Producers of the Popular “Expedition Overland” Television Series, Clay and Rachelle Croft, Built These to be Purpose-Built Workhorses for the Show’s Explorations to Remote Locations
LAS VEGAS (Nov.1, 2022) – Together with Toyota, Clay and Rachelle Croft, co-founders of Expedition Overland and producers of the popular “Expedition Overland” (X Overland) television series, display their latest creations in Toyota’s exhibit at the 2022 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. The Simba Sequoia and the Orion Tundra were built to take the award-winning series team to remote locations to capture and share experiences with the show’s loyal overlanding fanbase.
Joining a heavy-hitting array of on- and off-road performance vehicles in Toyota’s new and expanded display (Las Vegas Convention Center Central Hall, Booth No. 22200), Simba and Orion are designed and equipped to be true off-the-grid overlanding vehicles, carrying the production team to filming locations and providing the base camp security and support needed to produce new episodes. In fact, Orion has already travelled over 7,000 miles filming season 5 of the show, which will air in January.
“These Expedition Overland project builds, like our other vehicles on display, are fully capable machines, and it’s fantastic to have them join us here at SEMA,” said Lisa Materazzo, group vice president – Toyota Division Marketing. “They might look clean and pretty today, but soon they’ll wear the dirt, mud and scars earned from miles of exploration in distant locations, travels and challenges we’ll no doubt see in future XO episodes.”
The Crofts founded Expedition Overland in 2010 and have tackled more than 20 overland vehicle builds and completed numerous expeditions across the globe, including Alaska, Central America, South America, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Russia and Greenland. They chose a 2023 Toyota Sequoia Limited TRD Off-Road and a 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited to be the foundations for their builds due to these vehicle’s capabilities and reliability, important qualities since both will traverse thousands of miles of tough terrain and challenging conditions.
Expedition Overland named the Sequoia “Simba” to symbolize strength, which is fitting since this rig will fulfill many roles while traveling long-distance overlanding miles. To film episodes, it will need to haul the camera crew, providing plenty of room and comfort as well as trail versatility.
The team added an Icon Vehicle Dynamics 3.0 CDEV (compression damping electronic valve) suspension system – the first application on a Sequoia – to provide extra trail capabilities and to handle the added overlanding equipment, passenger and gear weight. With help from CBI Offroad Fabrication, Simba has two first-ever aftermarket Sequoia additions: a custom Covert front bumper fitted with a WARN VR 12,000-lb. capacity winch and a custom rear steel bumper with dual swingouts. Simba also has CBI Offroad Fabrication aluminum skid plates and rock sliders, a spare tire mounted on the dual swingouts with Maxtrax recovery boards attached to the spare tire and a Rigid Industries front bumper light bar and Rigid rock lights to help ensure visibility. On location, the Alu-Cab Gen 3-R hard shell roof top tent will provide shelter for two, and a rear galley and iCOM Ham radio are there for base camp meals and communication.
With a name inspired by the Nordic region and the Orion constellation, the Orion Tundra began as a 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited. The Crofts approached this build with long-distance journeys and film production as top priorities. Like Simba, it has the off-roading upgrades to get to remote locations: ICON Vehicle Dynamics 2.5 Series extended travel coilover shocks up front and ICON Vehicle Dynamics 2.5 Series Omega bypass rear shocks; a CBI Offroad Fabrication Covert front bumper with a WARN Zeon 12S 12,000-lb. capacity winch; CBI Offroad skid plates, side steps and rock sliders; and an ARB differential axle breather.
A Rigid Industries light bar, fog lights and rock light kit enhance trail illumination, and Maxtrax recovery boards and a WARN heavy duty winch accessory kit are there for challenging trail situations. All are there to conquer river crossings and lava rock-laden roads on its planned 5,500-mile Nordic journey and the return trip home.
The Orion Tundra shines in its ability to support and shelter the film crew. It must operate as a mobile film production studio, so a REDARC RedVision battery management system, two Battleborn self-heated lithium batteries and two REDARC 200-watt monocrystalline solar panels provide the ability to charge camera and drone batteries, run a refrigerator and download each day’s video footage.
As the team will be in sub-freezing climates in the Nordic regions, the Orion Tundra also must provide comfortable and, most importantly, warm shelter. It has a full-size Alu-Cab canopy camper system with a Webasto Evo 40 heating system to keep the crew and video gear warm, an Alu-Cab 13.2-gallon water tank, an ARB twin compressor, a National Luna 40-liter refrigerator, four Rigid 65-inch DC scene lights and a Goose Gear interior storage system. Finally, for communications and connectivity the team added an iCOM ID-5100A deluxe VHF/UHF dual band D-STAR transceiver radio and a Starlink RV satellite kit, mounted in a 42-liter Alubox.
Toyota’s featured vehicles and build concepts and a variety of production cars, SUVs and trucks are on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center Nov. 1-4, 2022, continuing the company’s devotion to on- and off-road performance, excitement and adventure.
Vehicles shown are special project prototype vehicles, modified with parts and/or accessories not available from Toyota that may void the vehicle’s warranty, may negatively impact vehicle performance and safety, and may not be street legal.
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