Initially we were hoping to get the old Land Cruiser 80 series, but they’re like hens’ teeth and the affordable ones tend to have spent their lives scrumming against the likes of Os du Randt and suffer from arthritis in their knees.
In the end we went for a gas guzzling 3 litre Land Cruiser Prado Turbo Diesel 1997 model. We were quite fortunate to find a car that had only done about 100,000 km (roughly 60,000 miles) for it’s age and the price we paid – in the world of Land Cruisers that’s basically just after they’ve lost their milk teeth (i.e. Pulled them out with a pair of pliers and not bothered to put them under their pillow for the tooth fairy – they’re that hardcore).
She’s an import, which means you won’t know how to fold back the rear seats unless you can understand Japanese, but the nice thing about it is that the speedo is in kilometres for when we’re back in SA.
We’ve been on a few camping trips to the New Forest and Wales and after the initial stress of getting used to driving down skinny British country lanes with a car this size I don’t know if I could ever go back to driving a smaller car.
Some of the features include permanent 4-wheel-drive, sun roof, dvd player / radio, blue-tooth hands-free and extra power sockets in the front to charge cell phones and keep the gps running.
My only gripe is that she is very thirsty. Current estimates are around 8-9km per litre, but I’ll investigate ways to improve this without having to pop an egg under the accelerator pedal.
In the new year we’ll start kitting her out with all the cool bits – beetle crushing tyres, hard-core shocks and snorkel etc.