Any icon can be improved. The Sydney Harbour Bridge? Just add fireworks. The English language? Just add ‘on fleek’. The 79-series LandCruiser dual cab? Just add a full conversion kit by Rambler Vehicles Australia. Mater Cars for Cancer? Just add your ticket to the mix.
Rambler Vehicles, founded by Kris Humphreys and Brad Russell, has been creating turn-key off-road touring solutions since 2018, improving not only the 79-series, but anything else with four wheels and a bit of ground clearance. Chevs, Fords, Isuzus and even the latest 300-series LandCruiser wagons have all come under Rambler’s scrutiny, because no matter how good it’s made, there’s always the chance to make it better.
What began off the back of a TJM franchise is now a completely separate entity, meaning clients have the freedom to choose whatever is appropriate for their build, whether that be ARB, Outback Armour or others. The guys still use a lot of TJM products because they know it’s good gear, and there’s plenty fitted to the 79-series that could be yours.
Kris from Rambler Vehicles explains, “Mater Foundation asked us to build something that would allow a family of four to take off around Australia.” It appears all too simple until he adds, “And not need anything else.”
To me, those are the key words because unless you’ve been there as Kris has many times, it may seem fanciful that an already-capable machine would require nearly $100k of improvements for you to ‘not need anything else’. But it’s no secret that Australia is next-level in terms of hard-going, and it’s widely acknowledged that the factory fitments will only get you so far. Regardless of where they get you they’re not going to keep you rested, safe and dry, because the 79-series dual cab is, at its core, a car not a camper. Rambler Vehicles changes all that, and enlists some great companies along the way to complete that vision.
I’m not going to take you through every modification; not all of it is entertaining, just necessary, especially if you don’t want to end up memorialised on a plaque a thousand miles from nowhere. But I am going to take you through my favourite mods, because this 79-series LandCruiser dual cab is part car, part camper, part beast, part brilliance.
First and foremost is the lightweight alloy integrated canopy and tray combo produced by Spinifex Manufacturing. The Midi size allows heavy ancillaries like full jerry cans and spare wheels to be mounted within the length of the original tray, making for a nimble and agile fourby when the going gets rough. I love how the colour-coded Spinifex Midi integrates such luxuries as factory central locking and sleek LED taillights, plus it makes the perfect perch for the camping gear.
We all love a good caravan; even if you don’t own one, there’s something snug and cool about compartmentalising your life, even if it’s just for a week away. These days, you can get some fairly high-riding, hugely nimble off-road caravans and in fact, Mater Cars for Cancer have given a few away to people lucky enough to have their ticket drawn (do you have yours?). Ultimately though, they do hinder outright off-roading performance when things get insane in the rough terrain.
Allaying the need for a caravan is the iKamper Skycamp 3.0 hard shell rooftop tent. The low-profile shell is barely over a foot in height and can be used for storage when you’re not snoozing yet opens up in just one minute to become a fully-lined, waterproof family bedroom that’s usable all year round.
I currently own two panelvans, so I know there’s some major acrobatics involved when you want to do seemingly easy things like getting changed, but Hardkorr has that covered, literally. Their 270-degree awning is fitted to the prize pool 79-series; it’s free-standing, lightweight and is wind-rated up to 30 knots, so rooftop contortions are kept to a minimum and the sleeping area can be used for just that; sleeping.
While all this equipment is designed to be lightweight, it all adds up, especially when you bung in a Bushman upright fridge, RV Storage Solutions drawer system, Spinifex LED lighting systems, Hardkorr battery and more. To ensure the LandCruiser 70 hasn’t got its slug on while getting its Grug on, it's copped a big-bore 3.5” Legendex exhaust, and ECU remap to suit.
As any good street machiner will tell you, extra power is nothing without extra strength in other areas, and while a sporty exhaust and remapped ECU isn’t going to cause the 4.5 litre turbo V8 to destroy drivelines like a boisterous big block, the extras aren’t going to help, especially if you want to get overly adventurous.
Steve at Dwiz Diff Housings has the solution, with Mater Cars for Cancer kitting out the 79-series with heavy duty sheetmetal Dwiz rear diff housing. Fabricated from 6mm plate and stitched together with inner trusses for extra strength, it’s as robust as it is awesome, and increases the vehicle’s GVM meaning the copious won’t detract from the car’s load carrying and towing abilities. Best of all, Dwiz Diff Housings is a family-run business building these units just up in Hervey Bay.
To me, it’s these features that make the Mater Cars for Cancer lottery No. 112 prize pool 79-series LandCruiser part car, part camper, part beast, part brilliance; the most important bit to take away is that it could be all yours, and Australia your oyster. Can’t afford to take the time off work? An extra $142,447 in cashable gold bullion probably says you can. You’ll just need a ticket to make sure you’re in the draw to win it all.