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Old 5th September 2016, 00:57   #1
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Default Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series

For the last couple of years, my garage was occupied with two lovely beasts. One is a competent tourer and a no-nonsense 4WD that had taken me wherever I needed, whenever I needed and brought me back as well. The other was a not-so-reliable-yet-quite-fun-to-drive type 4WD that was a guaranteed head-turner. No points for guessing which one is the Fortuner and which one is the Thar, they were a great combination to own.

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc9.jpg

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc10.jpg

For those who have been following my Thar (A Biker to a Jeeper - Mahindra Thar Crde) thread, you'd know that I let go of the awesome machine earlier this year. It was a pretty hard decision to make, but I couldn’t justify three 4WDs in the house, so the Thar had to go. But with every cloud there’s a silver lining, and surely this story had one too.

Flashback to the early twentieth century – I have always adored the Land Cruisers for their overlanding capabilities and wished to have one in my garage someday.

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc20.jpg
Pic Courtesy: Respective Owner

But then deep down I had made peace that it may not happen in this lifetime. After the Thar got me hooked on to the pleasures and pains of 4-wheeling, the flame was reignited. I had been thinking of the 80-series for little more than a year but never did a serious effort to buy one. Then came the NGT with the 10/15 year bans and the idea was put to rest in my head.

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc22.jpg

The Thar was an awesome tool to have in the garage. It helped to release all my built-up energy on the trails, got me a superb bunch of friends and also got me home safely after the events. It had undergone a decent amount of transformation to make it not only a capable offroad vehicle but also a good cruiser for short family trips. A few things were still remaining on my list – a hardtop with external rollcage, suspension upgrades and engine performance mods. However, somewhere down the line I wasn’t very sure if I wanted to take it all that far. The inside space used to fall short even for our overnight trips and there was a need being created for a bigger camping vehicle that could offroad too!

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc21.jpg

Somewhere in mid of December 2015, a friend called up asking if I was still on the lookout for the LandCruiser. I had checked on a couple of LCs before but never got serious about it. I thought this one wasn’t going to be any different, there was no harm in saying a yes. The next day he called again and said that there was one LC available in Hyderabad and he had spoken to the guy about my interest. The price was open to negotiation and I could give it a try. He sent me pictures of the car and it was pretty much what I was looking for!

Last edited by amolpol : 5th September 2016 at 09:15.
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Old 5th September 2016, 09:26   #2
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Default The Mother Ship: Legendary LandCruiser 80 Series

Now what exactly were my requirements:

1.It had to be a 80-series or 105-series – solid axle at the front is a must
2.It has to be a simple car – no frills
3.Manual transmission – no auto boxes
4.Clean papers with import history – KA registration would’ve been preferred due to tax implications
5.1HDT engine would be good to have – but the 1HZ non-turbo would just do fine
6.Barn doors at the back will be a very big plus point – I simply loved the Nissan Patrols for this!
7.Car had to be mechanically okay – I wasn’t kicked about doing a grounds up restoration etc

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc11.jpg
Pic Courtesy: Respective Owner

On the first glance, the car ticked most of the boxes including the one about the barn doors. Yes, I was pretty kicked about this right from the start!

A couple of calls later, we had discussed that let’s at least take a look at the vehicle if not buy it. That meant going to Hyderabad for a test drive. Now, I was headed to Nagpur for a week long vacation and so the timing was nearly perfect. It was decided that I will take a quick stopover at Hyderabad on my way back and inspect the car.

The vacation was pretty hectic with the jungle safari schedules, but it was rewarding as well. We had some awesome tiger sightings at the lesser known parks around Nagpur. Soon, the day arrived for us to head back home, and I must confess that I’ve never been so excited about finishing a holiday ever before. At about noon, we were in Hyderabad and I had spoken to the guy on the meeting place etc. The excitement was now building up!

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc3.jpg

While we were waiting for him to arrive, I saw this nice looking desert tan colored vehicle appear in the rear view mirror – it was like love at first sight. I couldn’t stop smiling – I told my wife that this may be the one!

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc181.jpg

The next couple of hours went in checking out the vehicle, test driving it, or just looking at it. My wife drove it too and gave her nod, this was a very important moment since that meant that I could now officially engage in the financial discussions to take it forward. Agreeing on a price wasn’t a very difficult conversation, I was already sold on it. I even offered to do a partial payment and take immediate delivery but then held myself back since there were a couple of errors in the RC card that needed to be rectified.

Last edited by amolpol : 5th September 2016 at 09:30.
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Old 5th September 2016, 09:41   #3
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Default The Mother Ship: Legendary LandCruiser 80 Series

To conclude my visit, I ended up paying a booking amount to buy my first Land Cruiser 80 Series. Now it was for the seller to make sure that the RC was duly updated with the correct details before the final deal.

