Words by Abtin M.
Model: Toyota Landcruiser FJ80 3F Manual
Special features: It has electronic diff lock which is very convenient in bad situations when you don’t want to get wet, muddy or cold.
Crudities: Let’s start with the bad, fuel consumption. When I first purchased this car and driving it home which was roughly 80 km away I literally saw the fuel gauge dropping every 20 km or so.
Immediately, I realised I’m in trouble and perhaps I made a mistake because I’m all about efficiency and waste reduction, so a high consumption car would cause an ethical dilemma.
Once I reached Fitzroy area, I went to the fuel station and I remembered the car was duel fuel. I filled both tanks and switched to gas for the rest of the way and was delighted that the car used less gas than fuel.
Since then, the main focus for upgrades to the car has been to bring in efficiency and reliability. So far, we are making good progress and have managed a 26% increase in fuel efficiency. Not that impressive when you consider how atrocious the fuel consumption was to begin with.
This came from fitting the right exhaust system, as well as some electrical and ignition upgrades.
How I got it and provenance of the car: I got it off a friend in 2012 when I realised, he was selling it. I was always on the lookout for a 1978 model which was the model I have my earliest memories from. My grandfather and father used to take use to remote areas, picnics and other family events, way before seatbelts and vehicle passenger capacity were enforced. 😊
Two Landcruisers used to take roughly 20 people to secluded place where the fires would begin and the smoke from various charcoaled meat would fill the air, followed by spiced tea and deserts. Sometimes, there would be wine if we were celebrating something.
On these trips, both my grandfather and father used to load up the youngsters who were aspiring drivers and take them somewhere open for some driving training.
Some like me were too small to reach the pedals sitting down and used to stand holding onto the wheel while trying to change gears and move forward and back. This was the beginning of my love for motor vehicles.
Why I love it: Love is always hard to define. The purer it is the harder to articulate as it is more of a state than feeling. I love this car for many reasons. Some of the simpler I will share.
It fulfils its purpose every time whether it is moving something big or a group of people. It is an 8 seater so having outdoor activities are much easier to organise when less people have to drive.
It is reliable. On multiple occasion where we are camping somewhere remote and something goes wrong, this car has not let us down. It’s a very simple design, made for easy repair and maintenance so on the odd times where it is not functioning for some reason, to find the fault and repair it is usually easy.
Most of the maintenance for this car is done by me.
What I have done to it: Anytime something needs repair, I usually opt for the best option on the market and purchase a new or reconditioned part. The priority is always mechanical and once I have the budget to make it look pretty then I will get a paint job and new interior.
How other people could procure something similar: These are relatively easy to find on the market. It really depends on what you would like to get out of the car. If you don’t plan on maintaining the vehicle yourself then perhaps the FJ80 post 1993 is the best choice as it has the new FZ (fuel) and HZ (Diesel) engines which crank out a lot more power with a lot less fuel. I chose my model because I didn’t want to have a computer in my car which made remote repairs very difficult.