Tin-Can 4X4 Battle: Can These Classic Japanese Off-Roaders Survive The Cliffhanger Off-Road Challenge?

Three 30+ year-old cars take on

[Images: TFLcar]

Our three old Tin-Can 4X4 runabouts battle the mountain!

It’s difficult to emphasize how difficult an off-road video shoot is with three old, Tin-Can 4X4 vehicles. These are old Japanese econobox off-roaders that range in age between 30 to well over 40 years old. They have old tech, old bones and were well used before we got out hands on them. Still, they held tough!

Each one represents a slightly different way to look at off-road driving. The Subaru is, by far, the most unique in that approach. Still, these little runabouts are feisty and ridiculously fun to drive. Especially in the rough.

1990 Daihatsu Rocky

Our most recent tin-can acquisition is the 1990 Daihatsu Rocky. In may ways, it represents the popular modern approach to current SUVs. It’s a body-on-frame 4×4 with an independent front suspension. On top of that, it’s by far, the widest of the group. It has a decent reputation for a tiny 4×4, but very few people are aware it even existed in this country.

1987 Suzuki Samurai

We all acknowledge that the Suzuki Samurai is remarkably capable off-road. Solid axles, leaf springs and a light weight help make it a mountain goat. Sure, Nathan added a small lift, bigger tires and some armor, but it’s mechanically stock. It’s also the most difficult to live with as a day-to-day transport. That’s one of the reasons he’s selling it!

1978 Subaru DL

Once upon a time, Subaru built inexpensive, simple runabouts that were remarkably innovative – and tough. This ’78 Subaru DL is a prime example. More of an AWD over a full-blown off-road beast, it’s still amazing on rough roads and is – by far – the most comfortable to drive. Tommy adores this little tin-can, and so does the rest of the TFL crew.

In this TFLclassics video, Roman, Tommy and I hit the trails and take on Cliffhanger 1.0 in an epic mini-adventure. Tin-can 4×4’s rock, as you can clearly see below: