Practically ALL car values have gone crazy in the last year. But if you tend to follow used car values, you’re probably aware that Lexus GX values were creeping up… even before the madness. Ands it’s no wonder. The Lexus GX470 is an amazing off-road platform that’s built to withstand the rigors of different terrains, different elements, and war zones. Literally – the J120 is a proper UN spec, drive-through-anything, last-forever vehicle based on the ROW Market Land Cruiser Prado. Some cars & trucks are built with a short shelf life – not Land Cruisers. These are lifetime-serviceable vehicles, and the surge in market-price is a reflection of that.

Hence – the Lexus GX is a great platform to build into a trail ready beast. 

And that’s exactly what our man Josh Backes did. Overland ready?? Heh, over anything ready is more like it. With many modern off-road builds, the original styling of the vehicle gets chopped-up & abandoned in pursuit of ultimate performance. In this case, the handsome styling-cues of the GX470 design remain (thankfully) intact.

lifted GX470


Rock sliders, fabbed steel bumpers, and skid plates are all inline with the angular, and dare I say, svelte design lines of the Lexus GX.

The aftermarket fender flares still work tastefully with the aesthetic… and don’t have that ‘bolt-on’ look that kills the beauty of many an SUV build. See often times, aftermarket off-road/truck design gets stuck in a real hole. Meaning – all these black plastic exposed-bolt universal fender flares on $100,000 rigs feels like a weird flex to me. And this Lexus GX is all the better for NOT going that direction.

Lifted GX470

Talking with Josh Backes…

He shared that the fender flares I’m so in love with are actually a commissioned one-off design built for him by McQueen Prototype Design. Good on both Josh and McQueen for going the extra mile to make this rig a real standout. 

And while we’re talking about design, check out the roof rack…

The Southern Style roof rack follows the Lexus roofline beautifully. With 4x4s like the Land Rover, G-Wagon, and of course Jeep Wrangler… 90º bends are acceptable because that’s the kind of rugged style those trucks were designed with. Not so with the GX. This truck has a different type of style. Sure – it’s cheaper & easier to get universal flares & roof racks for these trucks, but it kills the aesthetic. Do a quick interweb search of “modified GX470s” and you quickly see how exceptional Josh’s rig really is.

GX470 bumpers

This lifted GX470 has wheeled all over the country…

This rig’s been through Moab, and a lot of the demanding desert trails out West. Grip is usually really good out that way, but that means the ground pulls on the tires & drivetrain pieces that much harder. Plus – the landscape is much less forgiving, and the consequence of error is much more serious. Off-road gear like remote-reservoir King off-road dampers & beadlock wheels mean no matter how nuts the terrain gets, this tank should get you back home in one piece. And now that Josh lives in the Southeast, the GX is equipped with loads of Baja Designs LED lighting AND a low profile Factor 55 winch for muddier, slicker, tighter, forrest-filled landscapes. Josh has built a seriously well-equipped, reliable, versatile, and stylish rig that is ready to get down & dirty wherever it roams. 

Text by Tim Neely     Photos by Tim Acang

Demello Off-Road front bumper

Factor 55 winch

Southern Style Off-Road rear bumper AND roof rack

King shocks/suspension

Baja Designs lighting

Walker Evans Racing beadlocks 17×8.4 w/ 4.5″ backspace

315/70/17 Milestar Patagonia MTs

GX470 steel bumpers GX470 lift kit