How it all began.
Perth, WA, October 2010: A total 4WD newbie, starting out on a 13-month work and travel holiday in Australia having no plan – that was me, Tobi, ’87 model. Despite the non-existence of a plan one thing was clear: that a car would need to be found. In the beginning, my heart was set on a Land Rover Defender. As it turns out however, these “masterpieces” of British engineering are not easy to find Down Under, in fact, they are almost impossible to find – especially if you are after a used one. With this realisation, so began my search, in that most remote of metropolises, for the perfect car that would take me on a journey of discovery around this wild and beautiful continent.
As a 4WD newbie you have to be careful not to get talked into making misguided decisions: after trying out many makes & models, including a Lada Niva, a Nissan Pathfinder, and some pathetic Suzuki 4×4 that actually broke down during the test drive, I was starting to get frustrated. This wasn’t helped by one unscrupulous salesmans attempt to con me into leasing a Ford Freelander (really?!)
After some time, I became a bit more savvy: figured out the right questions to ask, and how to spot a competent dealer. Now I knew I was looking for a “rough as f***” (as the Aussies are fond of saying) diesel that wouldn’t leave me stranded in the Outback. The first to catch my eye was a beautifully looked after Ford Maverick. Unfortunately AU$ 7.000 were out of the question, however, through the 4WD grapevine, I discovered that Nissan build the exact same car, for a much more reasonable price.
What happened next.
After leaving KK and Australia behind in December 2011, I started a marketing job in southern Germany near Nuremberg. This particular area of Germany offers a lot of beautiful nature, but is also not all to far from the Alps – a paradise not only for hikers and winter-sport freaks but also for 4WD enthusiasts. It did not take long for me to yearn for 4WDriving yet again. First, I started looking at Patrols, but soon found that there was something even better: the Toyota LandCruiser HZJ 76.
Some say it is crazy to drive a car that big, that fuel-consuming in Europe, where space is limited and fuel prizes are high. Among 4WD enthusiasts – especially in Europe – it is commonly agreed that these cars are not simply a means of transport, but a hobby, a passion. The possibilities that come with them are endless. Going anywhere, camping within the most beautiful and untouched nature, experiencing the feeling of true freedom are only some of the many advantages a true 4×4 like the LandCruiser can provide.