Love At First Drive
by Will Marshal
photos by Barry J. Holmes
Love is a fickle thing, and when you come across love at first sight – you hold onto it. Tim McGrath from Albuquerque based Sackwear recently partnered with Maltec, a German camper conversion company and immediately fell deep. It didn’t take long for Tim to realize that a German built Maltec conversion was going to be the one that would be his new ultimate camper.
Starting first with the notion of importing at 25 year old 79 series Toyota Land Cruiser, Tim discussed at length with Maltec his desires and end goals of the vehicle. Maltec expertly pointed out merits and shortcomings of the 79 platform, and eventually they settled on converting an 80 series. The compact nature of the 80, and its sure footed solid axle design meant that it would be able to handle all of the complex technical terrain ahead of it and still fit where it needed to.
A German FZJ80 was selected in Left Hand Drive, powered by the legendary 4.2L 1HZ inline-six Toyota Turbo Diesel. An incision was made just behind the driver and passenger seats and a fully custom, hand laid carbon fiber shell was built in place of the former steel body. The dimensions of the body are a bit larger overall than the steel structure that it replaced, and the pop-top camper shell provides plenty of vertical room for expansion while using the interior cooking and storage facilities.
The color palette comes from the Porsche GT3 grey catalogue, and the vehicle is fitted throughout, with Teak accents along the outside and inside the cabin as well, serving as the flooring and other various items. The teak and Porsche grey even extends from the vehicle to the custom Martin’s Shape’s surf board mounted to the roof, built customs specifically for the truck. The truck’s new camper cabin is rigidly mounted to the frame with isolators, and Maltec’s Dakar race suspension is fitted to the chassis.
The biggest surprise take-away from the entire build on this 80? The vehicle is actually around 100 lbs lighter than it was when it was stock due to the extensive use of composites. While a conversion like this from Maltec might be out of the realm of possibility for most, its exquisite craftsman ship can set the standard for others to hold themselves to on home-brew builds, or provide inspiration for other options. Either way, Tim’s 80 is light, powerful, fuel efficient and ready to tackle the world and he is fully in love with his new truck, which matters most above all.