1988 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ62

Standard

“You’re buying a what?” My logical and risk-averse father asked me in a mild panic.
“A 1988 Land Cruiser”
“Did I hear you right? It has three hundred and ninety thousand kilometres on the clock?” He cried
“Yes” I said calmly.
“But why?” He asked.
“Because it’s the best car in the world”
Okay, so that may be stretching it a bit. The best car in the world is one of the Ferrari La Ferrari, Porsche 918 or McLaren P1. Top Gear was going to find out which but that looks highly doubtful given their recent fracases. So in the absence of that information, I’m going to stick with my original assessment. The best car in the world is a 1988 Land Cruiser, more specifically, my 1988 Land Cruiser with its three hundred and ninety thousand kilometres on the clock.

Old cars are generally written off as being unsafe, uncomfortable and unkind to the environment. I will now refute each of these in respect of the Land Cruiser.

Unsafe – Sure your new BMW may have satellite navigation and twenty airbags, and a whole whack of abbreviated technological marvels to keep you from killing yourself, but, I ask you, if you get stuck on a muddy hill whilst trying to escape from a marauding troupe of bloodthirsty, slow, zombie Greenpeace activists, will it get you to safety? No it won’t. You’ll get stuck and they will eat your brain as long it is organic and pesticide free. The Land Cruiser will get out of there with no trouble at all. It is renowned for being able to go anywhere, and back, no matter what gets thrown at it. The zombie Greenpeace activists wouldn’t stand a chance.

As for speed, they all say speed kills! My 1988 Land Cruiser maxes out at about 105 downhill on the freeway with your foot flat after taking a good fifteen minutes to get up to speed. It’s not fast, so speed won’t be able to kill you.

Uncomfortable – It just isn’t.

Unkind to the environment – New cars have to be manufactured, obviously, and to do that the car companies use energy. The raw materials for the new cars, need to be transported all over the world by heavy ships that dump all sorts of pollution into the air and water, then by diesel trucks from the harbours to factories, then by truck again from the parts factories after being processed into the form required, to the assembly plants, where more energy is consumed in the form of electricity, gas and water when the parts and raw materials get assembled into cars. I could go on but you’re probably getting bored. The Old Land Cruiser has long since paid back its environmental dues. Your new Renault Dustbuster will take a hundred years to do that, especially since it isn’t really designed to last more than 10 years and has lots of plastic in it. The Land Cruiser will still be going strong in 2035.

I love the old Land Cruiser; it is tough, reliable and cooler than Samuel L Jackson with an eye-patch. I wouldn’t swop it for anything… I love the noise the straight six truck motors makes, the mechanical feel of the gear change. I love chugging up and down rocky, muddy roads in low range. I love that it is one of very few cars in the world that can actually look cool in brown. I love that there are models out there with more than a million kilometres on the clock that are still going strong.

Buying a car is not a logical process for most people. If they’re anything like me it is an emotive one. I get swept away by the choice, the possibility, the places the car can go and the stories that it can become a part of. It’s why I’ll never buy a new Hyundai sedan or hatchback (unless they do a 300kw fire breathing rally version).

We spend so much time in our cars, driving here and there, dropping kids off, going to work, shopping, going on holiday, visiting friends and family and escaping from zombie Greenpeace activists. Why would you want to spend all that time in a Honda Brio or a Hyundai i10 when for the same price you can get a used 5.7l hemi Jeep Grand Cherokee or an older model Mercedes CL500?

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