Feb. 01, 2006 By ORC STAFF
iceland.jpg Yes I do know this truck, but I can't tell you how's truck it is because nobody knows anymore. It is registered to one of the Icelandic mountain rescue teams, but only because then no taxes need to be paid of it... The story of this truck is as follows. Few years ago the Reykjavik's ( Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland ) fire department, which also runs the ambulance service with ambulances owned by the Icelandic red cross, felt that they were incapable of reaching people that hurt themselves outside the pavement. The Econolines (2wd and 4wd) were just not capable of getting to these places, and the drivers not dressed, skilled or equipped to deal with such conditions. The Rescue Teams did however have the experience, equipment and skills, but as they are manned by volunteers it takes some 20 minutes to start them. So an agreement was made between the fire department and two of the rescue teams for cooperation. The Rescue Teams would train few people from the fire department and when the call would come, the fire department would go and the Rescue Teams would then follow them as a backup team. Of course the fire department needed a real field ambulance to do this, and that's were the Toy came in. The Icelandic Toyota dealer gave the two Rescue Teams a Land Cruiser GX. (Since the Rescue Teams are non profit charity organisations the dealer got some Tax reduce from this which the would not have if they had given the Red Cross or the fire department the truck!...). The truck was then modified on cost of the fire department, the Icelandic way, and the Red Cross then gave all the stuff a real ambulance need. So "who owns this truck?", is a bit tricky question!! If you look close at the front bumper of the truck you can see the blue emergency lights in it. (Otherwise the truck is very striped on that picture) . This picture comes from the cover of a local sports magazine, that was published probably 4 - 5 years ago. Today the Truck looks a lot more radical and now three rescue teams also have Cruiser similar to this one. These trucks are modified mostly in the same way and are made to float on top of the snow. (When the snow gets 2 - N yards deep, that's the only way to keep going.) Here is a list of some of the modifications that were maid to these trucks: Suspension lift: 3 - 4 inches, using Downey or Old Man Emu coils along with custom blocks and spacers. Body lift, needed for 44" tires: 4 inches. Custom fibreglass cut out fender flares. Rear axle moved backwards 6 inches (a lot of bodywork needed!). 4.88:1 ring and pinion set. Extra transfer case reduction unit, giving two low ranges and a total ratio of 1:120 on the 5-speed STD cruisers. (A must in deep snow) A extra hydraulic jack instead of the steering damper to steer those monsters. (Icelandic invention, I think) Extra fuel tank giving total capacity of some 200 - 230 litres. Intercooler on the 24valve Turbo diesel engine, along with 3" exhaust, boosting power to some 200 - 230 hp. 15x16 (yes, not 16x15) wheels for the 44", 15x14 for 38". And of course a roof rack, some fog, driving and work lights, CB, VHF, HF and a mobile phone, GPS and coming this autumn for at least one truck a Pentium labtop with MacLand software for "spot on the map" navigation. Good navigation equipment is very important when the snow-storm is so bad you can't even see your windshield wipers. A winch, for front or rear towing. An air compressor for filling of those tires. And a lot more ..... Problems with these "Snow" Cruisers: The front Diff of the 80 models no longer live up to the Land Cruiser legend, so an Extra diff should be carried along wherever you go! Iceland has moved away from the rest of the world in truck modification techniques, simply because we use the trucks differently. Those monster tires are not used anywhere in the world for real performance as in Iceland, I think. The Icelandic trucks are not made to look good but to be nice to drive and be safe to drive, and to be able to compete with snowmobiles!! For example, in May, I drove one of those Cruisers across Vatnajokull glacier (the world third largest), at the speed of 70 - 120 km/hour (45-75 miles per hour), You don't do that in a show vehicle. Well that's it. I've just subscribed to that TLCA mailing list, to see what you are doing there on the West side of the Atlantic. Personally I only have a dirt bike and love riding on it, but as a member of one of those Rescue Teams, I do some off and heavy on roading in those Toys and there big brother, a MAN 8.150 (Truck similar to the Unimog). Maby I'll hear from you again. Runar Sigurjonsson, from Iceland. ---- [email protected]

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