My Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ80 – The start
Since I can remember I wanted a vehicle in which I could cruise on the highway at comfortable speeds, take the family on vacations, have 4×4 capability, available in the Pre-Owned segment, have decent to good reliability, etc. Additionally I wanted a vehicle from the pre-owned segment.
So the vehicles in question were the either the Toyota Land Cruiser (TLC), Mitsubishi Pajero or the Suzuki Grand Vitara. I didn’t consider vehicle from either the Tata or the Mahindra & Mahindra stable as having already owned the Safari I wanted something more from the vehicle and if I bought something similar, I would have to take a hit of on the value of the vehicle, spend another big wad of cash and still stuck with the vehicle that I had for the past 3 years. Further as I mentioned didn’t want to buy new vehicle as the depreciation in the first couple of years is quite huge, so I decided if I buy pre-owned one the depreciation hit that I would take on my safari would be compensated to some extent on the pre-owned vehicle that I’d buy.
Now the problem was or is that there are not many available in the pre-owned segment and the ones that are, are not in that good a condition. The availability of the Pajero compared to the Toyota Land Cruiser is still better but to find a good vehicle read good condition, less abused and most importantly well cared for is still a matter of luck and chance. But anyways I was on the constant lookout and on the slightest chance I would talk to people who owned these vehicle and try to share their experiences.
So as I said that I was constantly looking for a vehicle I would also visit workshops and talk to the service advisors take their opinion on the cost of normal servicing, estimate of parts like suspension jobs, engine work, servicing etc. Further though I was eager to buy any one of the above three vehicle I was giving more weight to the diesel vehicles as I would be using the vehicle for highway and long distance driving, therefore having a diesel compared to a petrol would have obvious benefits. But as they say beggars can’t be choosers I was eager to grasp a low mileage GV anyday, had I found one.
Another thing is that there are not many threads on team-bhp on the above three vehicles, especially in the 4×4 section and which are updated regularly. The one that are very prominent and updated periodically are Sudev’s GV thread which practically I’ve read all the pages, Samurai’s GV thread, couple of thread on the Pajero the one that I remember and which is regularly updated is Ricky thread. But no thread or ownership experiences on the Toyota Land Cruiser.
EDIT: I remember there was this one thread on teambhp on the FJ80 started by IRAGHAVA but that was more of pics than actual ownership experience.
The search became even more pronounced since the day I sold my Gypsy. I think that this was in June 2010 and as I was eager to officiate in Raid de Himalayas 2010, but without vehicle no luck.
So as I said I would keep visiting workshops and get the opinion of people I visited this one workshop in Vasant Kunj where a friend of mine gets his Land Cruiser maintained. I went there with the intention of talking to the owner and getting his opinion on the stuff going on in my head. By this time I had decided that I would buy either the Pajero or hunt for a 80 series Land Cruiser. The owner told me that between the two the Land Cruiser would be more easy or same on the pocket as some parts are cheaper on the Land Cruiser than the Pajero and vice-versa. (now guys this his opinion only, I am just a novice sharing my thoughts and my experience on what I heard and learned) My policy is if you don’t know the vehicle then know the guy who maintains your vehicle and as my heart was always on the Land Cruiser I decided that this was it. I would buy the 80 series Toyota Land Cruiser only, howsoever long it takes I was ready to wait and was in no hurry. The guy assured me that in matter of sometime he would find a good conditioned, used vehicle. This was sometime in August 2010.
Since that day I started dreaming about Land Cruiser but the same old problem kept haunting me, NOT MANY AVAILABLE. I would scan the classified section everyday and as luck would have it. NOTHING.
So last weekend, I think it was the 27th of August I was roaming around with a dear friend, RENEGADE, and he just mentioned to me that there is this 80 series TLC for sale on teambhp classified. I said that it can’t be as I check it almost daily but he was adamant that there is one. I did a scan of the first few pages on my phone but dint find anything. I dint bother and dint think further about it. Next day Saturday when I logged on to Teambhp I again decided to see the SUV section, but this time I did a search ‘cruiser’ and found an advertisement for a 1996 Land Cruiser 80 4.2 Turbo Diesel for sale
As again luck would have it the advert was almost 16 months old and a hot commodity like this does not wait for that long. The owner would have sold the vehicle and forgotten to remove the advert from the site. My dream would remain a dream. These were the kind of thoughts that were going on in my mind.
But still I thought that I’d try my luck and call the owner. Then something struck me. The location city of the vehicle was Chennai and that where TRAMWAY(another dear friend from Team-bhp) lives too. I decided to call him and see if he knows this Team-bhpian REDONE (the guy who had posted the advertisement). I even remember the time it was between 9-10am. I called him and he was not familiar with the handel ‘REDONE’. But he assured me that he would speak to the owner and try to find out the details.
He dint call me for like 30 mins and by this time I was eagerly checking the signals on my phone and check the status of the battery so that it was not off or something
Next update tomorrow…
The advertisement has been removed from the site. I had copied the contents of the advertisement and they have been reproduced below.
Description: 1996 Dec, imported new to India in 1997.
I have run the last 30K kms without any issues. Very reliable and has go anywhere capabilities. Fully functional 4WD (Hi/Lo)
Some pictures of the vehicle as I saw it in the classified section of Team-bhp