Should I accept a free 1974 Toyota Landcruiser?
August 30, 2019 10:28 AM   Subscribe

A friend has offered me a 1974 Land Cruiser. All I have to do is get it home from 500 miles away. Is there anything particularly tricky about that vintage Landcruiser, or should it be fairly straightforward to make roadworthy?

I am retiring soon and will have the time. I am handy and have access to a well equipped garage. Welding is on my list of skills to acquire.

Per my friend "Solid chassis and drivetrain, it has run relatively recently and probably still does, the body is rough in spots."
posted by donpardo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes.
posted by papayaninja at 10:29 AM on August 30, 2019 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Accept the offer.
posted by AugustWest at 10:33 AM on August 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Do it!
posted by zippy at 10:36 AM on August 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: They're well known for being practically indestructable. I've seen them all over the Sahara. I'd take it.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:38 AM on August 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I had an old Land Cruiser. The availability of after market parts is really impressive. Whatever you need to fix, you will be able to.
posted by Quonab at 10:40 AM on August 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Take it yes if it is something you are interested in but avoid if you wouldn't otherwise spend $1000 on a project.

Re driving it home: A lot is going to depend on how well it was maintained and how long it was sitting. Stuff like brakes, clutch, tires or anything made of rubber can go bad just from sitting.

If it was me and the truck had been sitting for a while (a year?) for such a distance or had very few miles in the last decade I'd rent a trailer (and a truck if necessary) and trailer it home. I've done this a few times with U-Haul using their in town rate for a trailer. Cheap to avoid a blow out or brake failure (or even a bad carb or fuel pump, the truck is pretty old, part availablity is going to be spotty on the road) on the way home.
posted by Mitheral at 10:40 AM on August 30, 2019 [11 favorites]

Response by poster: Well, that all seems pretty definitive. Thanks everyone!
posted by donpardo at 10:47 AM on August 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: They are pretty amazing vehicles.

If your travel takes you through Colorado, a visit to Land Cruiser mecca and body parts might be in order:
posted by nickggully at 10:48 AM on August 30, 2019 [6 favorites]

Worst case scenario just rent a Uhaul 4-wheel car hauler and rent/borrow a truck to pull it. That's how I got a VW Convertible across one state and into my back yard. Now the wisdom of said action in my case may be an order of magnitude less than in yours but, whatever, it wasn't a bad way to do it with more assurance than attempting to get said vehicle into road-worthy state after being parked for 20 years.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:17 AM on August 30, 2019

Yes! What great timing for you. If you're of a mind to, please document the restoration process (with tyro welder adventures) and post it to Projects.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:35 AM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I involuntarily said "YES" at my desk but hopefully everyone thinks I'm on the phone.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:52 AM on August 30, 2019 [8 favorites]

No. This car is not free (insurance, registration, tests, gas, etc.), high clearance vehicles are significantly more dangerous to other road users (especially pedestrians), old cars are less fuel efficient, and the planet is dying.

(This is glib. There's of course way more to it than this, and it's a great car, but I wanted to provide an alternative perspective.)
posted by caek at 12:00 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

My vote if you really want opinions? That thing gets like 10 mpg. Bad fuel efficiency = bad for the climate. Why not let that car go ahead and rest in peace?

A really cool tinkering retirement project would be to try to take your house off the electric grid. :) Learn about batteries, compare solar hot water to solar electric, get the right kind of batteries hooked up, get your appliances all high efficiency and on timers and such, maybe install some ambient floor heating...

Or revive something fuel efficient like I don't know, an old Toyota?
posted by salvia at 12:39 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't drive it 500 miles without checking all the wheel and steering bearings are properly greased. But apart from that, why not? For expeditions, at least.
posted by ambrosen at 12:48 PM on August 30, 2019

Or revive something fuel efficient like I don't know, an old Toyota?

Isn’t OP asking about.... an old Toyota?
posted by amro at 12:51 PM on August 30, 2019 [21 favorites]

Heck yes
posted by sallybrown at 1:13 PM on August 30, 2019

Restored that will be incredibly cool to tool around in, go for it!
posted by sammyo at 1:17 PM on August 30, 2019

Isn’t OP asking about.... an old Toyota?

Oh, ha, yes! I was picturing the old Toyota pickups which get more like 20 mpg.
posted by salvia at 1:34 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would say YES in a heartbeat. But. The gorgeous, vintage bicycle I got as a freebie is by a big margin the most expensive bike I own. And cars are a lot more expensive than bikes.
posted by Caxton1476 at 2:25 PM on August 30, 2019

Response by poster: Just to put this to rest - this won't be a daily driver. I've got my sturdy 2007 Honda Fit for that. This is just a project that ends up with a restored car that I can drive to the mountains and some new skills under my belt.

And I will tow it here.
posted by donpardo at 2:31 PM on August 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'm going to dissent with the crowd here and say that you should definitely say "no." Then please PM me your friend's details so I can take it off his hands kthxbai.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:37 PM on August 30, 2019 [15 favorites]

Best answer: (In my estimation this is the perfect project car, I helped a buddy rebuild his from the screws up back in HS and I remember being shocked at how simple it was to disassemble / clean-fix / reassemble using roughly 75% less unique tools than would have been required to do the same for my '94 Honda Civic.)
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:42 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's a pretty funny book called "Malaria Dreams" about a guy that's hired to drive a Land Rover back from Africa (CAR) to England, and iirc, he's unable to get the Land Rover, as it's been appropriated by local officials, and ends up getting a Toyota Land Cruiser and driving that back instead. Or, to make a long story short, another vote for YES Land Cruiser!
posted by smcameron at 8:42 PM on August 30, 2019

If you are worried about the fuel use you could look into doing a veg oil conversion. A quick google led me here, which is just one random post on a whole forum about land cruisers and the different conversions people do to them.
posted by nat at 2:23 PM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes, and until you pick it up, familiarise yourself with the 40 forum at IH8Mud.
posted by a halcyon day at 11:42 PM on August 31, 2019

Response by poster: It arrived this weekend. I am doomed.

Thanks to all for advice and support.
posted by donpardo at 7:19 AM on November 7, 2019 [5 favorites]

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