J.D. Brittain’s Badass Toyota 4Runner Was Built to Fly
This Californian is obsessed with the desert. And we’re obsessed watching him blast through — and over — it!
We here at YotaTech are admittedly huge fans of The Jump Champs. And who wouldn’t be? The genius, relatively-new event focuses on our favorite part of desert racing: the jumps. We simply never get tired of watching various heavy machinery fly through the air. Plus, we love the fact that the event allows pretty much anyone to compete. No fancy race truck or certification required.
Now call us biased, but one of our favorite Jump Champs competitors so far has to be J.D. Brittain‘s awesome 2007 Toyota 4Runner. He didn’t have to go far to find the desert destroyer because his friend had already gotten a good head start with a nice list of modifications. Since then, he’s done some additional work to the 4Runner which has helped it better handle the abuse that jump events dish out so prodigiously.
YotaTech recently caught up with J.D. to get some more info on his badass truck and his racing career. And as we already suspected, it shows just how passionate the Camarillo, California, resident is about Toyotas and the local desert community that he has become a big part of.
YotaTech: First things first, let’s talk about your killer 4Runner. Can you give us some history and talk about the mods that have been done to the truck?
J.D. Brittain: It was originally bought by my good buddy, Fabian. He started off making his own upper arms, lower arms, and custom spindles — everything built by one guy in his garage. Then he removed the lower arm mounts with the alignment cam and custom-made new arm pockets and a subframe that was truly a work of art.
With the front end done, he moved on to the rear, cutting all the stock pivots and coil buckets off. He mocked up a custom set of spring-under springs from Deaver Suspension. Then, he placed the shocks under the frame on a cantilever system that he engineered and made.
Once I bought it, I ended up driving the 4Runner harder and harder and wound up going through five ring gears in six trips. I made the call to Currie Enterprises and had them make me a custom F9 housing. I installed it using a U-bolt delete kit that I made.
‘When I saw this beautiful 4Runner with a V8, I was attracted to it because it’s different and unique. So, I jumped on it and have loved it since the day I bought it.’
What other Toyota trucks have you owned other than your current ride?
I’ve always been attracted to Toyota. My first truck was a 1984 Toyota pickup, and I’ve also owned a 1987 turbo prerunner Toyota pickup that I built. When I saw this beautiful 4Runner with a V8, I was attracted to it because it’s different and unique. So, I jumped on it and have loved it since the day I bought it.
By the looks of things, you’ve definitely racked up some miles in the desert. What are your favorite spots that you’ve visited over the years?
Since I bought this 4Runner, I have done countless miles in the dirt stretching from Pismo Beach to the state line in Primm, Nevada. We have seen some amazing stuff. Places like the talc mines, abandoned cities, sand dunes, and even boats hanging from powerlines. Along the way, I’ve made countless friends in the desert community. I can’t pick one favorite spot, but just being out there is a feeling that’s hard to describe.
‘Since I bought this 4Runner, I have done countless miles in the dirt stretching from Pismo Beach to Nevada…Just being out there is a feeling that’s hard to describe.’
Jumping is becoming hugely popular, for obvious reasons. Have you participated in any organized events other than Jump Champs?
Jump Champs is a huge event. People love seeing trucks go fast and jump to the moon. Unfortunately, because I don’t have a roll cage, this is the only event I have been able to participate in. I’ve notched two first-place finishes and a fourth-place finish, so far.
That success has also enabled me to work with some amazing companies. Dirt Alliance was the first to reach out, which was huge to me because I’ve followed them since I was in high school. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work with Rugged Radios, Method Race Wheels, Deaver Springs, and Auto Obsessionz. I couldn’t be more grateful for their help and support.
What are your future plans for your ride and your racing career?
My future plans for the 4Runner go back and forth, but she will possibly be getting a full roll cage and beams. If I don’t do that, I will probably be building a 1973 F-100 to race along with my buddies.
We here at Yotatech are certainly looking forward to that, and we’ll definitely be keeping up with J.D.’s future exploits. For more great shots and videos of his 4Runner in action, be sure and give him a follow on Instagram!