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View Full Version : hey guys! looking for your opinion on a build of a '40...


ericjcline
11-27-2005, 12:03 PM
ok, i have been having a casual discussion about the direction a '40 of mine should go... what would YOU do? i am a member of wasatch cruisers and i am polling them to see if there is any magic ideas i havent thought of. i figgered youz guys might have some ideas too! i have an opportunity to build a '40 from the ground up and i am trying to figger out how i should do it.

a few stipulations- it MUST remain TOYOTA

now, this isnt to exclude aftermarket suspension and the like. it is meant to mean a toyota engine, tranny, and axles. ANY toyota engine, tranny, and axles.... well, that would presumeably fit into a '40 without destroying the body. imagine going to TLC or cool cruisers and saying 'build this...' what would your list include?

spring-over, taller spring-under, coils?

saginaw power, FJ60 power, FZJ80 power, minitruck power (steering, that is)

33s, 35s, 37s? 31s? :D

trim the body and add integrated body protection, or leave it with the stock lines and THEN protect?

color? factory originals, or something new? powdercoat and then paint, or galvanize and paint, or galvanize, powdercoat, and then paint?

aluminum, fiberglass, or steel?

zinc-ed hardware or stainless?

road AND dirt truck, or dedicated dirt? dedicated road :p ? mud, rocks, dirt, or all three? how would you build it to handle all three, and the road?

what would YOU want?!?! or, what would YOU buy, if there were one available for, say, $40K....


e

Shark Bait
11-27-2005, 01:24 PM
Eric,

I will say I think having a good rock crawler and keeping it 100% Toyota is kind of mutually exclusive. An H42 4-speed tranny and an Orion box from AA would be about the closest you could get. SM420 tranny with an early Toyota t-case is a popular option, too. Lockers would be a problem also unless somehow you could put 80 series axles underneath. There are a lot of options. In the $10-$15k range you could build a pretty awesome wheeling machine, IMO, but it probably would not be all Toyota.

You could wait for an FJ Cruiser. :p They will probably top out just under $30k.

If money is no object, go to Proffitt's Cruisers (http://www.proffittscruisers.com) and have them build you something. I'm sure you'll be happy! :D :D

ericjcline
11-27-2005, 05:29 PM
I will say I think having a good rock crawler and keeping it 100% Toyota is kind of mutually exclusive. An H42 4-speed tranny and an Orion box from AA would be about the closest you could get. SM420 tranny with an early Toyota t-case is a popular option, too. Lockers would be a problem also unless somehow you could put 80 series axles underneath. There are a lot of options. In the $10-$15k range you could build a pretty awesome wheeling machine, IMO, but it probably would not be all Toyota.


thanks for the reply, bait!

well, my current FJ40 is running a 2F to H55F to split case. not as deep as the 420, but the only trails i havent been able to do are the little sluice on the rubicon, pritchett canyon, and upper heldorado. have done lower without a problem. i thought maybe a split case with 3:1 low gears might be a good way to go, but that almost seems TOO low... what about a cable or ARB locker in the front? i have yet to meet someone with an ARB that doesnt/hasnt leaked though, so that is a drawback...

You could wait for an FJ Cruiser. :p They will probably top out just under $30k.


yeah, true, but just about everybody i have spoken with has some sort of significant complaint about the thing. colors arent right, no solid front axle, too wide, blah blah blah. and frankly, i dont like them that much either. it looks too much like an H2, and isnt all that comfortable inside. i went to the SEMA show to see it and it is neat, but i was more impressed with the new RAV4 :rolleyes:

If money is no object, go to Proffitt's Cruisers and have them build you something. I'm sure you'll be happy!

that is kinda the route i want to take. i am thinking about having him do coils on my 40... just trying to get more ideas to mull about before going that way! 350 miles is a long way to go to leave a truck, i wanna have a plan! :D

Rzeppa
11-27-2005, 05:33 PM
road AND dirt truck, or dedicated dirt? dedicated road :p ? mud, rocks, dirt, or all three? how would you build it to handle all three, and the road?

