What is the greatest overland vehicle ever sold new in the US?

evilfij

Explorer
2.25 petrol land rover series IIa dormobile (fixable with a hammer and two wrenches, will run forever, only needs the SIII sals rear axle bolted in to be reliable).

NAS Defender 110

U500
 

carterzest

New member
I am a bit biased. My first choice 86-91 VW Syncro Westfalia/Tintop. They are so capable especially equipped with at least one locker. They did not catch on initially and people thought they were too expensive, but, they definitely have developed a cult following. I own 2 currently, both on their original underpowered 2.1 WBX engines and they both have 180K on the clocks. I am upgrading to a custom built 2.2 Vanistan motor not because I need to, just because I want to get another 180k on the clock. They are extremely capable in their stock configuration, especially with rear locker and 15' wheels/BFG AT's. I have a good stock of spares on hand ready to go and the good thing about the VW is that parts are readily available still. there are many aftermarket motor mods that are happening now: Subaru WBX motors, Ford Focus ZX3 motors if you want to deviate from stock. Me, I want to keep mine with an enhanced stock motor, no lift, and just run bigger tires and wheels. They are incredibly capable and I have yet to be stranded on quite a few Moab trips, a trip to Hollister CA, Tillamook State Forest(Browns Camp) etc. They are good in snow, Mud & Sand. My Montero buddy always gives me a hard time about them, as do my Cruiser and G Wagen friends, but they all are in awe at the stock capabilities of the platform. If VW only imported them to the US with the diesel motors that were so prevalent in the rest of the world. I have 4 friends who have them and they are incredible motors.

[video=vimeo;75742571]http://www.vimeo.com/75742571[/video]
goPro on my van from 16:00-21:00




That being said, I grew up in Landcruisers and I totally agree with the worldwide availability of parts and such.

Hard to beat a GWagen as well and one of those is on my bucket list.

I have wheeled with all sorts of Toyota's, Montero's, G Wagens, Pinzgauer's. Volvo C303's and the one thing many of my friends say at the end of the day is that they are envious of the instant convertability of the SyncroWesty.

There are a lot of Vanagon Syncro videos in this thread here
 
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SwampfoxSC

Observer
Hands down FJ80 especially 93/94. Unfortunately Toyota quit making real LandCruisers in 97 IMOP. So I got tired of driving a 20 year old DD. So I got the best in my opinion available today new. A 13 JK 4dr Rubicon with locked 44s front and rear.
 

28.

Adventurer
Hands down FJ80 especially 93/94. Unfortunately Toyota quit making real LandCruisers in 97 IMOP. So I got tired of driving a 20 year old DD. So I got the best in my opinion available today new. A 13 JK 4dr Rubicon with locked 44s front and rear.
Good grief seriously.... The 100 will go anywhere an 80 goes.. With more comfort, efficiency,and reliability.. Now I hear folks with the 100s saying that with the 200s out.. It's just getting old.
 

4X4NDAD

New member
I would have to build mine, since I drive a Jk but work for a Toyota dealership. Option no. 1. 1st gen. Highlander Awd Hybrid. 285 horsepower v6 and 500lb ft torque electric motor in the rear and 38mpg. Sign me up. 2nd would be 60 series cruiser with 80 series axles and a VvTi 4.7 from the later year tundra. 3rd option add Bmw Gs 800 to what I already have, and be done.
 

MarcFJ60

Adventurer
Was there a definition of what the criteria for best overlander actually was? I would think the same vehicle could have very disparate rankings depending upon how important off road ability is. Moreover, "greatness" could factor in popularity. In the US, Jeep is like Harley Davidson in that some people don't just want a 4x4, they only want a Jeep. Other makes have their fanboys as well, but not in the same league. But I digress.

