You won’t spot many 70-series Toyota Land Cruisers on UK roads, but venture beyond Europe’s borders and this tough-as-old-boots workhorse is the go-to machine for those operating in harsh environments.
Australasia is one of the strongholds, along with South Africa, the Middle East and South America, where it can be found working anywhere from a farm to an oil field.
Key features are a V8-diesel engine that develops up to 268hp, a five-speed manual transmission, part-time four-wheel drive system with locking front and rear axle diffs, a 3.5t towing capacity and 1.4t payload.
See also: Tips for buying a second-hand pickup: Toyota Hilux
Tight UK emissions rules mean it isn’t available to buy here, save for a few examples that have been brought in by keen individuals willing to put in the effort.
Toyota Land Cruiser 79-series specs
However, thanks to a tie-up between a Land Cruiser importer and an overland vehicle specialist in Wiltshire, the process of buying and running one has been made considerably simpler.
Rowlands and Hordon Automotive Solutions takes on the job of sourcing the vehicle and getting it into the country, while RH and IR Cradock prepares it for UK roads, carries out any modifications the customer wants and maintains it in the future.
Watch a short clip of the Land Cruiser in action and read the rest of the report below.
What is available?
The 70 series is available as a five-door station wagon, three-door troop carrier and single- or double-cab pickup.
Each variant has its own series number, with the station wagons referred to as the 76 series, the troop carrier as the 78 series and the pickups as the 79 series.
The double-cab pickups are available in two standard specifications, starting with the simple Workmate that features steel wheels and rudimentary dash.
GXL versions are blessed with a few more trinkets, such as a rev counter, alloy wheels, flared wheel arches, front and rear axle diff-locks and occasionally a front winch bumper.
If that’s still a little basic for your liking, there’s a vast array of aftermarket equipment available to get the spec just so.
Prices vary according to exchange rates and import duty, but as a rough guide, single-cab pickups range from £36,000-£40,000 in left-hand drive and £45,000-£55,000 in right-hand drive.
Double cabs are a little pricier, ranging from £37,000-£41,000 in left-hand drive and £48,000-£58,000 in right-hand drive.
All pickup models are classed as commercial vehicles, which means they’re subject to the flat road tax rate of £265/year.
The fact the trucks are grey imports means they don’t come with a manufacturer warranty.
However, RH and IR Cradock can source all of the parts and carry out any work that is required.
For those looking to spend less, it is possible to import and modify used trucks.
Buyers that are happy with a standard vehicle can approach either Rowlands and Hordon Automotive Solutions or RH and IR Cradock and the price will be the same.
However, those that are looking for upgrades and ongoing support are best going through the Cradock business, which is run by Ian, Joanne, Benjy and Ashley Cradock.
Once the vehicle arrives in the country, it is adapted to meet UK road regulations and goes through UK Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) testing before a V5 registration certificate is issued.
The Cradocks will then carry out any modifications that are required.
This can be as simple as waxing the chassis to protect against corrosion, through to major component upgrades.
The pickup pictured was commissioned by Hertfordshire-based Pursley Plant Hire and started out as a standard truck imported from Dubai, before receiving extensive modifications.
At the front, the stock suspension was replaced with Ironman coils and large-bore shock absorbers that give a 2in lift.
The original rear leaf springs were also upgraded to smoother-riding Terrain Tamer parabolic springs, which were teamed with Boss air bags to help correct the ride height when carrying or towing heavy loads.
One of the toolboxes was fitted with a 12V twin air compressor plumbed into a 2gal tank with gauges and a switch for the rear air bags.
A stainless-steel 3in custom exhaust system was also fabricated to the customer’s design.
All of these parts were built or sourced by Benjy Cradock under his own brand NBF Bespoke.
Final exterior touches include an Ironman 4×4 winch bumper with LED spotlights and alloy wheels shod with Cooper STT Pro mud terrain tyres.
A Tunit chip was also fitted to boost power by 45hp and improve the torque curve.
As for the interior, the original bench was replaced with a pair of leather Recaro sports seats and the rears were reupholstered to match.
A centre cubby box, overhead roof storage and door pockets with speaker pods were also added.
These were all Cruiser Consoles products, which were specially imported from Australia.
Finally, it was treated to some upgraded speakers and an Apple Car Play head unit.
*All prices are exclusive of VAT