Hi Eric, the above really is the key to the answer. What is it for? Trailer queen rock crawler? Daily driver? Work truck? Expedition rig? The answers to what you want it for make every difference in how you build it.

Here's my own answer:

I am restoring my beloved 76 40 back to near-stock. Only non-stock is H41 tranny, OME suspension and lock right in the rear. With 33s it should do fine at Moab and get me to and from work as well as it has for 23 years.

My 71 40 is also a dual daily-driver and weekend trail rig. It has 33s with mild lift, a CB and a lock right in the rear and that's it. When I'm done with my 76, I will spring it over, add power steering (probably FJ60), front disks and fine spline birfs, a 4 speed, maybe an Orion or 4.56s, and 35s. Maybe a Toyota FZJ80 locker in the front, or an ARB. In any case, it will still be able to be driven to and from the trailhead, but just not as friendly commuting on the highway.

My 1978 FJ45 is totally bone stock and is staying that way. It's not only too pretty to take out and bash on the trails, but I need a pickup truck to haul stuff around.

The farther you go from stock, the farther you go from factory reliability and from the versatility to go on or off road.

Red_Chili
11-28-2005, 09:28 AM
The farther you go from stock, the farther you go from factory reliability and from the versatility to go on or off road. Absolutely right. Just look at my sig.

Red_Chili
11-28-2005, 09:43 AM
Nobody says you have to stay with the Toyota parts that actually CAME on your cruiser... I agree with the sentiment that all Toyota will be more reliable. It is just cooler too, IMHO.

Now here's a thought from a minitruck guy: why not use the more-modern, more-efficient parts that came on various minitrucks? Build a vehicle that Toyota SHOULD have built, and COULD have built with already available parts. That has been my design mantra.

Below would be my dream cruiser, I have not seen one quite like this to date. You would be the first maybe, but you would still be maintaining Toyota reliability instead of GM ... uh, I'd better not say. I'll get pummelled.

Most cruiser builds look like formula builds to me. Not that there is anything wrong with that... :p In fact, that is pretty much the approach I took with the Chili, frankly; I just recombined parts of formulas. I inherited proven solutions by so doing, instead of reinventing the wheel so to speak. But there are a few Toyota formulas that no one has combined, or not many, anywho.

1) The 3.4 V6 or newer Toy V8s maybe. You can blow the 3.4 reliably. You would actually gain in emissions, in mileage, and in reliability, not to mention cool factor. Very clean too. Chebbie 350s have never struck me as anything but available and fairly cheap, though I'm not so sure about the 'cheap' part by the time most guys are done with them. They are definitely not efficient IMHO. LT-1s maybe, but you are still dealing with antique design.

2) Stick with the tranny/tcase that came with the powerplant. Or, go with a dual ultimate from Marlin. Inherit all the development work that has been done, reliably, for minitruck mods. There are many combinations of engines/trannies/transfer cases from minitrucks that would work really well. The R151 is good, the R150 (especially 96+) is better, though it requires an adapter plate to use a geared tcase. Yes, you want a geared tcase.

3) Spring-over leafs are simple, reliable and cheap. If cheap is not so much a concern, SpiderLegs sure looks like he has a good system. Visit at the next club meeting.

4) FZJ80 axles (reference SpiderLegs above). Or Tundra axle in the rear, 80 in the front. Visit www.offroadsolutions.com (http://www.offroadsolutions.com/) for an example of a 4Runner MONSTER truck that uses these and breaks only under the most EXTREME conditions. Your cruiser could be very similar to 'Baby'. (by the way, 'Baby' is for sale and could be robbed for parts, or just slip a Cruiser body on her.... ohmygosh that would be a truck...)

