We all have an inner child. A part of us that cares not for practicalities but instead gets its kicks from the nonsensical and idiosyncratic. Which is why kids like Lamborghini’s so much… I mean, what’s more far out than a Lamborghini? – Two Lamborghini’s? Maybe a Lamborghini with guns on it? No.
See I’ve always enjoyed thinking about the doomsday scenario. I’m not sure if you will be able to relate to that but there’s something thrilling about the thought of the challenges one would encounter, should you find yourself among the last of our species. So picture the scene; Nuclear war has broken out. An experimental chemical was put in some of the nuclear bombs that unknown to its creator, brings the dead back to life animation with the intent to eat the living. You and maybe a loved one need to fight not only for your lives, but the survival of the human race.
You need a car that’s up to the job. Now obviously this would be a custom build. But which car should you start with? One you may need to live in for a long, long time as you’ll be traveling to find other survivors for years maybe. So it needs to be large and luxurious. It’s got to have all terrain capabilities – you don’t know where this journey is going to take you. And of course incredibly robust too. Can’t be breaking down with all that radioactivity outside (which rules out a Range Rover). Nor can it just crumple like origami in a collision. Better not forget speed as well. You may end up having to floor it once in a while to get to somewhere or away from something. But what do you pick?
There’s only one vehicle that truly ticks all those boxes without any fuss and that’s the Toyota J200 Land Cruiser V8. But before I explain in great detail what modifications would be needed to make this already monolithic brute zombie proof, allow me to explain why the Land Cruiser is the perfect vehicle to start with..
It’s a vehicle that can trace its origins back to the second world war. At the time the Japanese Imperial Army had got its hands on a Willys Jeep. They decided they needed a rugged utility vehicle for the same purpose, so ordered Toyota to reverse engineer it. The result was several incarnations of Jeep inspired prototypes and production models for military use over the following years. However after the start of the Korean war, the US government asked Toyota to build a hundred vehicles in the spec that the Willys Jeep had been built in. A year later and it was realised that the public interest in a military derived utility vehicle was real. So in 1951 the Toyota Jeep BJ prototype was developed, three years after Land Rover had capitalised on the same gap in the market with the Series 1.
Although late to the game, in 1953 Toyota began production of the BJ for civilian use. It was fairly popular and later on in 1955 production to replace it with a more user friendly model began. The result was the J20. Following this there were a few updates that occurred, but it was in 1960 when things really began to pick up. This was the year they introduced the J40. The first “Land Cruiser” most of us will be familiar with, even if not always referred to as such.
The impact this vehicle had worldwide was tremendous. Wherever there was a desert, there was a J40 to cross it. Wherever there was a glacier, there was a J40 to conquer it. And wherever there was a jungle, you could bet to find a J40 somewhere in it, going where no car had gone before. Meanwhile Land Rovers were merely breaking down where no car had broken down before. This was reflected in the rapid acceleration of sales figures for Toyota; in 1965 Toyota produced the 50,000th Land Cruiser. Only three years later that number was doubled. In four years it was doubled again to 200,000. Then in 1973 production had hit 300,000 units world wide. It should be said though, that figure also includes the J50 – a more comfort orientated Land Cruiser which was produced from 1967 to 1980. Something that in itself was a particularly long run.
Disclaimer: Now, it’s when these more comfort focused Land Cruisers are brought into the equation while the hard core off-road Land Cruisers are also being made that things start to get a bit confusing, so bear with me. In 1980 the J50 was replaced with the J60. A car that bares a much closer resemblance to what we today would recognise as an SUV. It was this model which was the 1,000,000th Land Cruiser to roll off the production line in 1981, and was much more luxurious than the outgoing models it replaced. So much so that it even had air conditioning. Something which at this time was very fancy. I don’t quite know how but along with the Jeep Renegade, it became a symbol of teenage freedom and discovery in popular culture. It’s… Beachy. It’s only too easy to imagine taking a road trip with your friends across the country in this car just after getting your license in eighties America. And for me as a millennial, it gives an insight into a world I’ll never get to experience. A world before smartphones. Where people were different. Untainted and innocent. A time when it really was possible to just hit the road with your friends and see where you ended up without the fuss it would cause now. Almost like the J60 offers a charming nostalgia to people younger than it. I can’t explain it. But that’s what it symbolises to me and a few others.
