At Recreational Society, we have an unapologetic love for Troopys, the mighty Toyota Landcruiser 70/75/78 series [not forgetting the FJ45]. And Tyler Anderson has just finished his…
Before we get into the Troopy, there’s the Anderson family backstory of VW’s and restoring them. Your Dad Brent loves them aye, did you grow up with him tinkering away on VW’s and did this lead to your own desire to do restorations? And you did a bug restore aye?
Dad has always had some sort of project happening in the background. The Kombi came into the family when my brother and I were quite young. That was probably our first exposure to a restoration process and we had the pleasure of enjoying the Kombi growing up in Taranaki. A local VW guy had this 1971 Bug that he wanted to re-home. Dad gave me the opportunity to restore it so we took on the project together and the car eventually turned out great. The air-cooled VWs are a really good platform to learn on.
Automotive projects have sort of become the secondary hobby to surfing in our Family. My Brother Connor and I recently started Ando Werks (Youtube and Instagram) a platform to share the process as we get into some of the more interesting builds. He is currently starting on a 4wd Toyota Hiace ex ambulance that will be modified into a basic camper setup.
I still have the Bug 15 years later, some projects never end they just keep evolving. We are about to start a build series on the Ando Werks channel. We will be doing a EFI conversion on the Bugs’ air-cooled engine bringing in some technology focused on modern drivability.
The Beetle was the catalyst for all my projects to date but the Kombi really highlights what is practical, as a surfer I really appreciate usable space in a vehicle.
How’d Brent deal with your transfer to Toyota, was there a VW Kombi ever considered?
He questioned most of my previous cars but it is pretty hard to argue with a Toyota Land cruiser. He even recognised the potential in the Troppy as it rolled off the transporter truck and dripped oil on his driveway. VWs are still considered. I have a weird attraction to the 80’s Kombis. I would really like a T3 Syncro Doka, they are super rare so I probably will never find a good one for sale. They are a 4wd double cab truck. A good google exercise.
Why’d to get the Troopy, was it to camperise it, like did you consider camperising the HJ60?
The HJ60 was still in Australia at the time, I was driving it around over there in my time off work. I had been getting frustrated with the Subaru I had at home it was never big enough.
When the Troopy came up for sale I had a vision of how I wanted it. I purchased it and immediately pulled it apart, all the way down to a bare shell. You can’t always buy what you want so I had to build it. I just wanted something that I could drive anywhere and not be limited on space. I wanted to carry bikes, surfboards, snowboards and all that sort of recreational gear as well as the daily stuff like moving furniture around or towing a trailer.
It started with that concept, then later when I wanted to do some more exploring around NZ. It became the perfect truck.
How do you use the Troopy?
It gets used for everything really. I am often on the road between Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty chasing waves. I use it to tow a Jetski and get up to the ski fields.
Recently my partner and I have done the Length of the North Island. Cape Reinga to Wellington camping along the way.
After the initial resto, what are the big mods you’ve done to camperise it?
A Feldon Roof Tent, with the ladder extension.
Rhino rack 2m awning.
ARB flat rack. I chose this one because its the easiest to put longboards on without the raised edges. But the tent is up there now so the longboards go inside.
Side steps/sliders, needed these to stand on to reach the rack.
I put Recaro seats and cupholders in. They actually make such a difference for long distance driving.
It was fully blasted and undersealed by Autoblast; that is important with old trucks known to rust.
How’s the back set up?
I basically left it as an empty space. Without the Troopy side seats. It’s more usable for me that way. It is fully insulated with Dynamat and marine carpet including the roof to keep the noise down. The marine carpet is good because it dries quickly if it gets wet. I put tie down points in the back that have bungee straps attached to them. Really handy for stopping things flying around in there. It has some canvas straps across the roof to form an interior roof rack, good for putting surfboards up out of the way to open up the floor space and for hanging wet towels. On the back of the passenger seat I have a seat back organiser. The Troopy doesn’t have any cubbyholes so its there to put things in. I also keep a Yeti load out box in there that has some basic tools, recovery gear and camping items, its just a handy place to store all that stuff. There is a holder mounted to the wall for my water jug and a LED lantern that charges by the USB in the stereo.
How do you overnight in it; how are you cooking and storing food?
I like to run a pretty minimalist operation to be honest its not very often I stay in one place for more than 2 days. I generally just eat when passing through somewhere convenient and always have breakfast sorted with enough snacks like fruit and nuts to keep going. I try to cram everything in the chilly bin so its all in one place. So far I have been lucky enough to be traveling with friends that have a gas cooker. It is satisfying cooking out in the wilderness, it becomes one of the days activities. A cooker and a hotplate will probably be one of the next additions to the setup. I like simple things so the less dishes the better.
What’s the plan for the Troopy and near future trips?
A few short trips around the Coromandel are on the cards and I would like to do a South Island mission this winter. I only really need a cooker and a warmer sleeping bag to be ready for the trip.
The dream would be too snowboard and surf as many locations as possible down there. Hopefully Connors’ Hiace is ready by thenThe Troopy is ready to go but I will do the injectors and a few other maintenance items to be sure.