5) Get Brian Ellinger (Front Range Off Road Fabrication) to build you custom axle housings (www.DiamondAxle.com (http://www.diamondaxle.com/)). You could then go for the minitruck 8" rear diff, electric locker, hell for stout and perhaps the easiest third member on which to work that has ever been made, save the Ford 9" (which would also be an option, and Brian could make it work, but it's not Toyota). Put an FZJ80 high pinion elocker 8" third in the front, with chromo axles and Longfields. Nearly unbreakable. Cryo the R&Ps if you are nervous about those. IMHO, that is not really necessary with sufficient carrier bearing preload, but take my opinion on that with a grain of salt if you are really hard on equipment.

6) IMHO the 40 is shorter than I like and a bit narrow for my tastes (rollover resistance, and vulnerability to endos). The 80 series axles deal with the narrow part, the SpiderLegs reference vehicle deals with the short part. Stretch it. Makes more room for the driveline and double transfer cases too. Room for parts and equipment too, in the rear box.

Rzeppa
11-28-2005, 10:30 AM
Nobody says you have to stay with the Toyota parts that actually CAME on your cruiser... I agree with the sentiment that all Toyota will be more reliable. It is just cooler too, IMHO.Agreed!

Now here's a thought from a minitruck guy: why not use the more-modern, more-efficient parts that came on various minitrucks? Build a vehicle that Toyota SHOULD have built, and COULD have built with already available parts. That has been my design mantra.Answer: Because to a great extent, minitruck parts are smaller and lighter duty. Mini trucks are lighter than cruisers.

1) The 3.4 V6 or newer Toy V8s maybe. You can blow the 3.4 reliably. You would actually gain in emissions, in mileage, and in reliability, not to mention cool factor. Very clean too. Chebbie 350s have never struck me as anything but available and fairly cheap, though I'm not so sure about the 'cheap' part by the time most guys are done with them. They are definitely not efficient IMHO. LT-1s maybe, but you are still dealing with antique design.I really don't think the 3.4 has enough grunt for a big, heavy cruiser. The 1HD-T (which is a factory-turboed 1HZ) is made to power a Land Cruiser. It is very similar in size and weight to the F/2F series. Having driven the 1HZ for four years, I can report that the torque curve goes down to about 600 RPM. It's like having an extra low gear, except you don't need the extra low gear.

2) Stick with the tranny/tcase that came with the powerplant. Or, go with a dual ultimate from Marlin. Inherit all the development work that has been done, reliably, for minitruck mods. There are many combinations of engines/trannies/transfer cases from minitrucks that would work really well. The R151 is good, the R150 (especially 96+) is better, though it requires an adapter plate to use a geared tcase. Yes, you want a geared tcase.Again, I don't think the mini trannies are up to cruiser-duty. The H55F is the best manual tranny for a cruiser. If you are going to maintain the cruiser rear axle, then you must use the cruiser t-case with the offset rear output. The later model split case with the massive 38mm idler is killer, and can be regeared for 3:1. Alternatively, the cast iron Orion can get you 4:1 if you wish.

3) Spring-over leafs are simple, reliable and cheap. If cheap is not so much a concern, SpiderLegs sure looks like he has a good system. Visit at the next club meeting.I do think that to a great extent, coils are better than leaves, but they are more complex.

4) FZJ80 axles (reference SpiderLegs above). Or Tundra axle in the rear, 80 in the front. Visit www.offroadsolutions.com (http://www.offroadsolutions.com/) for an example of a 4Runner MONSTER truck that uses these and breaks only under the most EXTREME conditions. Your cruiser could be very similar to 'Baby'. (by the way, 'Baby' is for sale and could be robbed for parts, or just slip a Cruiser body on her.... ohmygosh that would be a truck...)Tundra in the rear would require a centered rear output t-case. And 80 axles can and do break: see Slee, Christo

