Just like a fine wine, this Cruiser has only gotten better since rolling off the production line
There can be no denying that this Rambler cuts an imposing figure!
Usually, Pat Birmingham is a bloke who knows what he wants. He was happily running around in a 200 Series Land Cruiser and was planning to replace it with a newer model 200 with a GVM upgrade. However, a trip to the Rambler Vehicles outlet attached to the TJM Megastore at Underwood changed everything!
Upon arriving at Underwood and chatting with the team about the new 200, he spied this stunning Merlot 70 Series that had copped the Rambler treatment, and at that moment, things changed. A quick drive was all it took, and Pat left Underwood in the 70 Series! Let’s take a look at what makes this Merlot so magic.
There can be no denying that even at a glance, that this is no ordinary Cruiser. From the stunning Merlot finish that extends to the custom Spinifex Manufacturing canopy that dominates the 70’s exterior, to the vast array of Aussie-made Lightforce driving lights, this Rambler cuts an imposing figure!
It all starts up front with the TJM T13 Outback bar, an absolute must when you hit the tracks of rural and outback Queensland as often as Pat does, and an added insurance policy against suicide skippies coming in from the flanks is a set of matching TJM side rails and steps. The TJM Outback bar is more than just a barrier between Pat’s Rambler and the local wildlife, it’s also the perfect place for a few more critical components for remote touring. A pair of huge Lightforce HTX driving lights have pride of place front and centre, and they feature the best of both worlds when it comes to auxiliary lighting, a ring of LED lights for great spread, and a pair of HID globes for the ultimate in long distance lighting. These are accompanied by a pair of ten-inch LED bars at each side that provide additional spread lighting, which is where you need it most once you get out of town.
Also calling the TJM steel bar home is the obligatory winch, which in this case is a TJM 12,000lb beast that is more than capable of releasing the 70 from even the deepest bog!
Rounding out the accessories fitted to the bar is the GME UHF aerial.
Moving back on the magic Merlot Rambler we come to the Rhino Rack that has been fitted to the roof, and like the bullbar, it does more than just provide a service. It is perfectly happy to take a load in the form of a swag or other such equipment, but it also does double-duty by providing the perfect place for yet more lighting. No less than six Lightforce LED Strikers adorn the front of the Rhino Rack. Let’s be honest, the skippies, brumbies, goats, pigs and camels don’t stand a chance!
Hanging off the passenger’s side of the rack is the matching Rhino awning that allows Pat to provide shade at a moment’s notice, just the ticket when you’re out enjoying everything sunny QLD has to offer the adventurous off-roader come lunch time!
ON THE INSIDE
There are those who have labelled the 70 Series interior as “sparse” and “agricultural”, but a look inside the Pat’s 70 after copping the Rambler Vehicles magic touch just might make the nay-sayers change their tune, because these days it is a wonderful place to while away the hours.
Opening the door, you are immediately struck by the quality of the re-upholstery job – someone has really put the old Singer sewing machine to work here, and it looks a treat! The seats and door cards have copped the matchy matchy treatment, and it just lifts the whole interior – a total transformation that feels as good as it looks. Flash Napa Leather will do that, huh?
Another transformation has taken place that is not so obvious, and that is under the carpets, behind the door cards and behind the hood lining. High quality sound deadening material has been applied to the floors, inside the doors, the roof and the rear wall of the cab and it really does make such a difference to the whole driving experience. The result is a cabin that is a whole lot quitter, and a lot less fatiguing to drive long distances. It’s just another example of the “cut no corners” approach the Rambler Vehicles team takes when they build a rig.
Cruiser Consoles have provided the speaker pods for the doors, as well as the centre console, and they are great looking, practical, and they play a huge role in bringing the interior into the 21st century. Speaking of modern times, a full Alpine stereo system has replaced the factory offering, with speakers fitted to all four doors, and a terrific head unit with Apple Car play adding to the 21st century feel of the whole interior. Rounding out the modern touches is the fitment of a top-of-the-line GME 80 channel XRS UHF radio.
We asked Pat about his ownership experience with the magic Merlot Rambler Vehicles 70 Series thus far.
