At Truck Jungle, we love tough trucks no matter where they come from and we reckon some of the best on the planet right now are the wild balloon-tyred beasts created by Arctic Trucks International in Reykjavik, Iceland.

If these wild-looking snowmobiles look familiar, that’s not surprising. These guys built the bright red Toyota Hilux that starred in BBC Television’s Top Gear Polar Challenge in 2007, when show hosts Jeremy Clarkson and James May in the Hilux prevailed over Richard Hammond (on a dog-drawn sled!) in a race to the Magnetic North Pole. It was one of Top Gear’s most popular TV specials.

The Polar Challenge was one of several major expeditions involving Arctic Trucks, which have included similar treks to the South Pole and across the Greenland glacier.

In each case, they have been the first automobiles to drive in these areas. The company claims that such expeditions are of great importance, as they provide unique opportunities to test their highly modified vehicles in the worst possible conditions.

And despite their aggressive appearance, these jiggers minimise damage to the environment as their huge, low pressure tyres are designed to roll right over the top rather than through the terrain, be it  snow, ice,  sand or rocks.

Arctic Trucks was founded in 1990 when Toyota Iceland started modifying 4×4 pickups for extreme off-road applications. The company now operates independently from Toyota and has expanded its operation into Norway and other countries in recent years. It also now assists other vehicle brands requiring such specialised modifications.

Arctic Trucks focuses on two key customer groups. One is the private recreational vehicle owner wanting to venture much further into the wilderness with confidence.

The other consists of search and rescue teams, military, police, park rangers, research organisations and utility suppliers like telephone, electricity and gas companies. Not only in Iceland and Norway but all around the world, from the snow and ice of northern Europe to the scorching sands of the Sahara.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of Arctic Trucks and some of their amazing modified vehicles at Truck Jungle, because we really admire their design skills, quality of workmanship and the capabilities of their vehicles.

For starters, check out this great video clip that takes you inside the AT workshop and shows the incredible amount of work required to turn a couple of brand new stock  standard Toyota Hiluxes into Arctic Trucks to die for.

We were gobsmacked by the extensive alterations required to chassis, drivetrain, suspensions, wheels, tyres and bodywork to complete such a conversion.

This clip also shows the completed trucks being packed up (oh so tight!) into a shipping crate, flown by cargo plane into the wilderness and then set loose on the snow and ice, proving the effectiveness of the huge, soft footprints of their balloon-like 38-inch tall tyres in such conditions.  TJ





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