A quick background on the car

1. This was originally imported by the US Consulate, it was later transferred to the US Embassy in Hyderabad
2. The US Embassy held a public auction where it was bought by the seller not very long ago
3. All papers existed – right from the time it was imported until date. It was a TS registration and that meant I’d have to pay tax in KA.
4. It was the standard base version of the LC with absolutely no frills – not even power windows or bucket seats at the front
5. The engine sounded quite healthy for the age, but the clutch was clearly showing signs of wear and needed replacement
6. The car is still in the original paint and I just love the beige
7. It is a 4.2 liter 6-cylinder non-turbo 1HZ with about 130 horses at the time it was new – not sure how many of those horses are still alive but it has enough grunt
8. The seller had gotten a few things done after it was bought from the embassy – brakes, AC, headlamps, front windshield, seat covers, alloys etc. So this was in no way a neglected vehicle.
9. The odo was about 220k kms which sounded quite realistic for the age of the vehicle
10. The 4WD on the vehicle was working in 4H but not in 4L. The shifter won’t engage to 4L at all.

We never had the plan to buy a third car, since that would mean that one of the cars will always be used less and eventually become use-less. So if the LC was incoming, the Thar had to be outgoing. On our way back from Hyderabad I just put up the proposal to sell my Thar and I got a couple of responses in less than 15 mins. Before I had even reached home, the Thar was sold in principle!

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc2.jpg

It took a couple of weeks before the RC was updated and the delivery date was finalized. I wanted to make sure I had a recovery vehicle in case of a breakdown while driving it down from Hyderabad to Bangalore. So it was decided that four of us (its good to have crazy friends) will take the Fortuner and then drive back with the LC.

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc191.jpg

On the D-day we left Bangalore pretty early in the morning and were in Hyderabad for breakfast. Upon meeting the seller, we inspected the vehicle one more time and then waited till the bank transaction was completed. Lunch was at the famous Paradise biryani place and soon we were on our way home.

Initially I was a bit skeptical about running the LC in triple digit speeds, but soon it was evident that the car actually calms down and can run like that the whole day without breaking sweat. The grunt of the 6-cylinder engine is nice, especially since the engine is quite loud and can be heard inside the cabin if no music is playing. It likes you to be heavy-footed and will encourage you to push more each time you press the throttle. The return journey was uneventful from a breakdown standpoint, but it was quite exciting otherwise. The unfamiliar looks and the monstrous size raises a lot of curious eyebrows wherever it goes.

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc1.jpg
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Old 5th September 2016, 10:17   #4
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Default The Mother Ship: Legendary LandCruiser 80 Series

Right after I got it home, the official travels kept me busy for quite a few weeks and I couldn’t get to experience it much. By this time, I had already made a list of upgrades that were to be done and all that my wife wanted to know was when will the car be finally ready. Took a lot of courage and patience to make her understand that the LC was a timeless project the upgrades could go on for a while!

As the first batch of upgrades, the focus was on functionality over form and hence the shortlisted upgrades were:

1. 4-inch lift kit from ARB
2. Safari Snorkel
3. Air lockers for the rear with the compressor
4. Steel Wheels
5. 33-inch Maxxis Bighorns
6. IPF Lights
7. Music System
8. Central locking

It was sometime in February that the order was placed with ARB for the items in the above list but it was going to be another 2 months for the kit to arrive. It was now time for the music system upgrade to be done. The original idea was to shift the music system from the Thar to the LC and with that in mind I asked my wife to drive the Thar to Auto Shop for the exchange. Looking at the Thar in the rearview mirror, I started having second thoughts about selling it. My daughter, Pozu, also was pretty attached to the Jeep and she put some strong arguments in favor of retaining the Thar too. By the time we reached Auto Shop, I had changed my mind of selling the Thar and I called up my friend to let him know that I may not sell it. Took me about a week to get back to my senses and stay with the decision to sell the Jeep, which I did finally!

Now coming to the music system, it was decided that the system from the Jeep was not going to be transferred over. That opened up a good range of possibilities for the setup to be equal or better than what I had in the Fortuner.

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc131.jpg

The final configuration looked something like this:

1. Head unit: Pioneer 5890BT
2. Front Components: Ground Zero
3. Rear 6x9 Coaxials: Ground Zero
4. Subwoofer: Infiniti Reference
5. Mono Amp: JBL
6. 4-ch Amp: Blaupunkt
7. Damping: All doors

I can’t seem to find the exact model numbers, but will try to update them here once I get hold of the information. I must say that I’m pretty impressed with the head-unit and the front components, a very nice SQ focused setup.