5) Get Brian Ellinger (Front Range Off Road Fabrication) to build you custom axle housings (www.DiamondAxle.com (http://www.diamondaxle.com/)). You could then go for the minitruck 8" rear diff, electric locker, hell for stout and perhaps the easiest third member on which to work that has ever been made, save the Ford 9" (which would also be an option, and Brian could make it work, but it's not Toyota). Put an FZJ80 high pinion elocker 8" third in the front, with chromo axles and Longfields. Nearly unbreakable. Cryo the R&Ps if you are nervous about those. IMHO, that is not really necessary with sufficient carrier bearing preload, but take my opinion on that with a grain of salt if you are really hard on equipment.Having worked on both 8" mini and 9.5" cruiser third members, I'll take the cruiser one every time.

6) IMHO the 40 is shorter than I like and a bit narrow for my tastes (rollover resistance, and vulnerability to endos). The 80 series axles deal with the narrow part, the SpiderLegs reference vehicle deals with the short part. Stretch it. Makes more room for the driveline and double transfer cases too. Room for parts and equipment too, in the rear box.Having wheeled both shorty 40 and long, I find that different lines are different. Some obstacles are easier in the 90" WB, some are easier in the longer WB. No question though, adding a little to the rear by flipping the rear springs and/or the rear shackle hangers gives more driveline options, such as adding a toybox.

Red_Chili
11-28-2005, 11:43 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili
Now here's a thought from a minitruck guy: why not use the more-modern, more-efficient parts that came on various minitrucks? Build a vehicle that Toyota SHOULD have built, and COULD have built with already available parts. That has been my design mantra.


Answer: Because to a great extent, minitruck parts are smaller and lighter duty. Mini trucks are lighter than cruisers.


D00d, on minitruck parts not being strong enough, ... au contraire, mon frere. WAY au contraire. VERY common misperception.
The R151 is essentially the same as the other *151 tranny that was factory installed on ONE cruiser or another. The R series trannies hold up to V8 power. The Tundra axle I conceived of would be behind a minitruck (centered) drivetrain.

The geared tcase is the very same one used in Marlin's ToyBox for cruisers. Handles LT-1s.

Have you looked at 'Baby', referenced above? Uses minitruck parts. Yes, he breaks parts (interestingly, the cruiser parts, not the minitruck parts). No, I will never wheel like Mike does. He's a nice guy and all but IMHO he's nearly certifiable.

The unbreakable thought was primarily regarding the Diamond Axles and cryo'd / Longfield stuff. Anything is breakable given the right situation... ;)

I would not shy away from minitruck drivetrain parts due to strength concerns...

wesintl
11-28-2005, 01:13 PM
I'd probably go with a fzj80 engine, drivetrain and axles with coils. Maybe even a uzj v8 in a 40 or a 40 body on 80 :p

staying Toyota, what else is there.... :confused:

bh4rnnr
11-28-2005, 02:57 PM
If I were to build a cruiser. Think i'd use 80 series axles with e-lockers. I like coils but am a big fam of the simplicity of leafs. Plus they are easy to set up, dont have to worry about angles etc.. Always liked the early Lexus LS400 v8 motors. Light and had good power. Plus way reliable. Would put it up with some type of rockbox. Dont know about what tranny i'd use.. Would run either 37/38 inch tires.

ericjcline
11-28-2005, 03:09 PM
you guys are just starting to broach what i have been thinking about...

here are some of my thoughts-

3.4 drivetrain (with 5 speed) to marlin crawler to split case. or, the 4.7 tundra to marlin to split. both produce (or can be made to produce) more horses than the 1FZ. torque is at a higher RPM than the F series, but with a marlin, that is solveable.

coil springs, ala proffitts. '40 axles. '80 would be nice, but i find it is hard to find them. aussie locker in rear, ARB/electric in front, 4.56 gears and 33x9.50 tires.

taco/tundra HVAC system fitted into the cruiser dash.

