double-locked, Jake’s BT-50 came with a factory rear locker, so he asked ARB to install an air locker in the front, removing any traction limitation in the terrain. wild. With the 4 inch riser, there is enough room for a set of 305x70r17 Maxxis RAZR big mud tires, which Jake is packed with performance-wise. These were mounted on a set of King 17×9 steel wheels, with an offset of 0.
“When the warranty is exhausted, Jake would like to exchange a BMW M57 engine”
One area Jake left in storage, with the exception of a K&N air filter and Safari snorkel, is the engine. It looks like Jake has played the power-up game with vehicles in the past and has a habit of running pistons through engine blocks. Once the warranty is exhausted, let’s go.
Inside the BT-50, Jake kept things practical by installing a 7-inch Alpine head unit, Uniden UHF radio for communications, and an Ultimate 9 throttle controller to help the Mazda get started faster. But it also rates it for off-road use, being able to dampen throttle response in technical terrain.
Outside of using Jake, things definitely get a little wilder. Starting with the front, Jake opted for an Xrox bull bar, as it could be adapted to the body lifter and compatible with winches. The bar also comes with a neat skid plate, which protects vital items such as the radiator. Mounted on the front bar of the tube, Jake selected a pair of Stedi Type X Pro spotlights. To start the party on the slopes or at the camp, he also wired a suite of Stedi RGB rock lights.
If you take a close look at the rear of Jake’s 4×4, you’ll notice there’s quite a bit of space between the tailgate and the floor. This is because he made a tub cut, offering a decent increase in starting angle. So much so that he had to screw the license plate directly onto the tailgate, because it wouldn’t fit anywhere else.
I think you will see more and more double cabins with this mod in the future. To protect the off-road vehicle sills, Jake also bolted a set of rock sliders from JTW. These were also made to accommodate the body lift, so there is no annoying gap between the sliders and thresholds.
Even though this is Jake’s first 4×4 release, it’s clear to see how the bug has been fixed.
âAt first, I had just bought a 4×4 to tow my jetski and I just needed a new car,â Jake says. âIt really quickly turned into a lifestyle for me, and I made so many friends by owning a 4×4. It’s incredible. The community is so happy to help each other. The friends I’ve made from meeting people on Instagram, and the trips I’ve planned and taken with complete strangers who are just happy to ride and have fun on the tracks, which is why I will have still a 4×4 now.
Jake estimates that the whole build cost him $ 55,000, which is a good deal considering what he has achieved. He has some regrets, saying he had to do a few things twice, but you have to make mistakes to learn at the end of the day. It also took around eight months for construction to get it to where it is today, which is a very reasonable amount of time.
So while Jake did an admirable job building this BT-50, we all know these vehicles are really never really finished. Jake’s future wishlist is long, with plans to undertake a solid axle swap. He’s also considering a set of 35-inch Trepador Maxxis, which would be a crazy combination.
But wait – there’s more, with Jake saying that when the warranty runs out, he would like to trade in a BMW M57 engine. I repeat, Jake is a gamer. And we love it about him.
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