Are you ready to pony up?

Everywhere you go these days you are bombarded with mantras and slogans:

“Aspire to own the best.”

“Accept no less than perfection.”

“Compromise is not an option.”

The hashtag life pays no mind to budget, because that’s bad for one’s image.

Maybe you’re wondering why my rhetoric has suddenly turned melancholic? Why are my dulcet tones sounding sour?

Two words.

Toyota Tax.

Recently, as you might’ve read, we got my wife a Land Cruiser 100. It was a JDM but had been brought in a year or two ago, and fortuitously turned up for sale five minutes from our house. And by “for sale” I could almost say “fire sale”. For a 100 Series with 120 000 kilometers, we got it for a very reasonable price. We were able to sell her diesel Pajero and not go out of pocket too far. This is no mean feat, if you know anything about Toyotas and resale value. Especially the legendary ‘Cruisers. Possibly a once-in a lifetime used car bargain?

This experience was not without its pitfalls, however. It got me thinking. More specifically, it got me thinking about one of the offroad icons that piqued my interest years ago, when I began looking for my first rig. Yes, along with the mighty (and affordable) Pajero, I once lusted after the premium-priced Land Cruiser. Being a starving student at the time, and having no idea about Japanese Market vehicles, I gleefully purchased that first Pajero. This turned into another and then another over the years, and I eventually felt like I was part of a super-secret value 4×4 club. As time went on, I forgot about those other “Toy’s”. But happy oblivion came to a lurching, 4-wheel-disc-halt when my wife’s 100 pulled into the garage.

Those long repressed feelings of admiration (adoration?) came surging back with the power of a 1UZ-FE, and suddenly I realized I wanted a Land Cruiser too. No, I deserved one. And not just “any” one. I wanted a diesel.

Compromise was not an option.


I realized what else I’d been missing all those years in the Toyota matrix of resale values: The Toyota Tax. Nobody had bothered to explain it to me before, since I had my head stuck in the Mitsu sand, blissfully unaware of what was happening in Toyota City (a real place by the way). But the cold reality is no matter how many miles, how beaten, and how little paint is left on it, a Toyota 4×4, particularly the diesel Land Cruiser, still commands the Emperor’s treasure. Clarkson et al did us no favours in promoting the red Hilux to martyrdom. This perception of indestructibility is now universal, even among those who are not enthusiasts.

So this preamble (perhaps ramble is more accurate?) is a 500 word lament to a new JDM Journey: my (possibly ill-fated) pursuit of the storied diesel Land Cruiser. And in order to make this a reality, I will have to accept way less than perfect. Compromise won’t just be an option: it will be the only way to make this happen. IF it happens.

As for my image? Well, my peers are almost exclusively Mitsubishi fanatics, so my image will be completely ruined. At least I’ll have cutting edge engineering and superb handling… Oh wait. That’s what I have right now in the Pajero. No, the Land Cruiser will be slower, older, lower tech, and less agile. Hmmm… maybe we will be a good match after all?

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