i should probably say that i am wondering if such a truck would be fesable for a resto-style production run, like the TLC Icon. ward does some great stuff with the Icon, but it is an aqualu tub and GM drivetrain on a cruiser frame. i wonder if it could be done, profitably, in small production and keep it all toyota. i would like to open a VERY small shop doing this kind of stuff.

unfortunately there are many things i dont know about restorations of vehicles, so i am trying to get an idea if anybody would even buy such a truck if it were priced at $45K or so, half of what an Icon is going for... i have mused jeff zepps resto site (great work jeff! keep it up!) and i think i could do a lot of that kind of resto work. this would become a full time job anyway, so having the time to actually do the R+D is there.

i have a business partner who wants to put up some investment capital to do this. i have the space, i have the money, and i can hire out to a quality shop for paint and body work. i am probably a 4 banana guy, so what i am thinking i would want is to have everything lined up waiting to be put together for final assembly. i would want to do 10 or so trucks per year and make them all the same...

this topic has launched into a massive discussion on the wasatch board and the idea is a monster one. the key would be finding people willing to pay $45K for a 'refreshed' 40. the idea being going after the market of people who think the FJCruiser is neat, but not a '40. those who buy toyota for its reliability, but dont want to mess with a carburetor and timing. unfortunately people who tend to frequent these boards LIKE tinkering with carburetors, so my question was really more to find out what good wheelers would want in a 'refreshed' truck. yeah, a turbo diesel would be sweet, but they are rare as rare can be... rolled tacos and tundras are becoming more and more common!


e

Rzeppa
11-28-2005, 07:42 PM
Hi Eric,

Ah, so the original post wasn't so much about a rig for YOU, as much as a product to build for customers. That puts a slightly different twist on it.

In any case, diesel cruiser engines aren't hard to get at all, Greg and Sheldon have a thing going in BC where Dave Stedman ships them over from Japan. Greg and Sheldon both plan on attending CM06 this year, along with a good sized contingent from BC.

I forgot to mention that in my plans for my 71 I'd like to EFI it...I know of a good number of people who've squirted 2Fs, but I've never heard of anyone doing an F!

On lockers, not only are 80 series electrics an option for 40s (you need custom length axle shafts made), but HJ61s were available with cable lockers from the factory. Gary Coberly from Lone Star has them on his, and I believe Peter Straub from Rocky Mountain has them in his too.

One of these days I'd like to see an H55F on the shop floor, side by side with an R151. Looking underneath, the H55F seems a LOT bigger and beefier than the R151. At about 5:1, combined with the low diesel torque, I never really felt the need for lower gears in my HZJ75, even turning 35s and dragging 7000 pounds of cruiser up the rocks.

subzali
11-28-2005, 09:20 PM
Wes, now you're talking! FJ40 with 1FZ-FE, electric locking diffs (meaning full-floating rear), H151...maybe coil springs...dunno if it would work, but it's a cool thought. That or find a 43 or 44 series and do kinda what Jeep did with the Unlimited-extended wheelbase without sacrificing departure angle. But there are prolly too few of those to be chopping any of them up... :(

Or maybe just do SOA on a 40, keep the engine (maybe put on a H41), get some cable lockers from a 61 series and a PTO winch if that's possible.

If you have a blown engine you could always throw in a Toyota diesel.

I dunno, I like non-US market options. Dunno if any of the above are possible, but they sound good as dreams, and it's RARE (in the US) TOYOTA.

Shark Bait
11-28-2005, 10:50 PM
Here is what you want.

Kate 6.0 Buildup Thread (http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=365356&page=35)

Red_Chili
11-29-2005, 10:08 AM
So you are going to have to balance the ideals and the costs - most shops fall down on this; they act like cost-plus contractors. Competing in the biz on price to some degree, while offering something unique is definitely a challenge.

