4WORD

4 x 4 Australia - - Contents - MATT RAUDONIKIS

SOME things go hand in hand, like a pie and sauce, ba­con and eggs or Bundy and Coke – both as bad as each other. In the world of 4x4 trav­els, that mag­i­cal com­bi­na­tion has to be Toy­ota Troop Car­rier and out­back ad­ven­ture. I mean, is there a bet­ter ve­hi­cle for solo or two-up ad­ven­ture tour­ing in this big coun­try?

The long-wheel­base twodoor Landcruiser wag­ons were in­tro­duced back in the early ’60s and, while they weren’t called Troop Car­ri­ers back then, they have been re­li­ably trans­port­ing ad­ven­tur­ous folks around Aus­tralia – and in­deed the globe – ever since.

My ear­li­est mem­ory of 4x4 ad­ven­ture was in an FJ45 Troopy back in the early ’80s when, on a fam­ily hol­i­day, we ven­tured out on a day-trip tour along Rain­bow Beach on Queens­land’s Sunshine Coast. I was only young, but that 11-seat mus­tard truck left an im­pres­sion of the amaz­ing places it took us to once we left the bi­tu­men be­hind.

Now, more than 50 years since the early Troop­ies ap­peared, they are still avail­able and are still the cho­sen ve­hi­cle for many trav­ellers. The key to their pop­u­lar­ity is their ver­sa­til­ity.

With just two or three seats up front they are left with a long, tall cargo area that’s spa­cious enough to be con­fig­ured into your per­fect ex­pe­di­tion camper.

Pull up and chat to a Troopy Trav­eller on the tracks and you’ll be amazed at what they pack in the back of their trucks. Ev­ery­thing – in­clud­ing the kitchen sink – plus the fridge, stor­age cab­i­nets, fish­ing rods, surf boards and a bed. And that’s even without those who have the added space of a pop-top con­ver­sion for more head­room.

You won’t find a bet­ter source of Troopy in­for­ma­tion or a bet­ter se­lec­tion of well kit­ted­out Troop­ies than among the mem­bers of the Troop Car­ri­ers of Aus­tralia group on Face­book.

With around 3500 mem­bers at the time of writ­ing, the TOA group is boom­ing, and our own Troopy-own­ing Mark Allen joined 150 other mem­bers on their an­nual Win­ter Ram­ble this month. Check out the fea­ture, as they look like an in­ter­est­ing group to tag along with.

While the TOA might be im­pres­sive as a group, one stand­out rig among its mem­bers is Billy Mckin­non’s Troopy, also fea­tured in this is­sue – an im­mac­u­late FJ45 body rid­ing on an 80-Se­ries Cruiser chas­sis with a tur­bocharged V8 en­gine trans­planted un­der the bon­net. Now that’s my kind of hy­brid ve­hi­cle. For­get all that Prius crap, Mr Toy­ota!

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