The Working Man Challenge was in it’s infancy stage in March so in the back of my mind I was keeping my eye out for the optimum car for under $1000. I was looking for a Ford Bronco, K5 Blazer or a Jeep Cherokee ZJ/WJ. All these cars have their plusses and minus’ but what I really wanted was an 80 series Landcruiser. I currently have one and it’s one of the touchest and capable vehicles ever made. I thought there was no chance of getting one for under $1000, so I didn’t look hard. Then I found this beaut for sale as parts for $800.

80 Series when she was first picked up
80 Series when she was first picked up

It’s a 1992 FJ80 with every window smashed except for the windshield and the sunroof (which still works!!) I called up the owner and talked him down to $550 on the phone and he assured me that everything mechanically worked on the vehicle. So that Friday evening myself and Ross (Another Working Man Challenge participant) drove to Silverthorne (2 hours away) to pick her up. Upon getting to the car we found out the battery was toast and the berfields we clicking, which to get repaired properly cost more than the car, so we ended up getting the rig for $500. I was off to a pretty good start.


After getting it back to Aspen I fired it up with a new battery and to my surprise after the EFI learnt where the hell it was, the car ran like a top. So before the deep clean we took her for a run up Express Creek Road to see what she needed. The car had no key and the barrel busted out of the ignition. However the steering lock hadn’t been totally mitigated and while hammering up the cliffside trail the steering lock came on. Luckily a tree saved me. Item no. 1, fix the steering lock…


Since then I’ve done some mods on cutting the top off and removing the doors. It’s starting to look a lot better.



I have also recently added a light bar, which I’m excited to check out at night on the trail. It actually fits into the factory roofrack mounts.












Below is a lot of the entire budget that I’ll keep a running tally on:

Budget Car Purchase $500

Tires (35”)                   $100

Mount tires                 $60

Swivel Hub Seal Kit     $40

Grease for repack       $50

New front brake pads $25

New ignition barrel    $25

Chop the top off          $0

Total                            $800


There are some items which as a collective have decided to not include in the budget. These include battery and off road lights (no performance added and the race is during the day). This gives me $200 to get a front and rear bumper, and hopefully find a lunchbox locker for $100 somewhere.

I will keep you posted with each mod.

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