If you’ve been following my project car updates on Ralph the Runner, you’ll know that my main goal is to keep this thing looking as original as possible, while having the comfort and practicality of a basic off-road tourer.
I always loved the thin pinstripes that ran down the side of the 4Runner when I bought it, but I knew that they weren’t an original decal and had been put on by the original owner at some point in its life.
I had seen a few images online of the original decals that were offered on the first-gen 4Runner in the Australian market, but I was still reluctant to pull the pin and get them made up, mostly as I doubted that anyone would have the designs in the first place, let alone want to apply them.
One afternoon making my way home from work, I locked eyes on a truly beautiful rig in the oncoming lane. I had never seen another first-gen 4Runner in the same colour as mine, let alone in person, and to make the drool flow even faster, it was sporting the original decals, chrome rims, and bumpers at both ends. A proper OG 4Runner.
The moment that I and the driver of this beauty saw each other was truly special, both quick to point at each other, jaws dropped and screaming “YEEEEW” while throwing a few shakkas out the window. A true bloke love story, if you ask me.After relaying this story to a few mates and explaining the decals I was after, one of my mates told me that she’s seen a few Troopcarriers getting around on Instagram with retro style decals done by a shop called BodyMold Signs in Kingsgrove.
I was quick to send them a message explaining what I wanted, and Andrew from BodyMold was even quicker to reply. Much to my excitement, he confirmed that he had the original prints from 1985 and he was happy to apply them before the week's end. Score!Andrew was a true legend. I knew I was in good hands once he explained to me that he used to do these prints all the time back in the '80s for local Toyota dealerships, and had a stack of photo albums to prove it. I called up on a Friday afternoon and he had the designs cut and ready to go by Monday.
I couldn’t make it down to his shop until the following Friday but he ensured me that the decals wouldn’t take long to apply. I was also going away for the weekend with a few mates, so the 4Runner was all loaded up when heading into the shop. It was awesome to see a professional do the work. Andrew made it look so effortless and had both sides done in under 30 minutes. It usually takes me about an hour to put a window sticker on a car, and it usually ends up crooked. I’m beyond stoked with the outcome and I can’t thank Andrew enough for his awesome work and turnover time. Hit up BodyMold Signs if you’re keen on getting some retro designs laid up on your old rig.
Mods, Mods, Mods
I briefly spoke about the roof rack setup in my last project car update, I have since added a Yakima Platform rack to the crossbar setup which has made tying the swag and marquee onto the roof a lot easier.
I don’t have to worry about the swag bellying out and rubbing on the roof anymore, and It’s allowed me to mount a shovel rack too. It’s a nice, sleek design which I reckon looks great, and I haven’t noticed any extra wind noise since having it on. Big thumbs up from me.
The canvas seat covers from Black Duck finally arrived and are doing their job well. I was surprised at how thick the canvas really is, I’d say its almost thicker than what my swag is made out of. They’re not the most comfortable in the world but they don’t need to be. They look good, fit well and have kept a lot of dirt and mud off the original cloth all while protecting it from tears too.
The rear drawers and fridge setup is all complete (for now). I’ve also added a 400W Inverter from Enerdrive up the back so I can charge my phone, camera gear and laptop if need be. It’s not big enough to run an air fryer or microwave, but I reckon if you’re using that sort of stuff in the bush, you might as well stay at home… controversial, I know.
The old bus is coming up to its all exciting 200,000km birthday and is still loving life. As a precautionary, I’ll be replacing the timing belt at this milestone and checking the fuel pump to make sure it’s all still running sweet.
The timing belt was done at 100,000km but I thought I might as well get it done while I own it for peace of mind. Along with these check-ups, I’ll be getting a compression and leak down test done as I still don’t know whether it’s burning oil through the rings or valve stems. All of this to come in the next update...