The Legendary Land Cruiser
The Legendary Land Cruiser
Welcome back folks. Today I’m here with another vehicles inspired blog with a cheeky focus on the 4x4/overland/expedition world. This blog will also hopefully pay a bit of homage to one of the most consistently unbeatable highly acclaimed giants that have earned their respect year upon year and truly stood the test of time over generations: The Toyota Land Cruiser, an international leader in 4x4 for over 60 years.
Cars and motorbikes have always been a passion for me, mainly for my deep admiration for groundbreaking engineering feats that have consistently occurred over the years and also because of the fun and pure enjoyment that come from driving or riding.
When I was a lot younger, in my early twenties, my whole world revolved around cars, and being from the UK generally meant thrashing around in European hot-hatches: Golf GTIs, Peugeot 205 GTIs, Renault 5 GTIs, BMWs, Mercs and Minis. For the most part, they were all front wheel drive, well tuned machines around 2 litres and combined with low suspension and a lightweight body that gave them a sexy power-to-weight ratio which affixed a permanently stretched grin across your face.
If somebody had asked me then what I thought of a Bentley or a Toyota Land Cruiser I would have probably said ‘Go and ask my Dad’, as back then at that age, we couldn’t see beyond our tiny bubble of turning up in convoy at McDonald’s drive-thrus with hordes of mates and girls piled in the back, speakers unloading copious amounts of bass admiring each others freshly polished alloys with a Big Mac in each hand. Those days now seem like a past life. Now it’s all about practicality, durability, comfort and reliability. I’ve become my dad.
A couple of years ago I bought an 80 series Land Cruiser, a 1991 model. It’s an old machine, a very old machine. It needed a few bits and tweaks here and there but in those two years it was bulletproof and built like a tank. For a car that was 25 years old it still purred like an old sleeping lion and had plenty of life in it when it was put to task. I’ve never had the opportunity to drive a newer model so have no basis for comparison, but for a car of that age to hold its value so well it was clear to me that the Land Cruiser was a very serious piece of kit.
The first thing, the only thing I wanted to do at that time was to get my hands on a new engine, and the only one that would be sure to be 100% reliable in all areas was the classic http://www.australia.for-sale.com/toyota-v8 .
It’s interesting to note that the Land Cruiser dates back to the early fifties. Sometime during the Korean War, the Americans requested an all-terrain 4x4 to be designed for the US military. A year later and the first Land Cruiser prototype was completed and tested by taking on Mount Fuji, resulting in the first Land Cruiser reaching two further checkpoints that thus far only been successfully completed on horseback.
Naturally, it was a success and went in to production. Since then it has evolved and been improved upon to suit different needs and markets time and time again without sacrificing any quality but adding refinement every step of the way.
Today’s model (the 2016 Land Cruiser) for example packs the power of around 380 horses and over 400lb/ft. of torque. It’s immensely luxurious and comfortable with an interior equipped with cutting edge electronics featuring internal engine management and ride handling adjustments as well as climate control, drinks coolers and entertainment controls for both front and rear passengers exclusively (it may as well be the new four-wheel orient express) yet its off-road ability still remains unparalleled. This seems to be a trend with Toyota. Over the last decade the Land Cruiser has seen incredible developments all round, yet most people see only the surface and marvel at the extended comfort and luxury the new model provides, as well as its ever-growing graceful yet menacing presence.
Truth be known though, the real development has been in maintaining Toyota’s overland 4x4 superiority from way back in the day to the present one. It’s something they’re proud of and something they should be proud of considering the amount of competition out there. To put it more succinctly: a part quote from a recent review “..the 2016 Cruiser is an off-road beast that offers some on-road comfort for its likely suburban lifestyle”, which pretty much says it all. Anyway, that’s all from me today folks, thanks for stopping by. Until next time..