A beast of a 200 Series, purpose-built for the Big Lap of Australia.
Nathan and Tania Wyndham purchased their stock 200 Series LandCruiser with a singular goal in mind – to build it up into a dedicated, ultra reliable touring 4WD and drive it around the country on a year-long voyage of discovery.
Being that the big 200 is now almost unrecognisable as its former self, and we’ve received Nathan’s dispatches from the road either side of a Simpson Desert crossing, we think it’s safe to say that they achieved what they set out to.
While Nathan and Tania’s current life on the road may read like the stuff of dreams for a lot of us; it’s the back-story that’s important, knowing what it takes to bring these sorts of visions to life. You don’t just roll out of the driveway one morning and set off without looking back.
Nathan and Tania set up a blog called Sunburnt Adventures where they’ve detailed the process of their vehicle selection and build up, camper trailer selection and purchase, and the planning process that went into arranging distance education for their son throughout their travels.
Knowing that they’d be travelling through remote areas for lengthy stints, capability and reliability were the first orders of business. Functionality takes precedence over form when building up a remote tourer, but it just so happens that this is one damn nice looking rig.
While Nathan and Tania’s Cruiser was destined for a pretty extensive makeover, it’s always paramount to make sure you nail the basics when building a vehicle that’s going to be pushed hard.
The first order of business was to have an ARB summit bullbar with fog lights fitted up to provide protection against rough terrain and suicidal roos, as well as a set of brush bars and side steps. A pair of Illuminator LED spotties were fitted up front to make night time driving safer while a TJM Airtec snorkel was fitted up to facilitate water crossings and keep the big Cruiser breathing freely on those long, dusty tracks.
A Kaymar rear bar was bolted on to provide rear protection and improve departure angle as well as to house a spare wheel and two jerry cans.
Not surprisingly, they opted for an ARB full length Tradie roofrack to capitalise on rooftop storage potential, while a Space Case was fitted to house their recovery gear and spare parts. And an Austrich wing awning was also added to provide protection from the elements.
The hooves of the 200 were shod with a set of Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3 tyres to bolster traction in tough terrain while still retaining onroad performance and ride comfort.
THE NEXT LEVEL
The next round of mods were to take the 200 to the next level, to epic tourer status. A full suspension upgrade was in order, with Old Man Emu BP-51s fitted up and the vehicle’s GVM upgraded.
Fuel range is incredibly important on a vehicle that needs to complete desert crossings, so a Longranger tank was installed in place of the sub tank and original spare wheel. Nathan and Tania ended up going with the 122L diesel/55L water split tank design, which increases their rig’s total fuel capacity to 215L.
Front and rear ARB diff lockers were the next addition, dramatically updating the 200’s offroad cred and traction control, while an ARB twin compressor with 4L tank was installed in the rear quarter panel on a custom bracket and a Smittybilt winch with wireless control and synthetic rope was fitted up front to help out in those inevitable sticky situations.
A custom rear storage unit from Outback Storage Solutions really elevates the convenience and functionality of this rig as a dedicated tourer. The unit incorporates a fridge slide and single drawer, side storage compartment, cargo barrier and a slide out table.
THE 12-VOLT SYSTEM
A rig’s only as good as its electrics, and in this case that means damn good. Anthony at Drover Camping and 4WD, who comes highly recommended by Nathan and Tania, did all the electrical work. The main under-bonnet fuse block holds four AMI or MIDI Fuses for high-amp circuits up to 200A and six ATO or ATC fuses for circuits up to 30A.
A 120Ah AGM auxiliary battery was installed behind the fridge slide in order to keep all the camping essentials humming along nicely, while a REDARC BCDC1225 keeps all power sources topped up.
A water pump plumbs water from the Longranger tank to an outlet in the wing of the rear storage, and a REDARC TowPro elite brake controller was fitted up in order to make towing the Conquerer 440 camper trailer a breeze.
Communications are handled with a GME 3550s UHF which comes with a remote controlled microphone speaker built into the hand unit. A Strike iPhone cradle is hardwired for power and connected to an external RFI antenna, while extra 12V power and USB sockets have been fitted up in the rear storage wing, plus voltmeter and overhead light in the tailgate.
With the main touring gear and 12V essentials all installed and wired in place, it was time for Nathan and Tania to get to work personalising their rig – it was going to be their home away from home for a year after all!
A Department of the Interior custom roof console was bolted up top in order to maximise internal storage and to provide a location for rocker switches, while a set of rear seat organisers have helped keep gear in the cabin organised. A set of slimline weather shields were fitted up to the windows and SandGrabba floor matts have been placed in the front and rear to protect the carpet from most of the inevitable mud and dust that makes its way inside.
Full underbody rust protection was applied by Rust Free Moorooka, with protection applied to all doors, panels and the engine bay. Pompanazzi paint protection was applied to the full vehicle.
Nathan and Tania’s 200 Series is a labour of love, a 4WD built with a purpose in mind and a dream to realise. Setting off on a big lap around the country is an aspiration for most 4WDers who’ve yet to see the country in its entirety, if this is you, take some inspiration from those who had a vision, made a plan and saw it through.