Buildup Of A '94 Land Crusier FZJ80: Part II
Trying to pick just one vehicle that will act as both a daily commuter and an off-road weapon is quite a task. Such a vehicle must be able to handle everything from high-speed, desert dirt roads to backwoods, rock-strewn trails. Now that you have one in your head, add the following: You must be able to carry four adults and their baggage and still have a nice smooth ride on the street. When I decided I was going to replace my 4Runner, this was what I was up against. In an ideal world I would have two vehicles - one for the trail and one for the street. One problem: I live in a townhome complex, and there is no place to park or work on a trail rig. For this reason, I chose the Toyota Land Crusier FZJ80. All of our vehicles are some type of compromise, whether it be interior space, ride quality, or engine power. So far, I have been very happy with my decision, and even a little surprised at how well balanced my Land Cruiser 80 is.
In case you missed Part I, I discussed the overall scope of Project 80 and documented the Hanna Quality rock sliders installation. In Part II, I continue with vehicle protection and extraction duties. As you may have seen in the photographs in Part I, my 'Cruiser had no front bumper. The stock bumper did not provide any great amount of protection, and I removed it before shipping the vehicle to Slee Off-Road.
Slee Off-Road specializes in outfitting and servicing 80-series and 100-series Land Cruisers. Christo, the owner, is an expert on these models and can transform a stock Land Cruiser into an all-out expedition vehicle. Everyone at Slee has years of experience on the trail and wrenching on four-wheel-drive vehicles. Not only does Slee carry almost every aftermarket part available for these vehicles, but it also manufactures quite a few very specialized ones as well. While Project 80 was at Slee Off-Road, I had Christo and the crew install an ARB air snorkel, an ARB front bumper, and a Warn 12,000-pound winch.
While attending the 2005 Surf N Turf event in Pismo Beach, California, I ran into a gentleman named Luke Porter. Luke is the owner and operator of 4x4 Labs in Grass Valley, California. His company specializes in rear bumpers and custom fabrication. His rear bumper/tire carrier is a production piece with some customization to fit personal preferences. What I wanted was a rear bumper to increase my departure angle and be able to carry a 37-inch spare tire. Luke's design was able to meet these needs, and it was nice looking to boot. Follow along as we install (with help from I-FIX-M Auto Service) Luke's rear bumper on Project 80 and highlight some of its unique features.