Shop Build: Slee Off-Road Toyota 80 Series Land Cruiser

Jul. 03, 2012 By Jaime Hernandez
Slee Off-Road built 1997 80 Series Land Cruiser

Anyone building a Toyota 80 Series Land Cruiser finds Slee Off-Road soon enough.  The specialty shop based out of Golden, Colorado, is dedicated to outfitting late-model Toyota off-road vehicles. They started modifying the '91-'97 Land Cruisers (80 Series) in 1998 and currently offer the largest range of products in the US dedicated to the 80 and 100 Series. They also support the 08+ 200 Series, Toyota 4Runners and Tacoma with an extensive line of top-tier aftermarket accessories and Slee Off-Road parts.

We recently ran into Christo Slee at Overland Expo, who turned us onto an 80 Series they helped build for a customer that has an eye for targets.

This multi-use FZJ80 Land Cruiser owned by Darryl Bragg is a full-fledged overland vehicle. Designed to carry supplies and be self-contained for travel to remote locations, it can also be packed light for a day on the trail. 

Sgt. Darryl Bragg enjoys exploring the backcountry and hunting. When time came to build a reconnaissance vehicle, he teamed up with Slee Off-Road to completely outfit his 80 Series Land Cruiser. The Toyota Land Cruiser is known for its reliability and legendary off-road capability. 

Gear and equipment carrying was the main focus of this build. At the same time, Slee Off-Road was able to make modifications for this Land Cruiser to be able to tackle more challenging trails.

Sgt. Bragg’s Land Cruiser was outfitted with a complete Slee Off-Road 4" suspension system. The Slee Off-Road suspension has extra load capacity, adds articulation and can accommodate up to 35-inch tires.

The front axle uses Slee’s machined radius arms, coil springs and Old Man Emu (OME) shocks. The front axle was completely rebuilt with Toyota OE bearings, gaskets and seals. Inside the front housing is an ARB Air Locker with 4.88 ratio ring and pinion gears.

The rear suspension features Slee’s 4" coil springs, OME shocks and an adjustable Slee Off-Road panhard bar. The rear axle was also rebuilt and houses an ARB Air Locker with 4.88 ratio ring and pinion gears.

A set of skinny 35x10.5 R16 Super Swamper Radial TSL mounted on 16 x 7 inch Toyota OEM steel wheels give the Land Cruiser a sure-footed off-road stance. The benefit to steel wheels is that they can easily be repaired on the trail from rock damage.


The front of the 80 Series has an aggressive look, a Slee Shortbus front bumper fitted with a Warn 9.5 XP-S winch with synthetic line. The winch line is tongue bolted with a Factor 55 shackle mount for added strength. A set of Rigid Industries Dually D2 LED lights are mounted on either side of the winch solenoid box. 

The Cruiser has some serious off-road lighting on the roof. Four Hella Ralley 4000 LED lights are mounted on a light bar with a protective mesh screen.

A Safari Snorkel adds off-road performance and function. The higher air intake gives entry to clean air on dusty trails and also ensures hydrolock doesn’t become a problem when fording through deep-water crossings. The engine air filter box securely connects to the Safari Snorkel through the fender.

Running from front to back is HD protection. Both factory running boards have been replaced with Slee-Off-Road SlideSteps that function both as rock sliders and steps. Underneath, the transfer case is protected with a bulletproof Slee Off-Road transfer case skid plate made from 1/4" steel.

In the rear, the Cruiser is outfitted with a Slee rear bumper made from 3/16" thick A656 hot-rolled grade-80 steel. The bumper gives full protection to the rear quarter panels and tailgate area. It has two swing outs. One with tire carrier, Hi-Lift and shovel mount;  the second with ladder and integrated carrier. Slee uses their own heavy-duty spindle with lock pins on swing-outs.

Climb the ladder onto an INTI roof rack, which runs the full length of the Land Cruiser’s roof. The added cargo area works great for long trips or just carrying essentials, like extra water and fuel. 


Under the hood is a reliable 4.5L 24-valve inline 6-cylinder Toyota Engine, Odyssey 1700 battery with auxiliary fuse holder for interior power distribution, and ARB Compressor with Pump-Up Kit. 


The driver’s cockpit has a number of integrated off-road buttons and switches, yet it still has the factory look. Roof lights, bumper lights, winch and compressor can all be activated from the instrument dash. The front and rear ARB Air Lockers can also be activated from the driver’s seat. To the right, a switch for the center diff lock adds traction and deactivates the ABS brakes during off-road travel.  Sgt. Bragg can even monitor the temperature of his Engel Fridge Freeze via a remote thermometer.

Both the second- and third-row seats were removed to better accommodate a custom drawer system with bed extension platform and cargo mount. The well-executed layout has clean lines and properly stores cargo.

Interior dome LEDs were added for illumination and low-energy draw. A full-length bed and Engel fridge freeze for food storage makes this base camp set-up something to look forward to after a long day on the trail or hunting. 

For added functionality, two 12V plugs were added in back, along with a powerful LED work light.

The work done to get this overland rig to its current state was a joint effort between Slee Off-Road and Sgt. Bragg. It’s a great example of what can come together when somebody has vision and drive to see it through. Having the support and Land Cruiser knowledge from Slee Off-Road has really made the difference.

To see more of Slee Off-Road’s work and offerings, make sure to check out their website below.

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