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SUV youngtimers and oldtimers: These ten off-roaders are worth buying

Buying tip for SUV young and old timers
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D ie types in detail:

  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Lada Niva
  • Land Rover Defender
  • Mercedes G
  • Nissan Patrol
  • Range Rover
  • Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer
  • Suzuki LJ80
  • Toyota Land Cruiser J4
  • Toyota RAV4

To start with, an explanation of the terms: The SUV, literally “Sport Utility Vehicle”, only became a softie when the term was Europeanized. Originally, this generic term simply referred to any off-road vehicle in the USA, its country of origin. And that already decades before a BMW X5 or a VW Tiguan took the stage. In the classic sense, a rock-hard leaf-spring Land Rover from 1960 is an SUV.

The era of civilian off-road vehicles began well over 70 years ago: in 1942, the first Jeep CJ (Civilian Jeep ) the era of off-road vehicles for everyone. Like many other makes after him, derived from an originally military vehicle, he brought the subject of off-roading to private households and civil institutions.

In our subjective list of young and old timers worth buying, we don't go back that far. Instead, you will find both H-license plate aspirants and slightly patinated models from around the turn of the millennium, which are already suitable for collectors' items, but are not yet on the lists of the relevant scene. Because the 1990s and early 2000s brought what is undoubtedly the most capable and most reliable off-road vehicle technology to fans, before increasing electronics overkill and more and more orientation towards road driving behavior that is as close to a car as possible led to modern SUVs, which in many cases have nothing to do with real off-road driving experience

The first Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is still the most off-road car the brand has ever built.

Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon

When Jeep presented the Wrangler TJ, the fan community was pretty excited. The return to round headlights and above all the new coil spring axles caused a lot of euphoria after the rustic predecessor YJ. However, the scene reacted even more euphorically to the later added Rubicon, with various accessories ex works (and accordingly with a full factory warranty) that had to be painstakingly upgraded beforehand.

Above all, the ultra-short 4: 1 reduction gear and the much more robust axles, equipped with 100 percent locks, made the difference. The comparatively compact and light Jeep Wrangler thus became the benchmark of the off-road scene, which no other series-produced SUV of its time could follow. Because the stock of original TJ Rubicon used cars is relatively manageable, especially in Germany, there is still a plan B for those interested: buy a 'normal' TJ and then convert it yourself, as is commonplace in the Wrangler scene. Only the famous six-cylinder in-line, it should be. By tradition.

  • Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon
  • Construction period Wrangler TJ entire series 1996-2006
  • Stock (D) as of 01.01 .2017: 2,924 (all TJ)
  • LxWxH 3,883x1,740x1,748 mm
  • Six-cylinder in-line petrol engine, 3,960 cm³, 177 PS
  • Former new price (2004) from EUR 30,800
  • Used car price (2018) from EUR 11,000

Torsten Seibt The exterior of the Lada Niva has practically not changed since the 1970s.

Lada Niva

The has been croaking for an unbelievable 41 years Lada Niva meanwhile through woods and fields without having changed significantly. Here different lamps, there a little modernized mirrors, plus at irregular intervals fairly modernized motors. But the basic shape and concept of today's Niva are still exactly identical to the original model, which caused astonishment among experts in 1976. But it was never free of criticism, even as a new car it shows considerable fluctuations in the manufacturing quality.

Its merits are the compact dimensions and the corresponding bustle as well as the fact that it somehow always runs, no matter how you are mistreated him. In every generation he still lacked the power for a real alarm, the small car machines want to be turned, the terrain reduction is only moderately short and when deep water crossings the liquid runs out of a hundred openings into the interior. Lada connoisseurs love that as a strength of character.

If you follow the Niva would like to give your heart, it doesn't really matter which year of construction you choose. The technical and optical condition is more important than the age, rotten cars from hunting and forest do not have to be done in view of the price level. However, early carburetor models are only a good choice for oldie enthusiasts, because the thirst of the first years is dismaying given the displacement. Important cornerstones of the model's history are the more extensive facelift measures in 1995 and 2000.

Already a legend during his lifetime: The Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender

In 2016, Land Rover rang the death bell for the Defender after 68 years of construction. Further development was discontinued for economic reasons. It is all the more important to cherish and maintain the existing models. Even older, 20-year-old models have developed into an investment since production ended. This is likely to increase in the future, if you don't own a Defender but have always wanted one, you should gradually step on the gas.

