After determining all the different requirements that we needed from a vehicle the Toyota LandCruiser troop carrier, or Troopy for short was pretty much the only vehicle that fit the bill. First of all it needed to be diesel for a number of reasons, we have heard that petrol in some of the areas that we will be travelling could be as low as 81 octane rating. Low enough to kill any modern engine in the extreme environments we will be encountering. Also the availability of diesel over petrol and the price. Not to mention the efficiency of a Diesel engine vs petrol. My trusty Patrol was as bad as 250km on a 90L tank when towing while pinging its head off on 91 octane fuel. This alone was reason enough to say good bye to the patrol. Secondly we needed something that had room enough to convert into a living quarters. This included room for a kitchen sleeping for two, water tanks and room for all out gear. This narrowed down the choice of vehicles dramatically because there are not a whole lot of vehicles out there that are big enough.
The vehicle also needed to be reliable, rugged, proven and common especially in the less travelled countries. The troopy literally is used as a troop carrier in much of Africa so could not be more suitable in this regard. Being a Toyota and sharing the motor and many other mechanical components with a variety of other model toyotas means that any spare parts should not be hard to find.
And finally but most importantly, it needed good offroad capabilities. No point in driving halfway across the world when you can only travel on half the roads you encounter. In some cases it will be more of a necessity than a luxury. Travelling through the wilds of Africa during the wet season without a capable vehicle will prove for a short or disastrous trip. So with all those requirements in mind the troopy really was the only vehicle that ticked all the boxes.
One thing that was going to be a problem, Troopies only come out in manual, I can only drive auto due to my disability so we either had to have one converted or try and get lucky by finding a decent one that had already been converted.
As it turned out, you could even call it fate, after a few weeks of searching we found a good ’94 model that had already been converted to auto. Further to that it had a decent aftermarket turbo system and loads of extras. The car was also immaculate for its age and the km travelled. It had 330 000km on the clock which is a lot for any other car but the troopies go for ever. It seemed really well looked after by the original owner with most of the work performed and recorded by himself in the service and warranty handbook.
It also turned out to be just around the corner from where I study, which is half way across Sydney. I decided to have a look at it on one of my lunch breaks. Firstly I wanted to measure it up to get the internal and external dimensions. Also to have a brief look over it mechanically to determine if it was worth any further consideration. We wanted to know the dimensions to be sure that we could fit it in a 20ft cargo and also to know what we had to work with on the interior of the vehicle.
It all looked pretty good, naturally there were some things that needed attention due to the age and km but all in all it was what we were expecting. We decided to come back one weekend for a test drive. After Jess saw it and we drove it it was pretty much a sale. We put a deposit down then came back a the following weekend to bring the old girl to her new home.
Check out our modification ‘to do’ list for an idea of what’s in store for the Beast: http://wp.me/p3HPsB-1H