skip to content
Driving Line Mark Logo

First Track Days, Then Trails: An Enthusiast’s Journey to the Ideal Lexus GX470

For Nitto Pit Crew member Fred Weber, automotive enjoyment has come in many forms.

Like many of us, he started off with a need for speed. One that was quenched first by a 2007 Honda S2000 set up for track days and handling, as well as a 2014 Mustang GT that was built for drag strip duty.

2009 Lexus GX470 on Nitto Ridge Grapplers Rear View

Then came a 2018 Subaru Outback, which might sound like a major downgrade from enthusiast favorites like the Mustang and S2000. But rather than just being a daily driver, the practical Subaru helped Fred spark an interest an entirely new side of the automotive hobby.

2009 Lexus GX470 on Nitto Ridge Grappler

The Off-Road Bug Bites

For Fred, the Outback was a gateway into the world of overlanding, light off-roading and the slower paced outdoor lifestyle. And in the time he’s owned it, the Subaru has evolved into a pretty capable little wagon, with a suspension lift and a set of Nitto Nomad Grappler tires.

Lexus GX70 Rear Cargo Area

And when it came time to start a new project, Fred decided to go even further down that path with a dedicated 4x4 off-road rig. Something that could handle tougher trails and rock crawling now that he’d gotten his feet wet with the Subaru.

Lexus GX470 on Nitto Ridge Grappler

From Wranglers to Tacomas and beyond, there’s no shortage of choices for a rig, but it was the first-generation Lexus GX that Fred was drawn to. And for good reason.

Lexus GX470 on Nitto Ridge Grappler

Built from the same DNA as the legendary Toyota 4Runner, the GX470 takes all of that and then gives you a more powerful V8 engine, a full-time 4WD system and some extra refinement — all for a relatively affordable price.

Lexus GX470 Interior

GX 101

Though it’s a stout rig in stock form, like its cousin the 4Runner, the GX470 also benefits from vast selection of aftermarket upgrades and Fred didn’t waste any time before he started modifying the Lexus to his liking.

Lexus GX470 Engine Bay

Chassis upgrades have been simple so far — and they include a three-inch lift in the front and rear using IronMan 4x4 parts, a Tundra steering rack with Land Cruiser tie rods.

Lexus GX470 Ironman 4x4 Suspension

Outside, the factory Lexus front bumper has been swapped for a Demello Offroad setup, and Fred also fitted a number of JW Offroad exterior parts including a roof rack, rock sliders and a spare tire carrier.

Lexus GX470 Roof Rack

And speaking of tires, having already experienced the Nitto Nomad Grappler on his Outback, Fred again went with Nitto — this time with the Ridge Grappler hybrid terrain tire.

Lexus GX470 on Nitto Ridge Grappler

He knew the Ridge Grapplers would be up to the task of more ambitious off road adventures while still getting him down the highway in comfort. The tires measure 35/11.5-inch R17 and are mounted on a set of set bronze-finished 17x9-inch SCS Blaze 10 wheels.

Lexus GX470 on Nitto Ridge Grappler

The Journey Continues

Fred's already brought the GX a long way from stock, but there’s more to come. Later this spring he’ll be doing Dana 60 rear axle upgrade with an ARB locker and a Marlin Crawler long travel kit for the front — all with the goal of tackling even tougher terrain.

Lexus GX470 on Nitto Ridge Grappler Rear View

From the road course to the drag strip and now the trails of Southern California where he’s had great adventures with friends and family, Fred’s GX has already created some unforgettable automotive memories for him.

And there’s plenty more to come.

Hard Facts

Owner: Fred Weber
Vehicle: 2009 Lexus GX470
Engine: 4.7 Liter V8
Suspension: Ironman 4x4 Foam Cell Pro suspension kit with three-inch lift, Toyota Tundra steering rack, Toyota Land Cruiser tie rods, Perry Parts bumpstops, R1 Concepts brakes
Wheels & Tires SCS Blaze 10 17”x9 wheels , 35”x11.5 R17 Nitto Ridge Grappler tires
Exterior: Demello Offroad front bumper, JW Offroad roof rack, JW Offroad rock sliders, JW Offroad rear tire swingout, KC HilLites Gravity offroad lights, KC Flex Era 3 fog lights and ditch lights
Interior: Midland radio, ScanGauge 2 setup


Return to beginning of article

Recommended For You

Loading ...