I'm certainly biased, as I owned and loved a FZJ80, but there are several things about that stand out:
- As big as it was, I never came close to finding it's limits. Not that I pushed mine that hard, but it will take you anywhere a vehicle could/should go.
- It was very comfortable, even with solid axles. In fact, I would pretty much eliminate leaf sprung vehicles from the list. Not that there weren't very capable leaf sprung vehicles, but they couldn't touch the comfort/capability of the FZJ80.
- Even more than the reliability, was the way it was reliable. There really aren't too many instances of sudden, catastrophic failures with the 80 series. Every mechanical device will have issues, but the 80 series never seemed to fail in a way that would leave you stranded - unless you ignored warnings it gave you for quite a period ahead of time. You might have to limp out at some point, but you'd get out under your own power.

The negatives of the 80 are few and they would be the same that effect most other vehicles on the list (MPG, size, cost). And the vehicles that are smaller and get better mileage would have to be judged on a different scale offroad.

With all that said - I covet many of the vehicles mentioned in this thread for the very reasons people have brought up. Some of my favorites aren't even ones I would put very high on the "greatest" list, but I love them still the same (Early Bronco, RR Classic LWB, Iron Pig). Maybe someday if I have more time, money, and space I'll own one or more of them as they don't cost a fortune like other classic vehicles.
 

subytoy

Observer
You guys are all wrong! The 1979 Dodge Colt was the best expo vehicle ever sold in the US. I had one from 92 to 02, paid $500 for it, put 100k on it and then sold it for $600. 40mpg, rugged and dead simple to work on.


Craig
 

Hanzo

Member
Of the 4x4s I have owned (FZJ80, FJ60, and 4th gen V8 4Runner) I would have to pick the 4Runner. While not up to par with the Cruisers hard core off road situations it is overall a better vehicle...more powerful, better ride, more comfortable, higher MPG, and honestly no slouch off road. For my type of overlanding (mostly back roads and two-tracks) it is all I will ever need. That being said I will never love a car as much as I did my 80. Drove that thing everywhere and it never failed me once. Would still be driving it if my girlfriend hadn't barrel rolled it 30 yards...and walked away without a scratch. I always got the most complements on my clean 83 root beer brown 60 though...people loved to talk about that car with me. Drove it from MI to CA and back with no problems and took me through some really bad winters in MI.

Concerning the auto vs manual discussion: I choose autos over manuals for one simple reason, if I am hurt I can much more easily drive an auto or find someone who can. I find it much harder to do a field repair on myself for a sever injury than on a truck.
 

Viggen

Just here...
You guys are all wrong! The 1979 Dodge Colt was the best expo vehicle ever sold in the US. I had one from 92 to 02, paid $500 for it, put 100k on it and then sold it for $600. 40mpg, rugged and dead simple to work on.


Craig

Too bad you sold that. Classic RWD Japanese econo cars are phenomenal. Make good rally cars as well.
 

subytoy

Observer
Yeah, I wish I had kept that one. I've had three of them and that one was by far the best one. I modified it a bit; Jeep Wrangler rear springs, Rancho RS500 shocks, 14" rims and larger tires, Koni struts. It was fun in the dirt.
 

Bigunit

Adventurer
Doesn't it really depend on what your definition of "is" is?

So, shouldn't we first try to define what "overlanding" is and go from there?
 

JimBiram

Adventurer
At the risk of having my head exploded from comments, I noticed no one nominated the Land Rover LR3/4's...why is it every time some Jeep or Toyota driver rides with me, they say the same thing with a smile... "Ok, now I get it..." Overlanding usually includes some on road driving so you should enjoy the ride both on and off road, right?


