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We have a Land Cruiser!!!

We have a Land Cruiser!!!

While it may seem premature to purchase our Land Cruiser 8 months before departure, it is not a simple task. First, where to buy? Could buy it in US, but there are no diesel-engined variants here, which is the preferred fuel/engine choice for Africa. Also, costs are on order of $3,000 to ship to Spain. There are more options in Europe, but buying a vehicle in the EU is actually difficult if you are not a resident.

Selection was pretty straight forward.

Get a Land Rover if you want to drive into the desert. Get a Land Cruiser if you want to drive out…

That quote says a lot. No doubt there are many who would argue, and many that are successful with their Defenders, but Toyota really has the edge, from many aspects:

  • reliability- proven on all continents, Land Cruisers keep going
  • parts availability- a key factor if a CV joint, or water pump fail somewhere in Mauritania
  • expertise- bush mechanics know Toyotas

Series 80 and 100 are the preferred platforms. Turns out that the UK has excellent examples of diesel Land Cruisers for sale, at reasonable prices (comparatively speaking), and purchase by non-resident is allowed. So, next question, look for a low mileage stock vehicle and outfit ourselves (with help of local garage), or find one that has already been kitted out. Former approach ensures you get exactly what you want, but is very costly – the entire vehicle must be inspected from ground up, and cost to replace/update parts to “baseline” the truck (ready mechanically for the desert) is around 5,000 pounds. Then comes the overlanding gear – roof tent, racks, on-board air compressor, winch, refrigerator, storage, batteries and charging, etc. Easily another 6,000 pounds. Added to the 10,000 pound cost of a base vehicle, you are now at 21,000 pounds, or $35,000 US. Wow. Reality sets in. Maybe we should look for one that has already been outfitted…

I found a website that specializes in supporting/marketing overland vehicles, africa4x4cafe, and started researching. First thing we discovered was how fabulously friendly the community of overlanders are. We would talk to one, they would introduce us to another, all with incredibly valuable information.

So after considering 6 different options, we found what we think is the right one for us: a 2001 Toyota Land Cruiser VX100, 4.2 liter Turbo-diesel, 225k km, fully kitted, and currently owned by the son of a Toyota dealer in Waterford Ireland.

Our new home away from home!

Our new home away from home!

 

We spent about 2 weeks going back and forth, pics sent, questions asked, more pics, a 2 hour skype video call, more questions. All seems to be on the up and up. Rob and Marcella (prior owners who did an amazing trip from Libya to South Africa in it – see their blog safaribeag) are the most amazing, helpful people. So, we sent the money off by bank wire and are now awaiting the transfer documents.

We are now the proud owners of an expedition ready Land Cruiser! SO EXCITED!!!

Here are some more pics:

Looks very capable!

Looks very capable!

Roof tent on top.

Roof tent on top.

Roof tent open.

Roof tent open.

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