Overland Cruisers was setup in early 2008 by me, Julian Voelcker.
After several years owning Land Cruisers it became evident that there was very little support in the UK for Land Cruiser owners beyond the dealer network, particularly for the more adventurous owners wanting to go Green Laning in the UK or Overlanding abroad. So in 2003 I setup the European Land Cruiser owners club (see http://www.landcruisers.info) as a meeting place for Land Cruiser owners to discuss problems with their vehicles and plans for their off road adventures.
Whilst running the club and organising play days on Salisbury Plain there would occasionally be requests from owners wanting help with work on their trucks and since I had the tools and space offered to help. I had started stripping cars at the age of 10 and had spent most of my teenage years either working on my own cars or the machinery on the farm where I was brought up so it was great to get back into it.
Starting off working on the drive when weather permitted I helped rebuild the axle on a truck heading to Libya and then upgraded the suspension on another heading to Cape Town and so it began. At first it was the odd day here and there but slowly increased to the point where people were leaving their trucks with me for more detailed work.
Inspired by all the overlanding tales, in around 2005 I started the long planning process to do my own trip, naturally more concerned with the truck and equipment for the trip than the actual destination!
Finally in early 2007 the plans fell into place so after a frantic few weeks sourcing a roof rack, roof tent, split charge system and a fridge as well as borrowing a second roof tent my wife and I and our three children at the time (all girls aged, 7, 6 and 1.5) headed south for a 5 week trip down to and around Morocco.
Despite our lack of preparation we survived the trip and as well as having a great time we learnt a lot along the way, particularly the fact that whilst there is a lot of advice in books and on the web about Overlanding you need to filter it according to your vehicle, your destination and your passengers.
Following the trip, circumstances were changing with my existing web business and then the opportunity arose to locate and then prepare an 80 series for a round the world trip starting with a trip round Africa. My wife always said that I was far happier up to my elbows in grease rather than sitting in front of a computer so I bit the bullet and I took on the project.
We found a cheap 80 and then started the prep work. I initially used a marquee as a workshop and then in late 2007 moved into some shared workshop space. As word got out it wasn't long before further work started pouring in and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since then we have moved to a farmhouse in Herefordshire and have converted some old Hop Kilns into workshops where I have carried out most jobs on most models of Land Cruiser with customer's trucks heading off to exotic destinations like, South Africa, Morocco, Algeria, Croatia, Russia, South America, Iceland, Australia, etc.
In addition to preparing and servicing the trucks we are also expanding into sourcing and supplying cheaper Toyota parts, and other Land Cruiser accessories like Intercoolers, Extreme Gearboxes and diff drop kits.