I think your read on $45K is right; that may be just above your desired price point. You can negotiate with suppliers, especially if you do one-stop shopping. Marlin comes to mind due to breadth of product, generally good quality, name recognition, and cost competitiveness, and your idea of common minitruck powerplants is a good way to hold cost while providing the All-Toyota unique niche. Marlin may be motivate to expand into a niche he only dabbles in. It's something not many have done and I think there's merit to it.

If you can bring the price down below $40K and still be profitable, unique, and strong, I think you can sell it.

33x9.50? I wouldn't. Odd. 33x12.50 or 35x12.50 is more common and will give you an expected look. I think I'd go with selectable lockers too. Or offer them as options. For that matter, you can pick certain option packages that do not impact your production process costs much one way or the other, and upsell - or offer the base model at your price point, the customer decides. That way you're flexible and sorta custom without the attendant time/cost impact.

Seems to me your ideal customer is what GM pretends to target with their Hummer knockoffs: the outdoorsy, fairly successful midlife professional, but in your case one who actually knows something about 4x4s, and will notice and appreciate that yours are real. You can appeal to that knowledge and add to it. The traditional Cruiser owner may resist your approach, similar to the traditional Harley owner last decade. Harley overcame this and expanded beyond the traditional customer as a result, without overly alienating the traditional customer.

Your chief challenges are not design, but supply/production cost containment, and niche marketing IMHO. Areas in which your competition frankly falls down IMHO.

ericjcline
11-29-2005, 12:01 PM
So you are going to have to balance the ideals and the costs - most shops fall down on this; they act like cost-plus contractors. Competing in the biz on price to some degree, while offering something unique is definitely a challenge.

yep, exactly why i am here. i want to get a SOLID idea what a GOOD wheeling truck would need, but probably leave room for someone to do minor tweaks to make it a 5 rated rig. considering i am doing 4+ stuff with no body damage on a sprung-under 2F/H55F combo on 31"s, i dont think the 40 would need a dramatic overhaul to do this.

the unique factor would be in having a toyota 4.7 powerplant. MODERN driveability with plenty of off road power to compete with a 2F. no, it probably wouldnt lug to 400 RPM like my 2F can, but with gears, it would lug to 800 without issue.

I think your read on $45K is right; that may be just above your desired price point. You can negotiate with suppliers, especially if you do one-stop shopping. Marlin comes to mind due to breadth of product, generally good quality, name recognition, and cost competitiveness, and your idea of common minitruck powerplants is a good way to hold cost while providing the All-Toyota unique niche. Marlin may be motivate to expand into a niche he only dabbles in. It's something not many have done and I think there's merit to it.

ideally i would have a production run parts list and buy EVERYTHING for 10 or so trucks all in one shot to leveradge a supplier. i imagine selling 20 ARB lockers in one shot could get me a little bit of a discount. 10 of everything isnt a lot, but with suppliers like SOR, i have been able to wrangle a bit of a bulk discount on rare occasion. i think marlin would be a perfect supplier for all the mechanicals, and i think, if nothing else, the idea would INTEREST him enough to want to explore it.

i think my biggest obstacle is name recognition. i dont have a 10 year history of restos behind me. convincing someone to buy a $40-50K vechicle that is essentially used seems to me to be more difficult than just about anything else.


33x9.50? I wouldn't. Odd. 33x12.50 or 35x12.50 is more common and will give you an expected look. I think I'd go with selectable lockers too. Or offer them as options. For that matter, you can pick certain option packages that do not impact your production process costs much one way or the other, and upsell - or offer the base model at your price point, the customer decides. That way you're flexible and sorta custom without the attendant time/cost impact.

yeah, i think having options would be great. but i am thinking for a first production run, options are out. keeping costs down by doing it all the same in one shot i think would be better to see what is fesable. the idea on the 33x9.5s was to not have to cut body panels as much to make the tires fit. naturally a 35x12 is far more common, but i wonder if that would push it into the 'big truck' category rather than a capable '40-looking vehicle. i dont know. but i am biased because i have run 31s for 12 years.. :D i do agree that doing a sell-up program and offering options would be good, and ideally that would be something that i could offer with a waiting list type demand. at this point, i am trying to figure out if i could sell even 5!!


