Nirvana’s debut album Bleach hit the air waves, the Berlin wall came down and the price of diesel was only 55 cents a litre. Yes, the year 1989 had stack of cool things happen but for me the coolest of them all was when the Hj61rg Landcruiser rolled off the production line. While the 60 series was coming to the end of its production with Toyota bringing in the coiled 80 series, the Hj61rg Sahara represented the very top of the line for one of the toughest leaf sprung 4wds ever made.
While I never owned my Sahara until another 20 years later it’s a testament to Toyota as to how well these beasts last. My cruiser still starts first time every time with the big 12ht only taking half a crank before firing into a rhythmic melody, as loud as any D9 dozer and with as much pulling power.
While I fell in love with Landcruisers well before I had my license, I never ended up owning one until 5 years ago when I picked up my Sahara for a steal.... Only 7 grand.
Now this thing of manly beauty had only ever seen the black top and was as stock a rock. But it was just the way I wanted it, the way I imagined it, all those years ago driving out of the showroom floor to jealous stares and only about 50 thousand dollars cheaper.
My reality is I was now the owner of one of Toyota's finest and I was looking to turn it into one of the toughest touring 4wd in the country and with a great base to star from it wasn’t too hard. After replacing some of the running gear like springs, shocks, exhaust and all the other bits and pieces that wear out on a 20 year old 4wd I ended up with a very solid, very capable machine. A Machine that would keep up with and surpass most new 4wds off road. That being said with new big tires and lifted, the handling on road is a compromise while fuel economy isn’t with the factory turbo diesel getting around 13 litres per 100km .
While some people like the comfort of a quiet new 4wd, I like to drive down the road and know that I’m driving. I like the noise and the rough ride is part of the hj61 experience. It's part of owning one of the toughest 4wds on the planet.
If you're looking for just a 4wd, then don’t buy a HJ61RG Sahara. If you're looking for an experience, a life style, an all consuming passion then I would highly recommend you take possession of a Toyota Lancruiser Hj61RG Sahara.