Brad Russell, the owner of this neat-as-a-pin Midnight Blue 79 Series LandCruiser, is a bit of an adventurer it seems.
He’s worked in the four-wheel drive industry for more than 20 years, has travelled all over Australia, owning both a modified Troop Carrier and 79 Series dual-cab LandCruiser previously.
This sort of real-world experience is invaluable when it comes to knowing what to modify and how to achieve your vision when it comes time to build your idea of a dream off-roader, something Brad has nailed with his latest and greatest creation dreamed up and made in to reality by the team at Rambler Vehicles.
There isn’t much that the Rambler Vehicles team hasn’t touched on Brad’s 79 Series, you often hear people referring to their builds as ‘game changers’, well this Cruiser hasn’t just changed the game, it’s rewritten the rule book both in terms of outright attention to detail, as well as the quality of accessories and modifications included.
Let’s take a closer look at the Rambler Vehicles 79 Series LandCruiser, oh, and if you want one just like it, the Rambler team will be more than happy to build one just like it for you. Just saying.
A suite of TJM barwork protects Brad’s LandCruiser double-cab, including the star of the show a T13 Outback steel bullbar on the pointy end of the 79 Series.
TJM side-steps guard the sills from off-road impacts, and an Airtec snorkel, also from TJM, saves the engine from water and dust ingress. For the ultimate in peace of mind when it comes to recovery duties, Brad had the crew at Rambler Vehicles install front-and-rear TJM 12,000lb winches with synthetic rope, allowing the big 79 Series to recover itself forwards or backwards should the need arise.
A Hayman Reese X Bar takes care of protection and recovery hitching at the back of the canopy.
The stock VDJ 4.5L V8 turbo-diesel engine was never going to cut the mustard in terms of performance figures on this build, considering how well the V8 responds to upgrading, the Rambler team did the only logical thing and went to town utilising tried and tested products to boost output.
Starting with an upgraded NPC 1300Nm clutch (mandatory for tweaked up Cruisers) to cope with the additional power, a PWR intercooler was installed as well as a Legendex side-exit exhaust system.
Tuning wizards G&L were enlisted to build and supply one of their turbo chargers, as well as a set of +30 injectors to provide more fuel to the big V8. For tuning purposes, an ECU Shop Tune Cube was installed, and after spinning the Blue Rambler up on the dyno, the final result ended up with 308hp at the rear wheels and 890Nm of torque. Impressive results indeed!
With so many choices on the market for suspension to suit the 79 Series, Brad decided to go all out and have a Superior Engineering rear coil conversion installed, and chucked the leaf springs in the bin.
Not only does this offer the advantages of coil springs, such as more suspension travel and a better ride, this option also provides a new Superior Engineering rear axle housing that is stronger and now matches the front track width. By having the Superior Engineering kit fitted, Brad was also able to upgrade his GVM up to 4200kg, to keep things legal when loaded up.
Superior Engineering Panhard rods, radius arms and steering arms have also been installed, which are much stronger than the factory Toyota items. The vehicle has been lifted 2-inches, which makes plenty of space for those 34-inch Maxxis all-terrain tyres. Controlling the bumps, is a set of TJM Pace remote-reservoir shock absorbers, which really tie the whole package together.
We all know the interior of a 79 Series is best described as farm spec, and this was never going to be good enough for Brad and the Rambler Vehicles team.
The full interior was exclusively designed for Rambler, with patterns and bolstering only found in its vehicles, retrimmed in nappa leather by the experts at Carmen’s Auto Trimmers.
The front seats are custom bolstered to offer extra shoulder support, as well as extended leg support, side bolstering and eclectic lumbar support. Now that’s a fancy farm truck.
Even the steering wheel has seen significant upgrades, starting with a 70th Anniversary steering wheel with upgraded controls, which was then retrimmed in matching leather, and there’s also a Cruiser Consoles centre console that has been colour matched to the car.
If the intoxicating note produced by the V8 Cruiser isn’t enough, Brad has opted for an awesome Alpine sound system, including Alpine’s 11-inch Halo head unit, R-Spec speakers and amp, as well as two 10-inch Kicker subs for a bottom-end boost.