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  #11  
Old 11-28-2005, 02:09 PM
ericjcline
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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!


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  #12  
Old 11-28-2005, 06:42 PM
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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.
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  #13  
Old 11-28-2005, 08:20 PM
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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.
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  #14  
Old 11-28-2005, 09:50 PM
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Here is what you want.

Kate 6.0 Buildup Thread
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  #15  
Old 11-29-2005, 09:08 AM
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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.
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Last edited by Red_Chili; 11-29-2005 at 09:41 AM.
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  #16  
Old 11-29-2005, 11:01 AM
ericjcline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili
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.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili
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.. 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!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili
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....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili
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.
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  #17  
Old 11-29-2005, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Shark Bait
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Kate 6.0 Buildup Thread

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...
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  #18  
Old 11-29-2005, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericjcline
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!
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Cruisers are superior
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  #19  
Old 11-29-2005, 04:11 PM
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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/vehic...oma/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/pastIssue...uise-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!!!
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Last edited by Red_Chili; 11-29-2005 at 04:15 PM.
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