The truck was one of the first 80 series 4.2l turbo diesel auto-trans LCs imported into Australia. It was actually used by Toyota Australia for press testing. At the time, I was living in Australia, and wanted to introduce the Australian 4X4 community to Icelandic modifications. To this end, I translated the Icelandic regulations and presented them to the New South Wales (NSW) Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), along with images of Icelandic vehicles that were similarly modified. I also presented my ideas to Toyota Australia, as at that time most 44" modified search and rescue vehicles were based on the 80 series LC.
The RTA were less than enthusiastic about my ventures, but Toyota Australia more so. They "lent" me the vehicle initially under some product development scheme. With a project vehicle secure, I got in touch with Toyota Iceland, P. Samuelsson, who now have a separate division for vehicle modifications called Arctic Trucks. They provided me with the fender flares and auxiliary hydraulic ram for the steering, plus some modification outlines.
Norm Needham, then owner of Traction4, a four wheel drive shop in NSW, allowed me to stick the truck into the back of his shop, and helped me carry out the modifications. All through the project, Norm, a veteran in the Australian 4X4 industry, was certain that I would never get the vehicle registered.
The regulations for vehicle modifications in Australia are very strict, but Australia has a local auto industry. For this industry there is a complete set of regulations called the Australian Design Rules (ADR). This is what I used. I hired an Automotive Engineer approved by the RTA to carry out ADR inspections. I had him test all aspects of the vehicle that were affected by the modifications. He carried out noise tests, and most importantly brake tests with a fully laden vehicle in order to certify that the additional wheel size would not affect emergency braking or brake fade. All the tests were passed within regulation. This was written up in an Engineers report that I still have a copy of. With this in hand, I went to an inspection station and got the vehicle registered. I believe it is the only legally registered 44” modified 4X4 in Australia to date.
With the vehicle registered, my product development project was completed, and I purchased the vehicle from Toyota Australia. The truck was very popular at Australian motor shows and was exhibited at quite a number of them.
When I left Australia the vehicle was purchased by Fred Smith, owner of Out of Town 4WD in NSW, a manufacturer of auxiliary water and fuel tanks. He later sold the vehicle to Terry Smith, owner of Exclusive Tyres in Queensland, importer of Cooper and Mickey Thompson tyres in Australia. As far as I know, Terry still owns the vehicle and uses it for long trips into the Australian outback.