It’s now mid-August, which can mean only one thing: SEMA 2014 is about 10 weeks away. The automotive industry is now beginning the last leg of preparations, and for several off-road businesses planning to attend this year, this means having a project vehicle ready to display in the South Hall’s top floor, looking pristine and presentable.
One vehicle that’s been slowly but surely reaching its completion is the FJ40 Land Cruiser being built by RSO Performance. Dubbed “Project Sniper,” the classic Japanese SUV has been the subject of an ongoing blog saga on the company’s website.
The project was officially announced back in February, as RSO revealed its intention to “make a concept vehicle to compete with the more modern off-road selection of vehicles.” To that end, RSO came up with the idea of cutting the Toyota into quarters and attaching it to an 80 Series chassis, which would afford the use of better suspension, engine options, and interior space.
Project Sniper has come a long way in just seven months, and looks more incredible with every blog post. One of the more recent updates shared the details on the powerplant situation, as the guys decided to go for a 383 V8 crafted from a ZZ3 350 that was lying around the shop.
After checking to ensure the block was free of any cracks, the crew began the steps of transforming the 350: boring the cylinder 30 degrees over, zero decking the pistons, and align honing the block itself were smart choices to ensure the engine could run at peak performance once all was said and done.
Keeping in line with state-of-the-art parts usage, the guys went with the use of Gibson stainless, ceramic-coated headers for long-lasting durability, as well as a Powermaster 9500 starter, one of its high-compression (18:1) pieces that features fully clockable mounting capability; all the better for off-roaders, who need to keep such a vital component as protected as possible when hitting the trail.
We eagerly await our chance to see the finished Project Sniper when we reach SEMA this year. Find RSO Performance on the web, and don’t forget to check out Powermaster for all your starter and alternator needs.