The search for our new adventure mobile is over. After a rather disappointing ebay battle which we initially lost we have eventually got our hands on the perfect vehicle. I spotted a Toyota Hilux Surf SSRX 3.0 Ltd after weeks of searching on Ebay and after reading the description thought it was too good to be true. I promptly added it to my watch list.
The vehicle was described as “probably one of the best 3.0L Turbo Diesel Toyota Hilux Surfs in The UK” and reading the description I had no reason to doubt this.
The oil, oil filter, air filter, fuel filter, transmission fluid, differential fluid, transfer box fluid and all grease points have been
checked and changed every 3000 miles. The cooling system has been flushed every 2 years using Toyota Red Coolant, flushing right through to the rear heaters and at the start and end of every winter the underneath has been power washed and wax sealed. This is just the start, the service history on this vehicle has been impeccable with new dual batteries, alternator
and thermostat fitted recently along with all new belts.
The 4x4 has never been taken off road and the current owner has had it for 7 years; basically for the year we are unlikely to find a better example. It has racked up 144,000 miles but for a diesel Toyota this age with this service history that really isn’t much at all.
When Emma arrived in Guernsey on Thursday evening I showed her the car, she noticed it was based in Northampton, which conveniently is just 30 minutes up the road from where she lives. After a couple of quick phone calls we had arranged for Emma’s dad to take the short trip up the road to inspect the 4x4 on the following Sunday (the day the auction ended). Armed
with a comprehensive list (which I shall upload to the resource section) of things to look at and check he spent a good 45 minutes checking the car over. It seemed the car was as good as the listing stated. On top of all this the guy that owns it had seen our website and was fairly excited at the prospect of his car travelling the world.
So Sunday evening arrived and after a bit more research and a look at our finances we decided on how much we were willing to spend on it and set up some sniper software to bid up to our maximum 2 seconds before the end of the auction. Unfortunately, as is always the way on Ebay someone else had more money. We lost the auction and slightly disappointed went to bed. At
4:45am a text message arrived from the owner (he was travelling to the U.S) stating that the woman that had won the auction could not afford to buy it and did we want it?
We promptly said yes and lay awake excited at the prospect of what was ahead of us. We shall pick the car up in a couple of weeks once Emma has returned to the UK.
I can’t wait for the next few months, although the car is pretty much mechanically sound we are still going to have to do a fair amount of work to it to get it expedition ready. Luckily for us some of the expensive stuff has already been done, the car
has had a 4" suspension lift fitted by LA Supertrux in Daventry, to take the larger 33x12.5 tyres and more importantly it has an ipod dock.
We are going to have to spend another couple of thousand pounds over the coming months on a fridge, roof tent, heat exchanger and shower, hi-lift jack, heavy duty tow points, awnings, spare wheels, snorkel, new heavy duty front bumper and a storage system in the back to utilise the space.
Once all the work has been carried out we are going to be equipped with one capable adventure mobile. I can’t wait.
Emma is currently with me in Guernsey, we are doing some serious planning. Due to a new starting point for our expedition, Europe is gonna get it first. We have decided that a lap of the United Kingdom would be a great way to test the car and all the equipment. This lap will take us the length of the country from Weymouth right up to the tip of Scotland. Due to the colder climate in the UK we have pushed our start date back to the beginning of March 2012. As a result of our new departure point we have updated the route map.
Europe, the birthplace of western culture, is the second smallest continent in the world, covering only 2% of the earth’s surface. It is comprised of a surprising 45 countries and varies hugely in topography, climate and culture. Our route will be by no means straightforward, although perhaps a gentler initial phase of the expedition. We hope to eventually pick up our original route in Iran, approaching through Turkey from the West. 45 countries!!! See how many you can name, then check your answers (honestly) here.
The new European route will take us through 24 countries and as far North as the edge of the arctic circle. We have tried to travel through as many countries that neither of us have visited before as well as countries that will offer truly stunning scenery. We have also designed our route to visit as many friends as possible.
After almost nine years, I have finally left the desert lands of Arabia. Travels and work around the peninsular have included the UAE, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Jordan so I can pretty much conclude that Arabia= tick. Unfortunately my off-road accomplice ‘Shero’ has had to stay in the UAE so the pressure is on for Andy and myself to find our new ‘Mystery Machine’; our cruising car, our voyage vehicle and our home for 800 days.
On the plus side, adventure planning is certainly easier when you’re in the same time zone, with the same weekends and 5290.54km closer. The geographical proximity of us adventure partners should see the planning now move up a gear, in more ways than one.