“Driving it home now! $4500. Runs great on the freeway”.
This is the email I got from James when he had just bought it. A month of work leading up to this moment was well spent because I now am the owner of a 1988 Toyota Landcruiser model FJ62.
Not only do I love cars, but I also felt a great responsibility buying this car. This car is going to be our home for the next couple of months. This car is going to get us safely from point A to B to C to… A LOT OF PLACES throughout this journey. If I had bought a piece of junk we would be very limited as to where we would be able to go, and ultimately we would not feel safe. That’s what gear is about to me. Feeling safe.
My brother in law drove through South America some years ago. He knew a guy in Los Angeles who helped foreigners get their vehicles when flying in from all over the world to go on a road trip throughout the USA. So I wrote the guy. The guy told me that as soon as he saw the money in his bank account he’d start looking for a car. So I transferred a lot of money to a guy whom I’d never spoken to in person or seen. That felt a little weird. This guy was James and his help has been just short of heavenly. I don’t know how I would’ve acquired a great car without his expertise. Thanks a lot James!
The number on his bank account rose, and after that everything became a little easier… Or did it… Because at that point I could start looking for 4X4’s in California. I knew exactly what I wanted, so it’d be no problem to find a car within a weeks time or so. Here are some of the specifications I was hoping the car would have at that point:
- Big enough for two people to sleep in it
- It has to have a roof rack big enough for a rooftop tent
- It has to be a reliable 4X4
- Ability to find spare parts for it in the middle of South America
I was soon to discover how many thousands of 4X4’s (and that’s only in California!) had these specifications. This meant that I had to narrow down my search for a car. I read about it and talked to some friends about 4X4’s as I didn’t know anything at that point really. Thanks Kirkeby and Bæk! Soon I knew that a Toyota Landcruiser would not only be a good way ahead, but probably the only way ahead. Among the dudes who knows about reliable 4X4’s, Landcruisers are the shit.
Having narrowed down the search for the ultimate vehicle, I started using Craigslist to find a car. At this point there were only a couple hundred cars to choose between, which meant I had to narrow down the search even further. So I kept narrowing down the search until James, in the end, had three cars on the line. Two of which got sold, while James was quick enough to buy the third one before it was sold too. Luckily it was the most awesome car of the three!
I’m not an expert on the car (yet), but from what I read and hear from experts, this is a model from before Toyota turned the Landcruiser from a truck into a “car”. This one my ladies and gentlemen is a truck. A big old truck! I love the fact that it looks like a truck and that the edges aren’t curvy and smooth.
It’s a petrol, straight six engine with about 150hp (20 years ago so it’s probably a little lower by now). I was a little worried about getting a 4×4 with automatic transmission, because I’m used to manual (that’s what most people drive in Denmark). I feel like I don’t have full control over the car when I can’t change the gears and be in full control all the time. However, after looking at some comparisons on youtube and reading about it, I felt like it probably would not be that bad an idea with automatic transmission. It has it’s benefits too.
So how do I feel about owning a Toyota Landcruiser? Pretty f***ing great I have to admit. The car that I owned in Denmark was a VW Polo, which is a nice car, but very small compared to this monster. I might be in love.
The next couple of days, my focus will be on getting spare parts for the car, so I’m ready in case of a breakdown happens. James tells me that the mechanics seem to be great in this car, so that is very comforting!
Paint job? Hell no. I like the patina, and I think there is an important point in regards of it. Driving through areas with a high crime rate we don’t want to look too flashy, so the dent in the rear left corner of the car doesn’t bother me at all. I’ll fix it at some point in order to sell the car again, but it’s definitely not my focus right now.