At first we really considered taking our beloved and ever faithfull duck (Citroen 2cv, 602cc, 29bhp). Untill now it has safely taken us on all our holidays. All our camping gear fits in the back(it is a snug fit 'though). The duck is reliable, and if she breaks down she is very straight forward to work on. Even off the road she has already proven to be worthy. Did I already mention it is a cabriolet? We wouldn't even be the first to undertake such a journey with a duck!
But then there is the downside (depends on how you look at it ofcourse). When travelling with such an underpowered, old car, a lot of attention has to go to the vehicle. She needs regular maintenance, all our items have to be packed very carefully in order to fit everything in. She isn't really the fasted vehicle around, etc... No problem for short trips in Europa, but in Africa we probably want to spend more time pulling a giraffes tail and eating coconuts.
A 4x4 it will be!
Overlanders generally agree, there are 2 vehicles which are up to the job: the favourite of the English: the Landrover Defender (or older SeriesIII) or the Toyota LandCruiser. Overlanders generally disagree on which one of these is the best for the job! De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum, they say in Latin. The Landrover certainly has the right "safari" looks and is a very capable 4x4. He has however a reputation of being unreliable. Without a doubt the Landrover will make the journey succesfully, but it will need a heck of a lot more attention then the Toyota Landcruiser. And that's exactly the reason why we are not taking the Citroen!
A Toyota Landcruiser it will be!
Without gettting in too much of a detail: there are a lot of different models and optionlevels in the Landcruiser assortment, but a main difference can be made between the luxurious versions (ie: 90) and the "Heavy Duty" versions. The last one is of particular interest for us: the 70-series LandCruiser! More specificly, the biggest model: the Toyota Landcruiser 75. This big guy has loads of space on the inside, comes with a very big and reliable engine, has no electronics onboard(nothing that can brake down!), is very capable offroad and is generally indestructable!
Being in production for quite some time now, they are still being produced. No longer are they readibly available on the European market, but medecines without bordes, the red cross, the NATO, etc... they all are loyal customers.
Unlike the the current SUV's, the rough Landcruiser 75 has never been very popular with the soccer moms. That is ofcourse why it is a rare find in Belgium. The few 75's for sale are very popular with overlanders, which is not a good thing for the market price. After much ado we finally found a reasonably priced 75 in good nick at Benelease . Wim from Benelease did us a great favour by delevering this car in (almost) concours-state and helped us a lot with all the modifications (Thanks Wim!).
This is how we bought him:
Our Toyota LandCruiser HZJ75:
- 1HZ engine: 6 cylinders in line 4.2liter N.A. diesel
- 284.000km on the clock
- 130Bhp en maximum torque of 285nm
- Empty weight: 2.345kg
- 5meters long, 1,7meters wide and 2meters high
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