Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Toyota LandCruiser...

So, voices were raised, toys were thrown from prams and hissy fits were had by all in the N£2G office this afternoon. Why? That would be because we were trying to decide what the biggest, baddest, most ground-grippingly impressive 4x4 is. It's a wide debate open to many suggestions and much speculation - one person suggested the Vauxhall Frontera. Once we'd got through administering disciplinary action via the medium of Chinese burns and wedgies the debate picked up some serious momentum. Any mention of a Vauxhall was to be met with a slap.

After much more debate, and the unceremonious surprise dismissal of the Range Rover due to its modern-day 'blingy' image, we found ourselves left with two serious contenders. One was the Hummer, the other was the Toyota LandCruiser. You can already see where this is going, can't you?



Yes, the Hummer might have its 'military credentials' but let's face it, that's just a load of bollocks the ad men use to sell the bloated, underachieving fat lumps of oversized tin to yuppies, and rappers. Don't get us wrong, the original 'Arnie Get To De Choppa!' Hummer was (and still is) a monster, but the modern ones have let the side down by being, well, useless. See...


Is this picture overly gratuitous? Have you even seen the Hummer? Probably best to not look at it actually...


Yes, when it comes to 4x4s the LandCruiser is king among its rivals, top of the mountain, tamer of the transfer box, controller of the steep downward gradient, lord of the low ratio 'box, master of the mud, and hot-diggity does it have the credentials to back it up, or to be more precise one very large credential: Australia. This is because the LandCruiser is famed for being Outback-proof. That's like having a Nan who's QVC-proof - it's really quite incredible.


Look at this fella, happy as a clam. Some fool caught Outback-death in that Trans-Am and burst into flames. LandCruiser man doesn't care though - he KNOWS he's getting home for a 'roo burger tonight


It was an unstoppable force when it arrived in 1951, with development tasks including driving one to the sixth stage of Mount Fuji, as you do. The bods form Toyota were taking this seriously - they had Jeep and Land Rover in their crosshairs and they were going for the kill. The bare bones actually came about during the Korean War when the Japanese government suggested that Toyota build something to rival the Jeep of the U.S.A, rather than building Jeep under license. A decade of military service saw the LandCruiser become one of the most respected and valued 'tools' at the Japanese Army's disposal. In 1960 the name 'LandCruiser' was applied and the car began to hit the retail market, and the rest as they say, was history...


A 1960 LandCruiser in, er, 1960


As the years went on the LandCruiser, much like its rivals and much like our dad, got a bit fatter and a bit bigger. Unlike our dad though, the 'Cruiser was engineered to be as good off-road as it had ever been. This sucker's ability drive over hills, cows, trees and mountains was its calling card - to lose that to leather, air-con, alloys and a CD player was not an option. Rock-climbing kudos had to be a design priority...


In your FACE, rock. I OWN YOU! RAAAGGHHH - oh, turn the air-con down, it's a bit chilly - AAARRGGHH!


...and when they're not climbing over rocks, hills, school-children or bungalows they like to fly...


Wheeeeee -oh, you've got coffee on the leather - eeeeeeee!


...and swim...


Splash! Why, yes, that is Deacon Blue's greatest hits on the CD player...


So, have we whetted your appetite for all things 4x4? If so, let us show you what your £2000 could get you. In all honesty you'll probably be looking at a petrol engined 80 or 90 series. The 60 and 70 series variants are out there, but they will more than likely supersede the £2k budget - they're quite desirable as a classic, not just as a 4x4.

In terms of the engines, the 80 series will furnish you with either a 4.0 or 4.5 straight six petrol for your budget. You might get the 4.2 diesel at a push, but we doubt it. If you do find one for under £2k it's probably that cheap for a sinister mechanical reason - the pistons are in the boot...or on the floor. If you go for a 90 series you're going to end up with the 5VZ-FE petrol engine (24-valve six-cylinder, 3.4-litre) or the 3RZ-FS (four-cylinder 2.7-litre) petrol engine. Both great engines, just a little thirsty. Let's face it though, you buy a LandCruiser so you can drive over Swindon, not for fuel economy...



How about that? A 90-series 'Cruiser. You could live in it, it's so big. We'd have the front seats as the lounge, the rear as the kitchen and the boot would be our bedroom. Oh, and the glove-box would be the games room. Seriously though, that is a lot of car for not-a-lot-of-money. Yes, it is slightly hindered by being propelled by petrol, not diesel, but hey...who cares? It's been looked after, it has all the creature comforts you could ever want, it's built with all those off-road credentials we've mentioned above and it's as big as Chichester - win!

As 4x4s go, the LandCruiser could well be our favourite. They're tough, they don't get stuck, they laugh in the face of the Australian Outback and they can drive over anything put in front of them, including Kangaroos (not that you see many of them in Hemel Hempstead) and for £2000 that's a pretty impressive list of attributes. Get one bought, we would! After all, they're better than a Hummer...



...again, too gratuitous? Ah well! BUY A LANDCRUISER!