Every Day is a Good Day Surfing...Some are just Better Than Others

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

zimm

Expedition Leader
people are emotionally attached, and i think that clouds their judgement on cars. also, theres this compulsion to be "right" that clouds everyday judgement. dont get me wrong, i love cool and unusual ****, and i may get attached to a particular car, but not a brand in general.

that having been said, i read the question as "best sold in the US, FOR the US"

that means road conditions and vehicular needs must be taken int account.

so, off the bat, unimog size stuff is mostly useless. there are LEGAL roads in new england, that are as tough as moab, and worse in the spring, that something that big wont fit on, period.

diesel? who cares. unless you tow 13,000 pounds everyday, its in your head. fuel is cheap in the US, and gas stations abound.

average track and tire size... now thats a big one. what was great 20 years ago doesnt work now. so, you have to take period in consideration. those tires on a first gen 4 runner arnt gonna cut it when you see excursions on 37's digging their way up the hill. better get set to drag it. not to mention, one 30" tire in a rut and the other on the crown all day, blech. old jeeps and 40's are a bit narrow but workable. sammies are just too small.

overland in the US includes lots of highways and dry dirt roads too. outside of wheeling "trails" like the rubicon you have to ask if SFA is worth the trade off for the comfort and washboard handling of IFS. yea, i know, solid is more durable... not really. thats a general statement that compares apples to oranges. a properly designed IFS is as durable as a tube. sure, there are 4 CV's, but, a toyota shaft lasts 200,000 miles with 35's and no maintenance, whereas a G will eat bearing for lunch. i'll take a yota minitruck IFS over a dana 30 jeep anyday. in the end, durability and reliability is in the design criteria.

for those reasons, the best sold in the US can be picked from shorter wheelbase modern pickups, and SUV's.

having owned and wheeled lots of live axle trucks and suv's, (f-series, defender, landcruisers, G) and if one is to differentiate overland travel from wheeling, i think the size, shape, modability, durability, reliability, comfort, capability, payload, all point to a 100 landcruiser.

now, if you want to think international in a US sourced rig, to me its not that much different. south africa doesnt need 33's, and in siberia, the dude in a unimog is your best friend. but if i really wanted to keep all my road options available worldwide, i'd still stick to a 100.
 

plumber mike

Adventurer
people are emotionally attached, and i think that clouds their judgement on cars. also, theres this compulsion to be "right" that clouds everyday judgement. dont get me wrong, i love cool and unusual ****, and i may get attached to a particular car, but not a brand in general.

that having been said, i read the question as "best sold in the US, FOR the US"

that means road conditions and vehicular needs must be taken int account.

so, off the bat, unimog size stuff is mostly useless. there are LEGAL roads in new england, that are as tough as moab, and worse in the spring, that something that big wont fit on, period.

diesel? who cares. unless you tow 13,000 pounds everyday, its in your head. fuel is cheap in the US, and gas stations abound.

average track and tire size... now thats a big one. what was great 20 years ago doesnt work now. so, you have to take period in consideration. those tires on a first gen 4 runner arnt gonna cut it when you see excursions on 37's digging their way up the hill. better get set to drag it. not to mention, one 30" tire in a rut and the other on the crown all day, blech. old jeeps and 40's are a bit narrow but workable. sammies are just too small.

overland in the US includes lots of highways and dry dirt roads too. outside of wheeling "trails" like the rubicon you have to ask if SFA is worth the trade off for the comfort and washboard handling of IFS. yea, i know, solid is more durable... not really. thats a general statement that compares apples to oranges. a properly designed IFS is as durable as a tube. sure, there are 4 CV's, but, a toyota shaft lasts 200,000 miles with 35's and no maintenance, whereas a G will eat bearing for lunch. i'll take a yota minitruck IFS over a dana 30 jeep anyday. in the end, durability and reliability is in the design criteria.

for those reasons, the best sold in the US can be picked from shorter wheelbase modern pickups, and SUV's.

having owned and wheeled lots of live axle trucks and suv's, (f-series, defender, landcruisers, G) and if one is to differentiate overland travel from wheeling, i think the size, shape, modability, durability, reliability, comfort, capability, payload, all point to a 100 landcruiser.

now, if you want to think international in a US sourced rig, to me its not that much different. south africa doesnt need 33's, and in siberia, the dude in a unimog is your best friend. but if i really wanted to keep all my road options available worldwide, i'd still stick to a 100.
Well written. I'd grab up a suburban for most all the same reasons.
 
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