Catching up with the 70 Series

Last week marked a full year since I sold the Pajero Evolution and bought another of my dream machines – a Land Cruiser 70 Series. With the benefit of hindsight, was this a good idea, or do I have regrets?

In case you missed it: Project Adventure Part 5

It’s been a year of change on all fronts, and not just for me. Everybody has been finding ways to adapt to the new normal, even if normal hasn’t returned yet. Supply chains have been suffering from one end to the other, and prices have increased on a scale that couldn’t be predicted, even by the most cynical pessimist. Along with fuel costs, interest rates, and William Shatner, vehicles have gone completely stratospheric. Despite these conditions, Toyota’s replacement for it’s legendary 40 Series continues on, unaffected by the latest crop of aerodynamic cookie cutters and giant luxo-pickups. Many parts of the world can still buy this machine, virtually unchanged from its humble 1990 update. Sure, there are airbags now, and a few nods to government regulations to make it legal on the road, but the DNA of the original issue is still obvious.

The 2021 lineup, aside from the light/grille treatment, could be fresh out of 1990

It is for exactly this reason that this truck is the perfect candidate as a retro-ride in the third decade of the new millennium. In March for example, I needed a fender flare, in April it was glow plugs, and June saw me looking for coolant hoses. Every single instance ended with factory parts in my hand, easily obtained, reasonably priced, and OEM quality. If a vehicle doesn’t change, then the parts catalog covers a broader range of years, and is available for much longer.

Look at almost any other machine on the road these days, and chances are it has completely changed in the last 5 years or less. There are some exceptions out there (Tacoma?) but for the most part, anything that hasn’t received a wholesale update recently is either “old-fashioned” or on the edge a new model. The 70 Series bucks this trend and soldiers on for the foreseeable future, stuck in the 1980’s, but making it retro-cool.

So do I regret my move to an aging, lumbering ironclad? While I miss the Pajero Evo, and always will, this first year with the HZJ77 has been a learning experience, an exercise in all things mechanical and a reminder that sometimes simpler just adds to the adventure.

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