WITHOUT doubt one of the most talked-about cars at Meguiar’s MotorEx in Melbourne was Tony Morphett’s FJ ute, which is being put together at Creative Custom Cars down in Dromana. While unveil cars at MotorEx are usually completed, the FJ is nowhere near finished, but that didn’t mean it had any less impact. The amount of engineering, fabrication and customising that has gone into this car already is staggering, and while it has the underpinnings of one of the world’s finest touring sedans – a 5 Series BMW – there are still plenty of traditional custom touches and styling cues that will give the car more of a 60s street machine vibe than a 21st-century corner-carver.
The first thing most people noticed was the engine, and it usually had them stumped. It’s a 5.0-litre BMW M73 V12, and because that’s not quite enough, a couple of mirror-image Nelson Racing Engines turbochargers have been added.
The suspension is all E39 540 BMW, and the wheelbase and track have been set up the same as the Bimmer, so it should handle and ride just as nice. There’s more BMW luxury inside, with a pair of bucket seats out of an 850i, and as you’d expect, the car will have all the creature comforts of a new car, such as a/c, power windows and a speedo needle that doesn’t bounce around all over the place.
Where it gets really interesting is in the bodywork. To make it fit over the suspension, the body has been widened around 220mm, the doors lengthened 150mm and the front guards lengthened 100mm – 75mm behind the wheel and 25mm in front. A set of XJ6 Jaguar headlights have been grafted in, which is an old customising trick, and while it looks chopped because of the extra width and length – and also because the sills have been lowered around 70mm – the roof is still stock height.
The wider body meant that the grille had to be heavily modified too, but Tony didn’t want to lose the identity of the humpy, so a wider version of the FJ grille bar has been fabricated, and combined with rolled pans front and rear it’s clear to see that the classic custom styling cues that were so popular in the 60s and 70s will work just as well on this 21st-century version of an Aussie classic.