Seems to me your ideal customer is what GM pretends to target with their Hummer knockoffs: the outdoorsy, fairly successful midlife professional, but in your case one who actually knows something about 4x4s, and will notice and appreciate that yours are real. You can appeal to that knowledge and add to it. The traditional Cruiser owner may resist your approach, similar to the traditional Harley owner last decade. Harley overcame this and expanded beyond the traditional customer as a result, without overly alienating the traditional customer.

yeah. DINKs (dual income, no kids) and professional poseurs. people who will enjoy a toyota product but wont roll over on a dirt road like an H2 will. get 18mpg and still be streetable. tool around in moab and feel like they can.

i would assume that this truck MIGHT get a similar reception to what the ICON got on ih8mud. lots of people thought it was neat, but wouldnt buy it because it wasnt toyota. this one would be toyota, but it wouldnt be a traditional cruiser... not sure how the reception might go. maybe a guy like landpimp would crap on it, but he wouldnt be my market anyway....


Your chief challenges are not design, but supply/production cost containment, and niche marketing IMHO. Areas in which your competition frankly falls down IMHO.


exactly why i thought of this. supply, indeed, will be the challenge. marketing will be challenge #two. doing the work... that is the FUN.

ericjcline
11-29-2005, 12:05 PM
Here is what you want.

Kate 6.0 Buildup Thread (http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showthread.php?t=365356&page=35)


no offense to nolan or those who like his truck, it is a very stout build, but that ISNT a '40. it is the opposite of what i want! neat, yes. streetable? no friggin way! to me, it looks like the only things left that are 40 are the hood and the bib! killer build, but not marketable to the non-rock-buggy types...

Uncle Ben
11-29-2005, 04:30 PM
no offense to nolan or those who like his truck, it is a very stout build, but that ISNT a '40. it is the opposite of what i want! neat, yes. streetable? no friggin way! to me, it looks like the only things left that are 40 are the hood and the bib! killer build, but not marketable to the non-rock-buggy types...

I disagree....It's title and it's heart are very much Land Cruiser! Nolan is also a major Cruiserhead. I do know where you are coming from and there is a place for all views! :)

Red_Chili
11-29-2005, 05:11 PM
I think what you are shooting for, might fall into the category of competent expedition vehicle. It can crawl, to a point, but it's not single purpose at all. Like a D90 you could actually live with, or a Cruiser version of this sort of vehicle:

http://www.expeditionswest.com/vehicles/ewvehicles/tacoma/index.html
(that site may be a good brain fertilizer by the way...)

It's actually kinda what I am shooting for with mine:
http://www.4x4wire.com/toyota/hottoy/morgan/
Here it is, closer to current trim (second pic). It now has a 5VZ-FE powerplant:
http://www.oramagazine.com/pastIssues/0412-issue/041210f-cruise-moab.html

If it was a motorcycle, it would be somewhere between a big dualsport and an adventure tourer, designed to cover a fair amount of territory reliably. Not for the hardcore, but for those who recognize mechanical competence and who seek outdoor experiences of many kinds - and who don't fall for the image thing in the commercials, but seek actual function in their form.

Not too far from the typical Toy or Cruiser owner in that regard, even if a Cruiserhead might reject some of your ideas - till he thought about it for a while.

Slee does definitely cater to this. Off Road Solutions goes for the more hardcore, which I think limits him, but he has a name and does do the whole package at times. Brian Ellinger could do it, but he focuses on unique mechanical solutions and smaller 'bites' rather than the whole package. Proffitt's comes the closest, but again, hardcore primarily. I think you have the makings of a good business plan potentially, and can certainly differentiate on product and price too if you're careful. If you can do that they will come, IMHO.

Unique, VERY competent product at a smokin' price. Wish you well!!!