Few vehicles are as capable off road as the Toyota Landcruiser, but could Mike and Elvis transform this one?
What do you do when you can’t find the right Toyota in the UK? Look to Japan, of course, which is exactly what Mike did when he bagged this brilliant classic off-roader. Costing just over £20,000 after shipping, had he bought a good one?
It certainly looked good when it arrived at the workshop almost two months later, and while there was some cosmetic stuff to tackle – including the odd spot of rust – the interior was wonderfully original. A quick test drive showed that it drove well, too.
A highpoint was the factory-fitted winch so the first job for Elvis was to see if it worked. It didn’t, so it was time to get underneath for a closer look. The PTO (power take-off) from the engine wasn’t operating but the ace mechanic soon identified problems with the mechanism, including worn bushes and a broken cable.
Mike headed off to see Chris at Cable Tec to get a new cable made, and in the meantime the roof was removed so Elvis could tackle the corrosion affecting the rain gutter. With no chance of obtaining a replacement part, the answer was to cut out the rusty metal and fabricate a new section. It fitted perfectly.
The new operating cable for the winch cost just £120, and after Elvis had spent time on the lathe making new bushes – he chose to use more hard-wearing phosphor bronze rather than brass – this vital piece of equipment was back to full working order.
The roof was sent away to be painted and the bodywork would also benefit from being tidied up and polished, but before that Elvis spotted another problem. The ‘FD’ knob on the dashboard that engaged the front-wheel drive system wasn’t working so investigation was needed. Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing more than perished rubber vacuum hoses and with those replaced the four-wheel drive system was soon working as it should.
It was just in time because Mike had a very special test drive lined up, and that meant a trip to Scotland to put this capable 4×4 through its paces. The Landcruiser performed brilliantly in the challenging terrain, and that winch came in handy! It was a great result, and all that was left was to find a new owner.
The transformation of the characterful Toyota had resulted in a final bill of £22,790, but would potential buyer, Chloe, be prepared to pay the £27,500 asking price? Not quite, but after a bit of negotiation it was hers for £26,000 meaning a tidy profit and another great classic returned to the road.
Mike says: “Sometimes you have to look further afield if the car you’re hunting doesn’t appear for nearly 20 years! I almost gave up the chase looking for a Toyota BJ40, but I turned to an online service in Japan that handle the buying and shipping into the UK.
“It’s always a bit nerving when you trust somebody else to spend your money, but I was delighted with the result. In general Japanese folk tend to look after their cars really well.
“Elvis was thrilled to have this BJ in our workshop, and although the main roof repair was a bit tricky. We still managed to pull it off.
“Simple things like having the winch mechanism rebuilt really highlights that the UK is thriving when it comes to small independent workshops that keep the classic car movement going.
“The test drive at the end has been one of our favourites, heading to Queen Victoria‘s favourite spot in the Cairngorms Scotland was a real treat, and a proper test of the car. Of course, we had no trouble with the Toyota, and it proved itself to be a proper little star. See you next week.”
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