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2016 Overland Expo West 4x4s: Cool Vehicles And Capable Campers

Posted in Features on June 22, 2016
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The main attraction of the Overland Expo is always the vehicles on display. And it’s not just the vehicles inside the event gates, it’s the 4x4s at the event too. You’ll find really cool creations in the camp area, on the road around the expo, and in the parking lots. Overland Expo West 2016 was an absolute smorgasbord of 4x4 vehicles and capable overland campers. We saw everything from professionally built $245,000 Unimogs to Jeeps, pickups, and homemade converted camper creations built from retired fire and military vehicles. You’re sure to find lots of ideas for your overland 4x4, no matter what you are working with. For more information about the Overland Expo, check out

Not all large overlanding vehicles have to be expensive. An M923A2 6x6 5-ton cargo truck like this one can be picked up for less than half the price of a new Jeep Wrangler. A communications box appears to have been converted into a camper and then stuffed in the bed.

ACC Toyota had its hands on this crew cab Toyota FJ at some point. It featured a rooftop tent and a lockable caged cargo area to store your stuff.

This ’74 Land Rover Forward Control Series 2B was extensively modified. It must travel to some pretty bad neighborhoods considering that is has multiple deadbolt locks on the doors, steel mesh window coverings and a windshield made from four layers of laminated shatterproof glass.

This Hyundai Santa Fe Sport was probably the first overlanding crossover SUV we’ve ever seen. It featured a Treeline Outdoors rooftop tent and larger more aggressive Toyo Open Country tires among other mods.

We won’t lie, the monster rigs like this Unicat Terracross TC-52 Comfort are some of our favorites. Features include burglarproof windows and vents, diesel-powered warm water central heating, and a full bathroom all slapped on top of an International Workstar 7400 truck chassis.

We’re sure that this was one of only two rust-free International Harvester Scouts within 500 miles of the Overland Expo. The other one was about 100 yards away.

If you thought you were seeing double, you’re not. This clean green ’76 International Scout Traveler was built by Rob Bonney Fabrication in Peoria, Arizona. The tasteful modifications include beadlock wheels, a roof rack, front bumper, rocker guards and a swingout tire carrier.

It seems that older Mercedes-Benz trucks were almost as ugly as International Harvester-designed 4x4s. This German-based Mercedes LA 911 short-bonnet truck has seen many adventures all over the world. If you understand German, you can read more about them at

If you have a mere $245,000 burning a hole in your pocket, this rebuilt and upgraded ’87 Mercedes Unimog 1300L from Expedition Imports could be yours. It features a Hellgeth Engineering Custom Camper, 300hp turbodiesel engine, 16-speed transmission, U4000 portal axles with lockers, and a 15,000-pound Warn winch among other modifications.

It’s not often you see a 70-Series Toyota Land Cruiser in the states. This solid-axle shorty two-door was outfitted with vintage BFG Mud-Terrain tires and several ARB bits, including a winch bumper and roof rack.

Toyota fans looking for a more extreme outback adventure might consider something like this All-Pro Off-Road Tacoma. It rolls on 42x14.50R20 BFG Krawler KX tires thanks in part to a solid axle swap and fiberglass fenders among other modifications.

If you were a true off-road fanatic anytime in the ’80s or ’90s, you have probably heard of the Camel Trophy event. It was essentially the 4x4 Olympics. Several different vehicles were used over the years, but the Land Rover Discovery captured the ’90s.

Any interest in a midsize Ford Ranger diesel? This strippy imported 4x4 pickup features steel wheels, black bumpers, a 2.2L diesel engine, and six-speed transmission.

While wandering through the campground we ran into this massive Freightliner big rig-based motorhome. It’s been converted to six-wheel drive thanks to a front axle and transfer case from Fabco Automotive.

Expedition Imports was offering up a Mercedes-Benz Unimog U1350L implement carrier with only 18,000 kilometers on it. It features a 210hp turbodiesel engine, eight-speed transmission, portal axles, selectable locking differentials, and a massive PTO-driven Werner Engineering winch. This was probably our favorite Unimog at the show.

Many overlanders are starting to realize that with the right suspension equipment they can get where they are going much quicker. This well-outfitted Toyota Tacoma retained its IFS front suspension, but it was upgraded with long-travel All-Pro Off-Road control arms and Fox remote-reservoir coilover shocks.

The new ’16 Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 vans have piqued the interest of many off-road camping enthusiasts. They come from the factory ready to ford water up to 24 inches in depth. They also feature increased ground clearance, a real low range transfer case, and a standard V-6 turbodiesel engine.

If you can’t figure out what to do with that low-buck ex-military HMMWV, maybe you could convert it into an all-terrain camper. The 37-inch tires and portal IFS axles offer all kinds of ground clearance. Plus, military surplus replacement parts can be found cheap.

Retro motorcycles have increased in popularity so much that Ural manufactures and sells these 2WD sidecar motorcycles. They can be outfitted with rocker guards, off-road LED lights, and a winch for more difficult trails.

We’ve been drooling over these micro trucks for nearly a decade. We spotted this one for sale on the side of the road near the event. It was a 4x4 and featured a roof rack and a winch. There are lift kits available and micro trucks can be made street legal in many states.

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