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When we first started to research what vehicle to get, like many people, we just assumed that a Land Rover was the obvious choice. After all, they are commonplace on the UK's roads and there seems to be no shortage of websites, magazines and events, all dedicated to the mark.

However, as I did my homework and asked around, I came to realise that Land Rovers do not have the last word on reliability and not being mechanical minded decided to consider other options. Chris Scott, in his book 'Sahara Overland' makes much of the Toyota Landcruiser and this high praise was reiterated to me by Paul Marsh at Footloose 4x4 (a Land Rover specialist).

Arguabley the best option would have been a 78 series Landcruiser, but as these are not generally seen in the UK it appeared that the next best choice was an 80 series. There are plently of older 80s about and being a bit of a gas guzzler, these days are pretty cheap. I managed to find one locally and spent a quite a bit of time and money on modifications and preparation.

With hindsight it would probabley have worked out quite a bit cheaper to find an already adapted vehicle, but back then I just didn't know that they came up for sale from time to time. I later found that the best place to look for one is in the 4WD section of The HUBB, a forum based website that is probabley the most influential place for adventure travel on wheels.

Model: Toyota Landcruiser VX 80 Series [1994 - HDJ80]
Engine: 4.2L Diesel Turbo
Transmission: Automatic
Modifications: Old Man Emu heavy duty suspension - 2.5" lift
  33" [285/75] BF Goodrich All Terrain tyres on Toyota steel wheels
  Safari Snorkal and breathing kit
  Heat exchanger for hot water and showers
  Waeco 1000 watt inverter for on board 240v power
  Kaymar spare wheel carrier mounted on rear bumper
  180L Long Ranger auxiliary fuel tank
  Steering and transmission armored bash plates
  ARB winch bumper with Warn XD9000 winch
  100L water tank with Sure Flow pump and Nature Pure filtration unit
  Upgraded interior LED lighting
  National Luna split charge battery system
  Optima deep cycle battery
  Cargo storage and drawer system
Equipment: National Luna 50 litre 'Weekender' fridge freezer
  Patriot roof rack
  Howling Moon roof tent, shower enclosure and awning
  Viair Compressor
  Garmin 276C GPS
  On-board computer with 10" touch screen
  Recovery gear [MaxTrax sand plates, Hi-Lift Jack, tow rope, straps and shackles]
  Folding table and chairs

Useful Information

There are quite a few forums and mailing lists devoted to Toyota Landcruisers, some of which are listed below...

European Landcruiser Owners
Landcruiser Club South Africa

Whilst I was able to undertake many of the modifications myself, I did turn to specialists for mechanical stuff.

Julian Voelcker is a Landcruiser expert and prepares many vehicles for overland travel. His business is called Overland Cruisers

Footloose 4x4, were very helpful and fitted the auxiliary fuel tank and the Patriot roof rack.

BOAB.biz supplied the water system. Chris the proprietor, is a realy good bloke and stocks many Australian products.

For parts and equipment I can recommend the following companies...

APB Trading
Devon 4x4
OEC International

I should also mention that a really good place for finding suppliers and buying all sorts of gear are Land Rover shows

Oh, and don't forget chandlery shops at marinas and boat yards.

For general camping stuff, Towsure take some beating.