Old-School Cool: Classic 4x4s of Overland Expo

When it comes to four-wheel drives, most of us have our brand loyalties. Heck, we even debate which tires, tents, and other accessories are best. But if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that vintage four-wheel drives are awesome. It doesn’t matter if their lines are sharp and square or round and wandering. They could be tipped with chrome accents, adorned in wood paneling, or even painted in teal. Whatever their features, these beautiful off-road trucks and SUVs stir our souls and beckon us to the world ahead. Sadly, the days of these classic overlander trucks are rapidly drawing to a close. Each year we see fewer and fewer on the road, but Overland Expo provides a rare chance to see dozens of these works of art in one place. This year’s event was no exception, and we snapped some photos of a few of our favorites. Check them out below, and be sure to let us know which one you would drive home.

I love the new Sportsmobiles, but this vintage one may just have them beat. Not in capability of course, but in pure style. How could you say no to a road trip in this?

Falken Tire’s Unimog was pretty darn cool as well. Of course, on mud-terrain tires with a top speed bordering on glacial, we might pass on that road trip.

I have a little bit of an obsession with the USFS. Maybe it has something to do with the old fire towers I toured as a kid or my love for the color green, but this ex-forest service truck with a classic Four-Wheel Camper definitely stokes my fire. It was in shockingly good condition and boasted a brand new interior.

This International Scout from New Legend was by far my favorite vintage 4×4 of the show. It sits on a modern chassis with a completely new power plant and accessories but still retains all of its classic charm. We were lucky enough to take this beautiful SUV out for a drive and will be featuring it in detail very soon. To learn more about their vehicles, visit their website here. 

As usual, the FJ Company had two stunning cruisers on display. These 40 Series trucks boasted a range of upgrades, and the tan one was loaded with a modern engine, sound system, and countless other features. They are the stuff of dreams, and ready for any adventure. To learn more about their vehicles, visit their website here. 
I think that the Wagoneer might be my favorite Jeep platform in history, but the Willy’s Wagon gives it a run for its money. All it needs is some fuel, fly-rods, and a dirt road to cruise down. Who’s ready for a trip down to the river?

This is one of the funkiest Mercedes trucks we’ve ever seen, and we sort of dig it. Sure the blue lady is a little much, but we’d still take it for a cruise up the coast.
Who can resist the allure of a classic Land Rover, especially one with a pop-top? Okay, yes it will probably leak oil and constantly break, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful or inspiring.
If you prefer something a little more American, then this Suburban should make you happy. It’s up for sale, and ready for a lifetime of new adventures.

One of the more interesting trucks at the show was built, or is being built, by the Clean Cruiser Project. This group is restoring a set of Land Cruisers to drive to the tip of South America, and they’re doing so completely carbon neutral. They plan to plant enough trees along the way to offset their emissions, while lending a helping hand at major nature preserves along the way. To learn more, visit their website here. 

The Exploro Land Cruiser can only be described as awesome and rare. It’s an HJ47 diesel that has also been fully restored and was part of a limited run production built for Toyota executives touring a mining operation in Australia. It is one of just four like it in the world.
Of course, no Overland Expo would be complete without the Land Rover Las Vegas forward control. Lovingly named Clifford, this orange beauty has served as their team’s HQ at countless events, and will likely continue to do so for years to come.
The final 4×4, and one of our favorites, was this teal beauty. It’s not your standard four-wheel drive, but it has an undeniably high level of soul.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 2009. While working on his business degree, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. It was there that he fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, eventually leading him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. After several years of honing his skills in writing, photography, and off-road driving, Chris now works for the company full time as Expedition Portal's Managing Editor.

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