If you have been searching for a capable off-road vehicle that would provide a little more comfort than a regular Jeep or Toyota, then a 1st generation VW Touareg may be a perfect model to look at. It represents a fusion of a tough 4×4 SUV and a premium European crossover that works surprisingly well in one package.
The Touareg is known for its luxurious interior and reliable functionality, making it an ideal choice when you venture off-road. It was also designed to perform in a variety of off-road conditions, so it is suitable for all kinds of surfaces if equipped with proper tires.
The owner of this great-looking Touareg, Adam Sullivan from Southern California, has started the build from a 5.0 liter V10 Twin Turbo diesel engine swap to make it reliable and fast on concrete and unpaved roads. He improved every corner of the vehicle to adapt it to the rigors of the off-road terrain and outfitted it with all necessary gear to turn it into an all-out overland adventure rig.
– How did you become interested in off-roading?
– I’ve been off-roading since I was 17. My first car was a 1988 Jeep Wrangler YJ that I started modifying for off-road immediately. My interest evolved into overlanding over time.
“When looking to build a dedicated overlander, I wanted to do something that stood out and wasn’t the typical platform like a Tacoma, 4Runner or a Jeep”.
– Why did you choose a VW Touareg?
– When looking to build a dedicated overlander, I wanted to do something that stood out and wasn’t the typical platform like a Tacoma, 4Runner or a Jeep. The Touareg proved to be a very capable off road option with the added plus of serious comfort. I love the uniqueness of the build which makes up for the difficulty of finding parts and the fact that a lot had to be custom fabricated.
“I wanted something for serious overlanding that was also comfortable on the road”.
– What inspired you to choose this modification style?
– I wanted something for serious overlanding that was also comfortable on the road. The build is evolving even further into the overland direction with future interior modification plans with water and electric storage and upgrades and drawer storage and kitchen.
– What challenges did you face while putting it together?
– It’s a difficult vehicle to work on. The engine replacement was a serious challenge I took on myself, I’m seriously proud of pulling it off by myself, which makes using it so much sweeter. Luckily, more companies are making off-road and overland dedicated products for this platform so there are more bolt on options instead of having to do full custom fabricated stuff.
“Luckily, more companies are making off-road and overland dedicated products for this platform so there are more bolt on options instead of having to do full custom fabricated stuff”.
– What do you love about your vehicle?
– It’s unique, comfortable and extremely powerful! People are always shocked to see a VW on the trail keeping up with the Jeeps. It’s always full to let the V10 loose for sure!
– Do you take it off road? If so, where and how often?
– Yes we do! We get out as often as possible, our longest trip was 8 days from Southern California to Oregon along the 395 and then took the coast back dispersed camping along the way.
– Is it your daily or a weekend ride?
– This was built as an adventure vehicle and as a showcase vehicle for our brand Otzi Adventure Gear. We do overland trips as well as your expos and events with it.
– Tell us a little about Otzi Adventure Gear
– Absolutely! We are a family owned and run business with me, my fiancé, my brother and his wife at the helm. Me and my brother have always been avid outdoorsmen whether off-roading, hunting, fishing, rock climbing or surfing. We have built quite a few businesses together over the years and found ourselves pulled further and further from the lifestyle we loved, for 6 years it felt like it was lost completely.
When the pandemic hit we sold off our heavy construction equipment sale business and started Otzi. We took the events in the world as a catalyst to change up everything about our business and lifestyle to get back to what we really loved, adventuring. We started Otzi with the idea of designing, engineering and manufacturing outdoor, overland and vanlife components and accessories to solve problems we have faced with what’s currently available.
Me and my brother design and engineer all of our Otzi Gear products together and have it all manufactured locally here in California.
- See Otzigear.com for more information!
Our idea was to build a business that served the lifestyle we wanted and give us the opportunity to test and improve our product under a real use environment. Everything we design gets hammered on the trail, redesigned and hammered again until it meets our expectations before we release it for sale. We have also expanded to being dealers for other brands we use and love such as Front Runner, Dometic, Cali Raised, Blackwood Adventure Mods to name a few.
“We are trying to bring maximum versatility, durability and just plain quality to any product we make”.
2006 VW Touareg V10 TDI SPECS & MODS
- 5.0 liter V10 Twin Turbo diesel with a custom tune producing 380hp. The original v10 engine had mechanical issues so I replaced it myself with a brand new crate engine I found for sale in Oregon. Darkside development dual snorkel system.
Lift height and suspension modifications
- 3 inch lift on full adjustable air suspension with 3 height settings allowing up to 17 inches of ground clearance
- Upgraded control arms and tow links.
- 18” pro comp wheels and 33” Wrangler MT/R tires
- Eurowise rocks sliders
- Front runner slim line 2 roof rack
- Alu-cab gen 3 roof top tent
- Caliraised led light bar
- Otzi Gear ModRack spare tire rack system
- Custom skid plate system.
- RAM mount rails on dash for garmin overlander and in reach. Future interior mods will include a rear seat delete, drawer system, water storage and filtration system, expanded battery and inverter system, pull out kitchen system.
All other mods
- 180 watt solar with 100AH battery system with inverter
- Weboost cell booster
- 10 gallon yakima road shower
- Alucab shower cube
- Smittybilt 180 degree awning
Watch the progress and find out more about this VW Touareg project by visiting the Instagram profile of the owner: @odinoverland!
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Automotive journalist and technical writer at Offroadium.com with more than 10 years of experience in the sphere of aftermarket parts and 4×4 vehicle modifications. Passionate about off-roading, outdoor adventures, and an active lifestyle.