After the music was sorted out, the project went into a slumber since the clutch pedal gave up one day. Since this was the first part sourcing that I was doing, I checked a few places and then finally placed an order in Dubai to source the full clutch kit. Although buying the kit was easy, getting it to India was a bit challenging because of logistical reasons and this delayed my plans by almost a month or more. But it was okay since I was also traveling most of the times and the car would’ve been standing in the basement anyway.

After about a couple of months since it went into hibernation, the new clutch was finally installed and it ran like new. But this was only a short-lived victory since there was a leakage on the hose that connects to the power steering reservoir and it took another couple of weeks to get that sorted. Finally, some time in June, the car was back in running condition and it was now ready to visit the RTO for the transfer formalities. I had paid the tax in March itself to avoid any issues with the RTO and getting the transfer done was a breeze.

By this time it was already July and the ARB stuff that I had ordered back in February had finally reached India. Don’t ask me why it took so long to get here, but it did. Anyway, this was still a good timing since I had finished all RTO formalities and the upgrades could begin.

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc6.jpg

A couple of days later, I took delivery of a monster. What used to be a humble car had now transformed into a supernatural being. The sheer presence of it causes a lot of head-turns and driving it creates a feeling that you're above all the mortals on the road. The only problem it created was that my wife and daughter can no longer climb in and out of the car easily.

I'm glad that it's turning out to be exactly how I imagined it to be! It's probably 50% complete at this stage and the next round of upgrades are on hold because of other priorities for now.
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Old 5th September 2016, 10:50   #5
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Default The Mother Ship: Legendary LandCruiser 80 Series

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc4.jpg

What I like about the LC80:

1. Acres of space inside – you can practically live in it
2. The engine grunt is awesome – no turbo and no turbo-lag to worry about
3. Awesome off-road capability – will take on any terrain
4. Rock solid build quality by Toyota – these are undoubtedly over-engineered cars
5. Overall retro feel inside the car with the low back seating and the dash console of the 90s
6. No electronics apart from the stereo – no ECU, no ABS, no Airbags (perfect for offroad use)
7. Ride quality was better than the Tfort even with a 19-year old stock suspension. With the ARB, it is now equal to the Tfort for onroad use, but quite awesome offroad
8. Visibility is awesome on all sides with the glass all around, low seats and minimal block by the pillars
9. Everything pretty much works even after 19 years – including the dash clock

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc7.jpg

What would I want to change:

1. Seat Covers – the current ones are a bit suede type and aren’t very friendly to slide in and out. They’re new and look nice though.
2. Side Mirrors – they’re not adjustable and have lived their life pretty much
3. Interior Lights – they’re working but not as bright as needed
4. Headlamps – the sealed beams are new but they’re pretty much useless. I can’t even change the bulbs to a higher power halogen unless I change the whole insert
5. No intermittent wipers – wish there is an easy hack for this
6. Interior carpeting and panels – needs an overhaul but can live with it for now
7. Leather wrap on the steering – probably do this along with the seats
8. Seats – I might look at upgrading to all 4 captain seats from the innova but not decided yet
9. Fender Flares – need the OE looking panels for this, no aftermarket ones
10. Dual A/C – would have been a good to have, but this may not be a priority

Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series-lc23.jpg

Now for the future upgrades:

1. Front Bumper
2. Rock Sliders
3. Rear Bumper with tire carrier
4. Roof rack + Awning
5. Roof Top Tent
6. Hilift Jack + Mount
7. 10,000 lbs Winch
8. Dual Battery Management
9. Rear Drawer + Storage sytem
10.Side Rear View Mirrors
11.Seats / Seat Covers
12.IPF Headlight inserts or new headlight with bulbs
13.Light Bar(s)
14.OE Fender Flares (body colored)

Phew! The list just keeps growing every week

Last edited by amolpol : 5th September 2016 at 10:53.
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Old 5th September 2016, 11:23   #6
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Default re: Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series

Thread moved to the 4x4 Vehicles section.

amolpol, that's a well maintained vehicle you got there! The mods, specially the lift kit and those wheels have completely transformed the vehicle!
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Old 5th September 2016, 11:52   #7
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Default re: Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series

Awesome vehicle Amol! Please keep the thread updated regularly.
It is wonderful to read ownership reports of LC80s.
By the way, where are you getting the work done on the LC?

Last edited by starter : 5th September 2016 at 11:55.
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Old 5th September 2016, 12:12   #8
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Wow! That's an awesome find. The LC80 & LC100 happen to be my favorite Landcruisers.

Around 2006-07, There was a service center near our house in Bahrain. A silver fully loaded 4.5L LC80 used to visit that place for regular servicing. Once when my dad's car was getting serviced I saw this LC and was shocked to find the ODO done 8L+ kms. The engine was untouched. The owner used to regularly travel across GCC.