Early 90 and 110 variants from the pre-Defender era have to not necessarily, the engines of the then Series Land Rover successors are of dubious durability. What it should be afterwards in the Defender era introduced in 1989 remains a matter of taste. Many fans consider the 300 TDI to be the ultimate Defender drive, others swear by the powerful sounding TD5 (see technical data), while opinions on the modern Ford engines of recent years are mixed. Newcomers should in any case hire a specialist for the object of desire as an advisor who knows about the weak points of the British and can give an assessment. As with the Toyota Land Cruiser, the supply of spare parts for the Defender is problem-free and the scene in Germany is large.

2018 comes the new G-Class, all models before that are based on the original G from 1979.

Mercedes G

Everyone who is interested in the subject of off-road vehicles, of course, knows the Mercedes G. It is conceived as a mountain-goat military car now bought almost exclusively as a status symbol and boulevard cruiser. As long as its history is also that of its designs: Various body variants from short convertibles to long pickups and not to forget the dozen of engines from the respective car shelvescorresponding era since 1979.

These car engines also make it a bit difficult to make a separate recommendation, even in the fan scene there is heated discussion about it. There is some agreement that the early five-liter V8s are the ideal engine when it comes to durability. But this inevitably requires the luxury model 463. In this case we want to break a lance for the more rustic 460/461. The early 460s are in demand today and are actually too good for regular off-road use if they have not already been used intensively to the dirty job by the previous owner. Of course, the 300 GD with its practically indestructible pre-chamber diesel is to be preferred among the original engines of the time, which does not take you particularly quickly, but absolutely reliably to the end of the world.

Today, most 461s are emerging Military vehicles specialized dealers to customers. The 250 GD in particular are something for people with a lot of time on the way from A to B, the 290 GD with the 95 hp diesel at least rudimentarily bring a noteworthy propulsion. You should have around 18,000 euros for such an ex-military. However, if you prefer a fresh oldie with a lot of power, you are welcome to invest twice as much and go looking for a G 280 CDI Pur, as we describe it in the technical data - the range is scarce, but available.

A real workhorse and in the short version also completely suitable for the city: The Nissan Patrol GR.

Nissan Patrol GR Y61

A car for speeders, the Nissan Patrol GR has never been. Even at the end of his career with us, when he started with a quite powerful three-liter engine, it was difficultSUVs more sumo than sprinters. The Y61 made our list of the best for a variety of reasons. Above all, of course, his excellent terrain technology. Ladder frame, two rigid axles on coil springs, short terrain reduction and a switchable rear axle lock, like from the textbook of off-road vehicle construction. The Achilles heel of the Patrol GR, which we officially sell, has always been its machine. In terms of performance, the original 2.8-liter six-cylinder was lost in the heavy equipment and also had thermal problems. The introduction of the ZD30 four-cylinder engine brought the desired performance boost, but also massive problems. In the beginning, the oil supply in particular was in a mess. As a goodwill gesture, customers received a series of replacement engines. Anyone who is interested in the Patrol GR today can actually put this topic aside: The exchange machines generally worked quite reliably.

The Range Rover from the first series created a classic and decades-long 'durable' design that Land Rover continues to resonate to this day.

Range Rover

The Range Rover, introduced in 1970, which they later dubbed Classic ”is one of the great icons in the automotive business. For a quarter of a century it remained true to its rigid axles and the light metal V8 with its unmistakable sound, which was continuously developed further, and only experienced marginal changes to the elegant, airy body design. The very early specimens, which jumped to death from the shovel, have long been traded at enthusiast prices, but in between there are always affordable pearls worth saving.

Whoever should also be in the car should be hidden in betweenWant to move everyday use, choose a slightly younger model. The 3.9 V8 with injection system is still considered the ideal choice in the range, the diesel models, which are particularly popular in southern Europe, are only something for really die-hard preheating junkies who consider the inappropriate nail in the noisy housing to be justifiable. In addition to the brown plague, the weak points of the noble Briton are primarily oil leaks and the not particularly resilient axle inners - after all, the full floater axle shafts can be easily replaced. For a very long time, however, you shouldn't let yourself go with the decision, good Range Rovers are slowly becoming rare.

Torsten Seibt
Shorter than a modern pickup, but incredibly robust and fun: The Puch Pinzgauer.

