Fifteen years ago, I decided to become a bald nomad and that I needed a vehicle to tow a 7.2-metre Euro caravan, which I was in the process of buying. I researched what would be suitable in the four-wheel wheel drive category, and the Toyota 80 series stood out as a super-reliable and capable vehicle, especially the turbo diesel model.
After much research I found a 1992 turbo diesel Sahara with 290,000 'kays and an impeccable service history. To some that would seem to be excessive kilometres, but as history has proven the statement, "Just run in" is absolutely true.
To top it off, $15000 had just been spent on off-road gear, suspension, drawers, bull bar, lights, CB radio and a great stereo. I would say this has been the best vehicle I have ever owned, and I have had a few (being a car nut and 71 years old).
Over the years I have replaced most things that hang off the main mechanicals; alternator, radiator, batteries, and the like. I've rebuilt the turbo as a precaution, rebuilt the injector pump and have done the injectors once, and I've also put in a new air con compressor. The old girl is heading towards 600,000 'kays and the motor is running as sweetly as when I bought it.
Some would say this would seem like a lot of maintenance, but any vehicle after 15 years needs a lot of these things replaced, especially when you consider this vehicle has towed the caravan for 80,000km and done an awful lot of heavy-duty off-road work.
Being the Sahara model, it is supremely comfortable and I still marvel at how well it drives and handles. I am one happy camper and am looking forward to the 1 million kilometre mark being reached, if I live that long!! I have thought about upgrading to a later model cruiser and have a soft spot for a Lexus 470 with full Lexus service, which can be bought for a great price.
A lot of them do not have huge mileage and have never towed anything more than a box trailer, but my 80 is running so well, and I have outfitted it with everything I need to live comfortably on the road, I think she will be with me until I go to the great camping ground in the sky.