Toyota Land Speed Cruiser Claims “World’s Fastest SUV”: Land Cruiser, Toyota’s iconic go-anywhere four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle, has earned myriad accolades and records over the 60-plus years it’s been in production. And now, among them: the title of “World’s Fastest SUV” thanks to a record speed of over 230 mph, attained by the custom 2,000-horsepower Land Speed Cruiser. With former Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards at the helm, the understated Land Speed Cruiser shattered the previous “World’s Fastest SUV” record by more than 19 mph, reaching a GPS-verified and video-documented 230.02 mph before running out of usable pavement. With enough track ahead, the Land Speed Cruiser could expected to go even faster.
Using the Land Cruiser’s production 5.7-liter 3UR-FE V8 engine as a starting point, the team added a pair of volleyball-sized Garrett turbochargers that are capable of producing up to 55 PSI of boost. To cope with extreme force induction, the MTC team upgraded the engine’s internals with sturdier pistons and rods and a custom-made intake manifold, among other key items. This helped ensure the monstrous V8 could safely and reliably produce over 2,000 horsepower for its record-setting runs. The role of doling power was left to a custom racing transmission strong enough to withstand the stresses and abuses of high power and tremendous speeds.
However, building the engine was the easy part. Driving in excess of 200 mph challenges a vehicle’s aerodynamics and stability. To aid controllability, the Land Speed Cruiser sits lower to the pavement, thus dramatically reducing the amount of turbulent air allowed to pass underneath. Its frame received some massaging in order to maintain optimal suspension geometry and narrowed by 3 inches to accommodate wider Michelin Pilot Super Sports tires.
With the Land Speed Cruiser dialed in and finally ready for its record-setting run, recently retired Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards met the team at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. In addition to being one of the very few places in the U.S. where supersonic flight allowed. Also, it features a two-and-a-half-mile paved runway perfectly suited to the Land Speed Cruiser’s mission.