Advice on choosing an older LC for touring camping / light overlanding.

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Hello all and straight off let me apologise for being another newbie asking what might be dumb questions again, please bear with me.

I am shortly going to be in the market for a 4x4 for light overlanding and touring and could do with some advice and opinions to narrow down model/year/engine choice.

The legendary reliability and capability of Toyota Land Cruisers has led me towards them rather than Land Rovers (also because I hate the LR Defenders driving position, I’d need to remove either the drivers door or my arm to drive one!).

I’m looking to do this on a skinny budget so am looking for the most car for the least money without it being a rust bucket that eats money. It’ll be bought and built up a bit at a time while being a daily driver rather funded all in one big project in one go. I’d love a big 70-series Troopie camper or an 80-series world-crosser like others have done but they seem to be getting rare and/or expensive to find one that’s not rotted out or costing a fortune in the UK. So I’m wondering what folks think of building a rig based on one of the smaller engined Prado / Colorado models (either a pre-02 J90 or pre-96 J70) as my main criteria are:

  • Minimum “bad-road capable” – as I’m not likely to be doing anything too extreme or going too far off the beaten track to require serious technical off-road capability.
  • Minimal to no “mission critical” electronics – I’m getting sick of electronical gremlins in modern cars and am planning to learn how to diagnose and repair the vehicle myself beyond my current “I know what it does but I’ll be buggered if I can remember the technical name for it!” basic knowledge.
  • Economical (as much as possible) on fuel – I don’t mind slow but I’d like it not to be a big drinker to minimise fill-up costs and maximise range which led me to wonder about the smaller Hilux based engines in the Prado / Colorado.

What does the collective mind here think about narrowing down year/engine choice for a suitable lighter duty LC? Does the J90 have too many electronics to make it reliable and bush-mechanic repairable? Is a J70 Prado / J70 Light going to be either too old and busted or (if in good nick) too much of a collectors car now to suit a low budget?



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