In 1984 the J40 was replaced with the J70. A car which is still produced today and very popular in Africa. There it averages 6400 sales per month. And in 1989, production of the J60 ended to make way for the J80. The most capable and by far the most luxurious Land Cruiser up to this point. It was the first Land Cruiser to feature a CD player in 1993, and can now be picked up for as low as £4000 in the UK. In 1995 it was also offered as a Lexus as the LX. Unlike the current LX, it made no comprises to the car’s robustness and off-road ability in place for luxury, and slightly more money than the Land Cruiser too.
Eventually came the J100, essentially a much more fantastic J80 which sold like wildfire across the world and is really the perfect car for you if you’re looking into getting into off-roading as a rookie as it’s not too expensive and has tremendous abilities. When the going gets tough it’ll not be phased by obstacles that many current SUV’s in even Range Rover’s line up would be fumbled by. The one to look out for is the limited edition ‘Amazon’ as it offers the best levels of kit and these are generally looked after more than a normal Land Cruiser. It was also a popular car in the Middle East and sadly gained the attention of terrorist groups. Since when they’ve stuck to using Toyotas as a tool. So much so that there was even an official investigation looking into why ISIS had managed to attain so many Land Cruisers and the similar Hilux models too.
Never the less though in 2007, Toyota came out with the J200 model. At first it faced criticism from some for being over-the-top retro and ugly, however opinions on style are purely subjective and I happen to think it’s quite a muscular looking vehicle. As it happens, it looks this way because it is. Weighing in at 2.6 tones it’s a gargantuan vehicle. A full 400kg heavier than it’s closest rival, the Range Rover. It’s no wonder then why J200’s are the car of choice for NATO and the UN. Which leads me back to our fictional J200 that’ll be used in the fictional apocalypse..
Modifications would still need to be done to make this road legal tank apocalypse-proof. (Even if in an actual apocalypse, attaining almost all of these items would be nearly impossible.) So here’s the modifications in question that’ll make the J200 apocalypse-worthy:
– Fuel stations will still be around but they’ll be deserted. Everyone else in the immediate vicinity is dead so best keep the big V8 as the price of diesel won’t be much of a concern, nor will eco-friendly-ness.
– With that previous point in mind a long range fuel tank will be added too.
– The V8 would be supercharged and the engine air filter would be several times larger and more effective than the stock one. Reason being that the air will be full of impurities such as dust, harmful chemicals, oh and nuclear radiation. Which are all good things not to have in your engine.
– A device to control the richness of the air/fuel mixture on the go will also be implemented to produce high horse power (as any self respecting Mad-Max inspired vehicle should do), but also allow for ultra high range economy when needed.
– The suspension would be made up of aftermarket all-terrain orientated springs, shocks, and drop arms. After all, there’s no way to know what kind of terrain that’ll be encountered on this journey and you could end up anywhere in the world. As much articulation as possible while still delivering maximum grip without actually rolling over will be a priority.
– Chances are this car will be a home for quite some time too. Given this, the rear will be converted to a fold out bed area when the rear seats are down with many storage compartments built into it. These will be used to store packets of freeze-dried food. (The same kind of packaged foods that astronauts use.) The front passenger seat bottom will be removable to reveal a lavatory underneath, which flushes via vacuum. Toiletries are designated to the glove box to be accessible from the seat.
– The interior would also have to be protected from radiation in some way. So the vehicle would be armoured with a layer of lead in the bodywork to protect from even gamma radiation. Which leaves the issue of what to do with the windows? They would be made with a high lead content in them too, to also protect against radiation.
– It’s no use having all that protection from radioactivity while pumping breathing air full of it into the cabin so to address that, the cabin will be air tight and have it’s own air supply. The air filter in this system would be two Tesla Bio-weapon defence air filters. To make sure as little radiation as possible is taken into the cabin’s air supply.
– Since you won’t be able to leave the vehicle for a very long time, you can’t exactly get out to change a tyre. So it’ll be equipped with big chunky off-road run flat tyres.
– Light bars will face in all directions so that even the most far away of threats are easily detected in the dark.
– The bodywork will have an electric current running through it which can be turned off and on to incapacitate attackers. Which of course in this situation may even be some of the last other humans alive.
– Raytheon batteries which had accessible terminals from the interior of the vehicle would be used in the armour. The advantage here is that the vehicle has a power supply for much longer than it would do otherwise when the engine is off. Allowing occupants to use of luxuries when the vehicle is off.
– A sensor would turn off the ignition when the battery levels are low. To prevent the vehicle from being stranded with flat batteries.
Now that all these vital modifications have been installed, this vehicle is now ready to face anything the forthcoming zombie apocalypse can throw at it. If there is anything we’ve missed, please feel free to let us know in the comments below. Maybe list some tools that your perfect doomsday vehicle would have as well?
By James Harrison