“I’ve racked up just aver 100,000km in the Rambler so far” Pat told us. He went on to say, “The old girl has been up the beaches of Moreton, across to Birdsville, even done the old Tele track and PDR up the Cape! The 70 absolutely loves it”.
We asked Pat to sum up his whole Rambler Vehicles experience. “The thing I really loveis the just the confidence that I have in the build. It is just rock solid, you know? I can jump in at a moment’s notice and head pretty much where ever I like. The after-sales service has been first class, too. Nothing has been a problem for the boys. You can’t ask for more than that”
We agree Pat, we agree!
THE CANOPY & 12v FITOUT
It’s pretty obvious that a standout feature on almost every Rambler Vehicles build has got to be the canopy and fitout that the team applies to it. What is less obvious is that the canopy is built locally by Spinifex Manufacturing, and they are pretty much exclusive to Rambler Vehicles. Rest assure that you won’t find a better built, Australian made product anywhere in its category, they’ve been designed and built by touring off-roaders, for touring off-roaders! Oh, and best of all, you can have it fitted out to suit your own personal needs – no “one-size-fits-all” approach taken here!
Make no mistake about it, this colour-coded Merlot beauty is no exception to the rule, it has been specced out to make life on (and off) the road for weeks at a time as comfortable and as convenient as possible.
Heading inside the most striking feature is the huge 130L Bushman fridge/freezer that can store more tinnies than even Boonie could handle! It’ll also swallow enough tucker to last a family of four days and days. Directly under the fridge is a handy mini drawer from RVSS that doubles as a great spot to pack and unpack the fridge, giving you a place to put your gear as you go about your fridge business. On the driver’s side you’ll find another drawer, this time a generously sized RVSS premium unit that offers plenty of secure storage.
Tucked away out of harm’s way is the heart of the 12v system that powers Pat’s beast. A 150Ah slimline Lead Crystal battery provides the power, and it is managed effortlessly by the Enerdrive DC/DC Charger. Up on the roof a huge 300w solar panel system has been fitted and this allows Pat to keep the volts topped up when the campsite is too good to leave for a few days.
A Spinifex lighting system ensures that the canopy remains user-friendly both before, and after dark.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that one of the world’s best-selling and most revered 4WD’s of all time wouldn’t need much attention paid to its driveline, but the guys at Rambler Vehicles are all about making the ownership experience a premium one, and as such, the little niggles are addressed as a part of the build-up, and the attention to detail really does make the difference.
Case in point – the odd difference in track width from front to back that every 70 Series Cruiser comes with from the factory. The Rambler Vehicles team know that by correcting this that the result is a safer and more predictable handling Land Cruiser.
The way the Rambler team have achieved this in Pat’s 70 Series is by replacing the rear diff housing with a specially built unit from Dwiz that not only corrects the track to match the front, but it is also substantially stronger.
Keeping all of this in check and making for an even sweeter ride when the roads turn to corrugations and potholes is a full TJM Pace suspension setup. The pace gear gives Pat the option to adjust the rebound and compression damping to suit his needs, and the conditions at hand. At the same time, the rig was treated to a GVM upgrade that allows for 3,950kg. This is a must if you are going to run a rig with all the fruit, and do it safely and legally.
Putting the power from the big V8 to ground is a set of Toyos measuring up at a sensible 33×12.5r18, fitted up to quality 18in CSA alloys that complement the 70 Series perfectly.
A Torqit exhaust system gives the turbo diesel V8 the opportunity to breathe a little better, and take advantage of the custom Rambler Vehicles ECU remap. More power, more torque. It is never a bad thing in a 4WD, is it?
To ensure that Pat can make the most of a long day on the tracks without stressing about the fuel is a pair of long-range tanks from the team at Brown Davis, makers of the finest quality aftermarket fuel tanks. It’s another example of fine Australian Made equipment being used simply because it is the best option available. It’s a pretty handy addition too, because Pat loves nothing more than hooking up his big 21ft Jayco Silverline and disappearing for a couple of weeks whenever the schedule allows it.
Speaking of towing, a Hayman Reece X Bar towbar assembly was chosen for its ease of fitment, suitability to the task, and the handy built-in recovery points are the icing on the cake. Keeping the big 21ft in check and under control is an electronic brake controller from the guys at Redarc – yet another great Australian company who are based out of South Australia.
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