Toyota Land Cruiser - The Ultimate Camper Conversion. - the building and testing of the Ultimate World Land Cruiser.
This is a re-edit and new upload, in full HD, from a series of videos already on this channel.
What began as an idle thought while sitting under a tree in the wilderness, became the thing of dreams.
In 2010 I was sitting under a tree in the Hoanib River in north western Namibia (while shooting a TV show and looking for desert elephant), all on my own and I began to think. It was hot - about 100F. I hadn’t had a shower for a couple of days and I thought,
‘How nice it would be right now to have a shower’. But it being so hot, the effort to set one up seemed too much. So instead, I pulled an ice-cold coke from the fridge, sat and began dreaming.
The vehicle I was driving was a Toyota Land Cruiser 105 Station-wagon. This vehicle is a 100-series, but with an 80-series chassis – to my mind, one of the most outstanding 4x4 vehicles ever produced by Toyota. But being a station-wagon meant it has its limitations in terms of living out of for extended periods. So my mind drifted toward the Land Cruiser 78-series wagon, known in Australia and some other countries, as the Troopy. This basic light truck with its cavernous rear load bay would make the perfect basis for a live-in camper style vehicle, while still being small enough for use as an overland transport that could reach places larger trucks simply cannot go. This would be my 5th Land Cruiser and 11th 4x4.
Jump forward 12 months.
At the time of my musings, the Troopy was due for release in South Africa in a few months time. I had seen them and envied them on many a trip, but had never driven one. But as they were reputed to be one of the best overland platforms available, I thought,
‘How could I go wrong?’ And I was right.
The story of that vehicle and the three years of its designing, building and testing became part of a South African TV series, as well as a number of YouTube videos, first released in 2012. They concluded with the forth one, released this year (2015).
Toyota South Africa marketing
Since 1999, when Toyota South Africa loaned me a Land Cruiser 90 Prado for a year, I have been on very good terms with them. I had over the years, became what they called, a ‘brand ambassador’. While I didn’t mind the label, it probably wasn’t all good. As a journalist, trying to be as objective as possible, and then having a manufacturer claim me as one of their own, wasn’t all good for my reputation. I do not like being labeled a ‘Land Rover man’, or ‘Toyota man’. I am not unhappy with ‘4x4 man’. I love all 4x4s. I just love some more than others. However, what this did mean was that the door was open to working with Toyota on new projects. Whereas with other manufacturers I still had to beat down the door to get it open, with Toyota it was always ajar.
After homologation, testing and the press release of a new model, several press vehicles normally go up for sale. The timing for the Troopy was perfect. With the press launch looming, I made my move.
There were two Troopys allocated for press duties. One had been earmarked for a wildlife research project, and the second could be mine if we could strike a deal. My offer was that they would extend its press life by one year, and then sell it to me, cost less depreciation. Because I would be doing major modifications to the load bay, they would not be able to sell it as a standard vehicle afterwards, so buying it had to be part of the deal. As usual I had to detail all the media coverage, with column inches, number of photos and TV show broadcast times. They agreed that I would run it for one year, and then buy it.
Cool! I was getting me a Troopy!
This is that story.
I wish to thank all those who contributed, especially these other significant contributors:
Baillies Off Road: Safari Snorkel and fuel tank.
R&D Gobi-X. Rock sliders and under engine protection.
LA Sport: Rear bumper, wheel carrier, winch and bull-bar.
This video is brought to you by 4xOverland, makers of the best overland videos on the web. If you love Andrew's videos? Then support more here: https://www.patreon.com/Andrew_StPierre_White?ty=h
ANDREW’S WEBSITE: http://4xoverland.com
ANDREW’S OTHER YOUTUBE CHANNEL: http://bit.ly/YouTubeASPW
ANDREW’S 4X4 BOOK: http://bit.ly/Four_Wheel_Drive
ANDREW’S AWARD-WINNING MEMOIR: http://bit.ly/Torn_Trousers
ANDREW’S ADVENTURE FILM COURSE SHOOTING 50% discount coupon: http://bit.ly/Shooting_Course99
ANDREW’S ADVENTURE FILM COURSE EDITING 50% discount coupon: http://bit.ly/Editing_Course99