The Red 60
A one owner Toyota Land Cruiser 60 Series has been brought back from the brink of disaster.
THIS STORY began more than three decades ago. It started as a tale of a family exploring our great country and very nearly ended down a gully with the front of a family’s beloved 60 impaled on a monstrous tree! But like the greatest Hollywood blockbusters, the owner Maarten refused to give up and the heroine was raised from the pile of mangled metal, restored to all its former glory.
Australia and the 60
Introduced to the Australian market in 1980, the 60 Series Land Cruiser replaced the aging FJ55. Along with it came a whole swag of options to cater for the emerging SUV market. An automatic transmission, rear heater and air conditioning were just a few of the options available with the tick of the pen at your local Toyota dealership.
In keeping with the family wagon theme, the 60 was available in specs right up to the Sahara which included luxuries such as a centre console fridge which has been a standard inclusion of all Saharas right up to the latest 200 Series.
Maarten’s 60 isn’t a Sahara, but it shows the commitment that Toyota of the day had to a “family friendly” full size 4WD wagon that continues to this day.
The 60 however was the last of the “comfort oriented models” to see leaf springs at both ends. With the 80 series introduced around 1989, coil spring were introduced, with the leaf springs never to return.
A Tale of Trials and Tribulations
After purchasing the ‘Cruiser fresh off the show room floor at Yarra Valley Toyota in 1987, the red 60, with minimal touring mods was put to work showing Maarten’s family of Mum, Dad and two children the length and breadth of Australia.
The red 60 has visited Fraser Island (where it almost met an untimely demise in a watery grave!) and has made the journey across the Nullarbor Plain to introduce the family to Albany, Kalgoorlie and Perth.
Fast forward to 2010. A tragedy; the 60 has careered off the side of road, down a steep hill and come to rest hard up against a tree that was the death of it, or so Maarten initially thought.
You couldn’t have blamed Maarten’s family for giving up at this point, after all there is a 100 Series in the driveway.
With the roof crushed the first job was to jack the roof off of the dashboard!
As you can see from the photos the chassis took a big hit and it would have been considerably easier to take the straight chassis from the donor car and bolt the original body on top, but would that still be Maarten’s 60? The 60 that took his family from one end of this great country to the other? Not in Maarten’s eyes, so the mission was on to stretch the chassis back to its former glory.
Doesn’t sound like much of an issue, does it? Drop the chassis off to the professional chassis straighteners, wait a little while, and take the now perfectly straight chassis home to meet the restored body.
After several attempts by “professionals” Maarten walked through the door of Carrera Motors and left the chassis in the capable hand of Justin. The proof is in the pudding as they say, and the proof here was when Maarten installed the ARB bulbar complete with period-perfect Warn high mount winch, it slipped easily on the frame horns, just like it would have the day it rolled out of the factory.
With the chassis having being sorted out it was time to turn the attention to the body, and the hunt was on for a donor car. A reasonably straight silver 60 was procured to donate parts that couldn’t be restored, because as you can imagine there was quite a lot of work to do. For example, the roof had a crease in it that rivalled the damage to the chassis.
Maarten could have taken a hammer and dolly to the roof, but there was a perfect, rust free example sitting on top of the silver donor car. Though this was no hack job, the roofs of both cars were meticulously unpicked, spot weld by spot weld. Anyone who has gone down this path will tell you in no uncertain term how much care must be taken to not only detach and remove the spot welds, but also to unpick the sealant and paint which acts like glue holding the roof skin down, all the time without creasing the panel.
Thoughout this entire process, Steve at Resurrection Autos has not only taken the lead as “Project Manager” of the build, but has become a friend and mentor to Maarten.
As anyone who has been involved in a restoration can attest, it’s the little things that can make all the difference. For instance, the driver’s seat was a little worn on the right hand bolster when your leg rubs against it when getting in and out of the vehicle, the material isn’t available anymore. Though if you look carefully at the door trims, you can see a band of the same material used. If a careful upholsterer removes the material from the door card, there is just enough material to replace the worn section in the driver’s seat! It’s small details like this that can make or break a build, and the 60 is full of them.
Speaking of the interior, take a look at the carpet in the back, it’s original Toyota that accompanied the car on the day Maarten picked it up from the dealership. That’s both a testament to the care Maarten and his family have taken care of the car and the quality of the carpet used back in the day. It literally looks like it was picked up as a spare from the Toyota spare parts last week, not a piece that was delivered with the car three decades ago!
A few of us with a couple of birthdays firmly in the rear view mirror might think the wheels look somewhat familiar, they’re the much sought after PECO wheels. No longer manufactured, these quality pieces were originally made by Peter and Colin Wheels, hence the PECO name. The wheels were lovingly restored by Eastern Wheel Works in Lilydale Victoria.
Mechanically other than a couple of touring mods like the dual battery system and the gas diesel system that we’ll get to soon, it’s mechanically standard. Only the front diff has been rebuilt, and the suspension has copped a couple of touring orientated modifications like OME front leaves. This Toyota is as the factory intended all of the years ago.
The observant reader will notice that the red 60 is powered by a diesel 2H motor and will have also spotted the 30L LPG tank that resides underneath the 4WD. Early on in Maarten’s ownership of the 60, he decided it needed a little more get up and go. While today aftermarket turbocharger systems are available by the dozen, back then they were not so prevalent. Another interesting option is LPG fumigation. The idea of providing a gaseous supplemental fuel in a diesel isn’t new, if fact the inventor of the diesel compression ignition, Dr Rudolph Diesel experimented with the introduction of marsh gas (methane) into the induction system at a rate of 35% of the diesel used and gained up to 50% increase in power over straight diesel.
So how does it work? The gas is injected into the engine above idle speed, the rate of LPG flow is determined either by a supplemental ECU or in this case mechanically. The additional fuel is burned right alongside the diesel in the engine.
In a compression ignition engine like a diesel, when the piston is heading up the cylinder on the power stroke the compressing of the air fuel mixture gets hot enough to ignite the atomised diesel, hence the name compression ignition.
In this case the gas air mixture is introduced with the air via the inlet valve, but as the combustion temperature hasn’t reached a sufficient temperature, it doesn’t ignite. That is until the diesel is injected (via the pre-combustion chamber in the 2H) then the compression induced temperature is high enough to combust the air/lpg/diesel fuel mixture.
What this adds up to is an increase of around 25% more power and torque. And unlike a turbocharged engine, that’s right across the rev range unlike the top heavy power distribution of a turbocharged setup.
Your humble scribe can attest to its effectiveness, following Maarten up through the hills in a 4WD 25 years it’s junior and having a little trouble keeping up!
To the Future
This 4WD is no trailer queen despite the near concourse condition, it’s going to do a few more shows, but after that Maarten and his family are going to hit the road, after all that what 4WDs are for!
Looking at the accident photo, you couldn’t have blamed Maarten and his family for giving up on his beloved 60, but would you give up on a member of your family?
Click any image to start the gallery.