Toyota Stories – Liam Young’s 16-year, 410,000-mile Toyota Land Cruiser odyssey

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Toyota centre Mid-Ulster Cars in Northern Ireland got in touch with us on behalf of one of its customers, country veterinarian Liam Young. Liam was well known to the centre, having been loyal to it for 16 years. But instead of constantly updating his Toyotas to new models, Liam had returned year after year to service his trusty Land Cruiser, which as of August 2014 had covered 410,000 miles.

Naturally, we got into contact with Liam to hear what life with the car was like. Through the means of email and Skype, he told us: “I purchased my three-door Land Cruiser on July 15 1998 from Mid Ulster Cars in Cookstown, County Tyrone. The registration plate – WIW 1303 – had been refused by another man on grounds of superstition.”

Liam Young Toyota Land Cruiser odyssey

Fortunately, the gentleman’s superstitions were unfounded, and for the next 410,000 miles ‘1303’ proved itself to be “absolutely bulletproof.” Liam explained: “The same engine is still singing like a sowing machine (the agricultural kind). The turbocharger, gearbox and exhaust are all still original too.” To put that distance into perspective, 410,000 miles is equivalent to circumnavigating the Earth 16 times.

What’s even more remarkable is the kind of life that 1303 led with Liam. Day-to-day the car doesn’t get an easy ride; Liam’s job as a country vet means that he is often required to reach remote areas, accessed only via tough terrain. But 1303 has never missed a beat, as he explained: “The car went up and down roads and tracks similar to those seen in Helmand province! It tackled all sorts of weather, including the arctic conditions of 2010. Then, when I became a family man, 1303 had the dual function of being both workhorse and family car.”

Liam Young Toyota Land Cruiser odyssey

Liam Young Toyota Land Cruiser odyssey 2

Liam’s Land Cruiser is a 90-series model, which was a more sophisticated proposition than the 80-series before it. Though it still possessed the go-anywhere capability of its predecessor, its road manners were honed. The steering, for instance, was altered to rack and pinion, while double wishbone independent suspension was adopted at the front with four-link coil suspension with lateral rods at the rear. Most models in the line-up featured permanent four-wheel drive. Consequently, the 90-series married the reliability necessary to cover huge mileages with the levels of refinement and ease of driving required by drivers completing them.

Covering so many miles across so many years, we asked Liam to share with us some of his fondest memories of owning the car. “Hmm, that would probably be its first job,” he said. 1303 was the wedding carriage for Liam’s brother’s wedding, for which Liam was the best man. “When the photographer stood up on the hotel balcony to take a picture of all the wedding guests I parked the Toyota strategically in the background. My shiny new car seemed to upstage a lot of very posh ladies!” he reminisced.

Land Cruiser wedding

Through the years, Liam has kept 1303 in good working order: “I always serviced 1303 regularly with Mid Ulster Cars and would like to commend the team there for years of sterling support and customer service,” he said, adding that “1303 has become part of mid-Ulster folklore. My bond with 1303 was such that all attempts to make me buy a new vehicle were rejected because I could never find anything as good.”

Comparing the way in which the world has changed between the Summer of 1998 and today makes Liam’s ownership of his 90-Series Toyota Land Cruiser all the more remarkable. Back then, social media, the iPod and Wi-Fi didn’t exist, and the average price of a home could still measured using five figures. The only real constant has been the reliability of 1303!

Finally, in August this year, Liam decided that the time was right to retire the car. Still roadworthy but looking a little tired, 1303 was replaced, fittingly, by another Land Cruiser, a 2007 120-Series with 47,000 miles on the clock – fewer than 12% of 1303’s total.

As told to me by Liam Young. Do you have a Toyota story that you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment below and we’ll be in touch shortly.


  1. stop me from selling her ? i have a 98 colorado ive owned for the last 10 yrs
    every 3 years i think about a change but when it comes down to it i just cant but now with crippling fuel costs im struggling to find a reason to keep her
    tell me there is a cheap fix so i cna keep the old girl another 10 years pllllleeeeesssseeeee ?

    1. Hi Richard,
      Thank you for your post. Glad you love your Land Cruiser. Unfortunately cars were not as efficient back then as they are now days. If you are thinking of changing your Land Cruiser have you considered the RAV4 hybrid? Many thanks.

  2. My Landcruiser VX Amazon 4.2 Diesel Automatic that I bought new June 1999 covered 286,562 miles over 13 years super motor. I sold it 2012. Absolutely bulletproof. The engine turbocharger, gearbox and exhaust all original. Before that I had a 1997 Land Cruiser Colorado 5dr cover 92,500 miles over 2 years.

    1. Hi Eamon,
      Thank you for your post. We are glad to hear you enjoyed your Land Cruiser and achieved many miles. We love hearing about our cars and their owners. If you have any pictures of your Land Cruiser please feel free to post one on our Toyota GB Facebook page. Many thanks.

  3. Well I was going to get the turbo renovated on our 97000 mile J95 Land Cruiser but will not contemplate it now after reading these writings. I am paranoid re the turbo due to a Terrano one failing at 84000 miles. I had to put another engine in that one and it was the worst job I’ve ever done, having to shift the gearboxes back 3 inches to get the engine out!
    I recently replaced two injectors and had two checked in the Land Cruiser because it was ‘missing’ badly.
    I firmly believe it was my own fault by letting contaminated fuel past the injector pump……. These tight tolerance D4D engines will not tolerate a spec of muck in the fuel pump. I’ll be even more
    meticulous when changing the fuel filter in the future.

  4. Hi,
    I have recently bought a 2002 LC Colorado D4-D automatic with 134k miles the car and more important chassis are rust free there was an issue with reverse gear slipping which has now been cured by the addition of a bottle of lucas stop slip fingers crossed it is a permanent fix. I really love this car but i am reading lots of bad things about the D4-d engine all my previous Collies were of the earlier type 1KD-TE engines should i be overly worried about this later engine? as soon as i bought the car i changed all the filters and fluids and i always meticulously service my cars myself any advice or preventative tips very much appreciated,

  5. Hi Charlie,
    Thanks for getting in touch.
    All we can do is recommend that you stick to the recommended service intervals, and ensure that you look after the vehicle as well as you can.
    Issues tend to arrive when people don’t do that.

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