7 MOST ICONIC 4x4s
They are part of the history of 4WDing in Australia and introduced many of us to places that that would be impossible for many to visit without a capable 4WD. The basic features and performance of these vehicles by today’s standards would shock many - but they are part of the 4WD journey that continues to evolve.
No. 7 | Toyota FJ25
The Toyota FJ25 was originally imported by major contractors. This associated with the Snowy Rivers Scheme. Its performance (Big 6 with 3 speed gear box) in that role and continued improvement has no doubt contributed to Toyota’s dominance of overall vehicle sales in Australia.
This was very much involved in establishing the Toyota brand in Australia - and imported Toyota commercial vehicles for many years. By 1980 Toyota Motor Corporation Australian had full control of importing and building Australian ToyotasArguably these vehicles have contributed to developing the 4WD industry in Australia. They often where predominantly used in rural and construction environments. These are some of the major players in the sector that has evolved into safe and comfortable, 4wd recreational, tow, family, trades vehicles and in many cases rarely see ‘true’ off road conditions.
No. 6 | The Suzuki LJ50
Light weight 2 stroke relatively cheap and great off road capability saw these little 550cc 2 strokes go places that others couldn’t. Most were used in country - but there were a number (when new) to be seen in the cities. Every daily drivers?
Maybe it was start of the ‘fun’ 4x4 vehicle market - a relatively cheap vehicle $3400 in 1975. It could be argued that the current Suzuki Jimmy is an evolution of the little 550cc 2 stroke
No. 5 | Landrover Series 1
No. 4 | 80 SERIES LANDCRUISER
The 80 Series was Toyotas great step forward offering a ‘family wagon’ that was incredibly capable and comfortable relative to what came before. The 80 series was released in Australia in May 1990 and discontinued in early 1998.
It was the vehicle that Toyota started to offer real luxury and utility in a family style 4WD and great improvements in motor performances over the life of the series- with the 4.5 litre petrol and 4.2 litre diesel turbo motors offering class leading performance - and reliability.
Turbo examples are till sort out as ‘tugs’ for caravans and there are many still around with over 500,000kms still going strong. A competent DIYer can perform most of the servicing and replacement of consumable parts. Parts continue to be readily available
Coil springs provided comfortable rides and while suspension upgrades offered improved off-road performance. It was the first of the cruisers with full-time 4WD. Many still consider it a ‘real’ 4WD as the models that followed with safer, smoother faster and more refined vehicles. Safe to predict that there will be 80 series in use for many years to come and collectable.
No. 3 | Range Rover 1st Generation
The ‘Toorak Tractor’ was arguably the vehicle that became the aspirational family 4WD even though it was our of the reach of most - it offered great off road capability, power from V8, comfort and prestige for almost $7500. A new 40 or 50 series Landcruiser was ($2700-$5000).
Loved or loathed the Range Rover set the bench mark (in 1971/72) that many other manufactures have since achieved - yet for others it is ‘work in progress’
No. 2 | Toyota Hilux RN46
Initially released as a well backed ute it evolved in 1979 to the RN46 the 4WD model. They released their 4 door twin cab LN40 (diesel with 50kw) in 1980 - arguable the start of the Australia’s ‘love affair with 4dr twin cab.
This style of vehicle has evolved into what is Australia’s bestselling vehicle (And the category of twin cab utes is now represented with Mazda, Nissan, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Ford and others striving for action in this space) Yet another opportunity to debate which is best.
No. 1 | The Willy's Jeep
The Jeep’s MB capability was proven during WW2. The motor was 2.2 ltr 45kw motor matched 3 speed gearbox and 2 range transfer case. It's reputation was built during WW2 because of its ability to move troops over rough country in what was basically a simple reliable and capable vehicle.
These WW2 examples of Jeeps were used in Australia post WW2. I am sure that there are stories about how some were ‘acquired’ immediately post WW2 - but most were auctioned post 2nd world war .