Steyr-Puch Pinzgauer

Simply doing everything differently, that is not a privilege of French car manufacturers. The Puch Pinzgauer is a fine example of how moving away from the standard can bring refreshing results. It already starts with the substructure, where the developers simply continued the concept of the cute Haflinger two sizes larger. A central tubular frame to which the half-axles are attached, a reduction gear, an air-cooled motor. Thanks to the portal axles, the Pinzgauer achieves outstanding ground clearance, and the front-link design with the engine practically in the interior of the vehicle makes it very economical in terms of space. In fact, the Pinzgauer 4x4 with an exterior length of just 4.17 meters is more compact than a VW Golf. And even the wonderful three-axle Pinzi, blessed with a proud payload of over 1.5 tons, with its 4.9 meters looks very delicate compared to modern mid-size pickups. Although Steyr Daimler Puch also offered the Pinzgauer as a civilian version, the vast majority of production went to armies all over the world and has now returned to the private market from there. Who is for thatOriginal - the production was sold to England in 2000 - interested, should mainly find vehicles from army stocks in Switzerland and Austria on the market.

The tiny Suzuki LJ 80 can now compete with a Smart when looking for a parking space .

Suzuki LJ 80

With the little Suzuki, off-road driving was democratized. The all-wheel drive dwarf was affordable and was considered an instant good-mood device. Til today. One of the few still quite affordable classic cars and therefore almost an insider tip. The LJ advanced to the Volks-Offroader and is considered the starting signal for the off-road vehicle scene in Germany. The LJ80 cultivated a motto that lives on in Jimny to this day: Small, light, super agile and a motor that you have to turn into the red area to really do meters off-road. Torque is practically non-existent, so the four-speed box can be stirred diligently.

Like so many of its contemporaries, the Suzuki LJ of course a real rust problem, especially specimens that were often moved off-road. Therefore, it is also important to pay attention to whether an interesting offer has been converted to a plastic body. This means that the superstructure is rust-free, but there is no longer an H mark.

The engine is relatively robust. And should a component actually strike, LJ80 screwdrivers have an advantage. Its components are as compact and clear as the entire car. Even narrow-chested people lift the transmission out, and the engine parts are motorcycle-sized. So you can do a complete restoration even as a standard garage owner inTake the attack.

Is considered a Toyota classic par excellence: The Land Cruiser J4.

Toyota Land Cruiser J4

The 'classic' Land Cruiser, as seen by the majority of off-road vehicle fans in this country, is undoubtedly a representative of the J4 series. And already here is a type compass rather impenetrable thicket. The Land Cruiser, presented in 1960 and first offered in Germany in 1977, with its characteristic shape - round headlights, free-standing fenders with attached indicators - caused a sensation as a rock-solid, but also indestructible contemporary. Compared to its competitors, especially the Land Rover, it offered considerably more power for a comparable range of applications, because Toyota was not economical with its displacement. The bearish suction diesels are legendary for their stability to this day, the FJ listed in the technical data with the beefy row six had a lot of lard under the hood for the times J4's mortal enemy is the same as with almost all other off-roaders of this era: rust. It is practically impossible to find an undamaged specimen with the sheet metal and frame, unless it is an expensive full restoration. In Germany there is a good offer, problem-free spare parts supply and an active and competent scene that is on hand with advice and action - for example at the annual bush taxi meeting. It should be emphasized that restored J4s in very good condition are not cheap, but are still affordable compared to other classic cars of this era.

It's still cheap, but the Toyota RAV4 has what it takes to become a popular classic.

Toyota RAV4

Finally, an SUV based on the new German language, namely the real inventor of the more street-oriented off-roader. In 1994 the first RAV4 squinted boldly from its headlights and amazed the professional world. But the idea of ​​placing a long-legged all-wheel drive with the typical hatchback look of an off-road vehicle on a roadworthy car chassis was extremely well received by customers, the RAV4 developed into a best seller and has long been a classic in its first generation.

One of the few that you can buy without fear. Little rust, the drive mechanism extremely inconspicuous, plus a lively driving behavior even by today's standards and still acceptable consumption. If everything fits in the sub-floor check and the history is traceable, little can go wrong, especially since prices are (still) deep in the basement. Especially the original RAV4, with its ultra-short 3.7 meters exterior length, is now considered a fun city flea. The slightly more family-friendly five-door model still undercuts a current VW Golf by ten centimeters.


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