Taking a vehicle from dealer specs to passion project takes time, planning and resources. When I decided to begin my overlanding journey it was with the intent to travel with my family using a vehicle that didn’t need too many upgrades to make it capable of what I wanted to do. This led me to my first option, the Lexus GX 460. Based on the Land Cruiser Prado platform this had the blueprint of a mountain climbing machine with mall crawler comforts.
The GX platform has remained untouched for over a decade and if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Those design queues make this vehicle appeal to a certain group of drivers. The quality and craftsmanship is Lexus throughout and you would be remise to think that such a well appointed SUV could take you from pavement to dirt without breaking a sweat. As much as the family and I enjoyed everything the GX had to offer we started to long for modern touches like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a touchscreen display with USB ports and a panoramic roof. Enter the Volkswagen Atlas…
Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium
I already know what some people are saying… “Why go from a Lexus GX, body on frame to a VW Atlas unibody design?” The answer is simple, I wanted to give it a try and VW covered the 2019 model with 6yr/72k mile warranty. Made in the USA and featuring a spacious interior cavern, this 4MOTION Atlas fit our needs and would be a fun project to convert for overland use.
VW Atlas Specs
– SEL Premium w/4MOTION
– 12.3 Display x Digital Cockpit
– 20 inch Mejorada Wheels
– Panoramic Sunroof
– 12 Speaker Fender Sound
– Dual Tone Leather
– Running Boards
– Towing Package (5000 pounds)
Luckily, Volkswagen created the Basecamp Concept to showcase the capabilities of their first ever 7-passenger Atlas as an overland platform. Using this as the blueprint I had a clear path to create the Overland OC edition. And with that… check back often to see how the build is coming along.