Landcruiser definitely feels like the king of the road. More so with the 100&80 series. Congratulations on buying a legendary SUV. Wishing you happy miles with the LC!

Asit
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Old 5th September 2016, 12:22   #9
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Default re: Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series

I have only one question, how to climb in this vehicle!
It would be a pain to your wife and kid to get into this monster. Any other way to make it easy?
Congrats for your LC.
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Old 5th September 2016, 14:32   #10
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Default re: Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series

Good you found the time to document this Amol. Wish you many years of off-roading and overlanding with the LC80!

Reading through it, I was reminded of the crazy drive we did to Hyderabad to bring the Mothership home clap
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Old 5th September 2016, 14:56   #11
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Default Re: The Mother Ship: Legendary LandCruiser 80 Series

Congrats Amol, That's a handsome beast you've got there mate. I did see your facebook post couple of months back when you brought her home and was eagerly waiting for the ownership thread.

One request - Would you post some pictures of the interior please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
...sell my Thar and I got a couple of responses in less than 15 mins. Before I had even reached home, the Thar was sold in principle!
You don't say! I would've been one of those "responses" if I had known
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Old 5th September 2016, 15:32   #12
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Default re: Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series

Lovely vehicle. Beautiful Desert Tan/ Beige Colour. Just like those Sahar Expedition vehicles.
On a recent trip exploring the Wadis and stuff in Jordan I saw lots of these Toyota big monsters in the same shade. They look just perfect for that kind of setting.

Even the Jordanian Army use these Toyotas in the same shade, with some deadly looking roof mounted machine guns of course!

I get dreams of these types of vehicles, like those old Willys MB's painted in Desert Tan/ beige and which were a part of the WW2 Long Range Desert Group and the SAS.

Lovely things. These Toyotas can go on and on forever I think!
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Old 5th September 2016, 21:57   #13
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Default Re: Ownership Report: The Legendary Toyota LandCruiser 80 Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by starter View Post
By the way, where are you getting the work done on the LC?
There are a few options to get the work done here in B'lore. One of them is Prabhakar - he's good but you have to be flexible to get work done from him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asit.kulkarni93 View Post
Congratulations on buying a legendary SUV. Wishing you happy miles with the LC!

Asit
Thank you Asit. You're right, the LCs can take a few hundred thousand KMs without any issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
I have only one question, how to climb in this vehicle!
It would be a pain to your wife and kid to get into this monster. Any other way to make it easy?
Congrats for your LC.
Well, getting in and out is a bit troublesome for them. I am planning to get a set of rock sliders done which should make it a bit easier to climb in. It is about 2 feet or a bit more to climb in and my daughter actually pulls herself up using the center seat belt at the front.

Quote:
Originally Posted by S@~+#0$# View Post
Reading through it, I was reminded of the crazy drive we did to Hyderabad to bring the Mothership home
It wouldn't have been possible without you guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nerd1200 View Post
One request - Would you post some pictures of the interior please?
Thanks mate, I had some interior pictures on the phone which were lost. Will try to get another set of pics to post here. I do think the interiors deserve a separate post by itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Lovely vehicle. Beautiful Desert Tan/ Beige Colour. Just like those Sahar Expedition vehicles.

Lovely things. These Toyotas can go on and on forever I think!
Thanks Shankar, a couple of folks had asked me whether I was going to consider changing the color. And each time my response has been a frowning NO, I just love the shade.
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Old 5th September 2016, 22:10   #14
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Default Re: The Mother Ship: Legendary LandCruiser 80 Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post

Phew! The list just keeps growing every week
Incredible story of an amazing vehicle, backed up by your usual jaw-dropping photos

Sorry to be like this, but I am really curious about how you coached / cajoled / convinced your wife to sanction ever increasing amounts for your passion. I'm sure your skills in this domain (notwithstanding your exploits in photography, offroad / onroad driving , motorcycling) will be of great use to man-kind at large!
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Old 6th September 2016, 04:31   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
The stock car is what I love best. So clean and simple the lines are. Completely no nonsense and functional.
The Go anywhere DNA just shrieks at you, even at stand still.
I am reminded powerfully of an old Desmond Bagley book called Flyaway which features an adventure set in the Maghreb, Algeria, Niger, the Sahar and the Rub Al Khali, involving a Toyota Landcruiser amongst other things...

Name:  ImageUploadedByTeamBHP1473116556.708976.jpg
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Size:  341.7 KB

See this one...an old gen Toyota in a similar shade...in a desert setting...Wadi Rum.Jordan.

Last edited by GTO : 6th September 2016 at 15:41. Reason: Merging back to back posts
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