Words by Andrew Middleton. Pictures supplied.
Despite the LC76 4.5-litre V8’s many merits, some folk have criticised the big Cruiser for its thirsty drinking habits – specifically on the highway. Toyota claims a figure of 11.9 l/100 km, but, in the real world, you’re more likely to get 13 l/100 km. Part of the problem could be attributed to the Cruiser’s short top-gear ratio. When driving at a steady 120 km/h, the venerable Toyota howls at over 2 900 rpm. With 151 kW, and enough torque to drag an oil tanker up a slipway, the Cruiser yearns for a longer top-gear ratio and you may find yourself regularly searching for a non-existent sixth gear.
Fortunately, LC70 V8 owners can now opt for an automatic gearbox conversion kit, thanks to our mates down-under. While the kit itself may hail from Oz, the actual automatic gearbox is a genuine Toyota 4-speed unit: originally the transmission option for the LC100. The conversion kit is supplied by a well-known company called Wholesale Automatics, which has been in the transmission business for 22 years and has become synonymous with automatic gearbox conversions.
The good news is that a South- African-based company, RFG Communications, has caught onto the idea, and they’re now importing the kits and fitting them to local Cruisers.