So, my life with this wonderful vehicle started 20 years ago today. I remember the day clearly as I was ten years old back in 1998, in fact, it was twelve days before my tenth birthday that we welcomed my beloved "Elsie" to our family. My family traveled up to Saratoga Springs, NY to visit New Country Toyota and we left with a new 100 Series Land Cruiser. With only 112k on the odometer, she's just getting broken in! My grandfather had moved in with us and we needed a three-row SUV for everyone and all our stuff. My father looked at the Ford Expedition and Dodge Durango (more out of curiosity than anything) but decided both were inferior products. Coming from a long line of Toyota/Lexus and BMW products, he and my mom expected build quality, reliability, and performance to meet certain standards. The Land Cruiser fit the bill, and the only other vehicle Toyota offered with a third-row seat at the time (in the US at least) was the Sienna, and my father said he'd never be seen in a minivan. The day was rainy, and there was a flash flood warning for parts of the area north of Albany where we were. My parents talked with the salesperson (whose name I don't remember, nor do I care). They had four Land Cruisers on the lot, fresh off the truck. An Atlantis Blue Mica, Black, Imperial Jade Mica, and Mahogany Pearl all parked in the far southeastern corner of the parking lot. Little did I know that we'd be leaving with the maroon beast the same day. I remember going out with everyone, as my parents talked with the salesperson about things I didn't understand - financing, after sales service, etc.. We looked at the green Cruiser first (my dad's favorite color), and our sales guy started going over specs and improvements made from the previous 80 Series. While all of this was going on, I recall climbing up into the front seats with my sister and looking at all the buttons and controls. She pushed the cupholder cover door and it flipped open automatically, as if on cue, we both looked up at each other and grinned. My parents finished talking and my sister and I climbed into the backseat as my mom and dad got in front. I recall my dad remarking about how much more room there was compared to his 95 Pathfinder which he was trading in and how solid and overbuilt everything felt. I do remember though he was somewhat disappointed no manual transmission was available. One turn of the key and the 2UZ-FE V8 engine fired to life and settled at around 1,000 RPM. The sales guy put a dealer tag on the rear hatch and said, "have fun," while my dad put the transmission into drive. We pulled out onto RT50 and headed down towards the I87 on-ramp. My mom remarked about how much quieter the ride was and how much smoother everything felt compared to other vehicles they had been looking at. My dad grinned as he floored it pulling onto the on-ramp as we headed south, hearing the V8 come to life surprised me at the sudden onrush of speed and sound. Merging onto I87, even I could recognize the fact that this was one nice vehicle. Little did I know, in a good 13 years, it'd be mine. We finished the test drive and my parents went inside to discuss numbers. I played around in the showroom until my mom yelled at me to sit down and watch TV. After what seemed like hours, my parents came out holding the keys to the Mahogany Pearl Land Cruiser which is now sitting in my driveway. I was fortunate that my parents, my dad in particular, were very obsessive about maintenance. The first thing he had done was get the undercarriage oil filmed, to prevent rust. He followed all maintenance schedules by the book and showed me how to do my first oil change (with him supervising of course). My mom washed and waxed it and made sure it was always cosmetically in the best shape. After my father passed away in 2000, she decided to keep this wonderful truck as she knew what an awesome vehicle it was. For the first eight or so years, it was mainly a vacation vehicle, and one we'd use if we needed the extra room. After that, my mom started driving it more regularly as she liked the feeling of a larger vehicle, and finally got a 2007 LX when I graduated high school that same year. The Land Cruiser again, sat alone, with me taking over its maintenance and cosmetic care. Fast forward to the present day. It's been a long ride, but an awesome one. As soon as I got my bachelor's degree, my mom said she'd buy me a new car, or give me the Land Cruiser. After looking at a few SUVs, mainly the new (at the time) 2011 4Runner, I decided I'd rather keep my father's truck, and in hindsight, I know I made the right choice. Since then I have made sure I’ve kept up on maintenance, using only OEM or better replacement parts, and always servicing prematurely (an expensive habit, but it’s worth it). Owning a car detailing business has been beneficial to the cosmetics of my old girl, as I am obsessive about keeping her clean and tidy not only under the skin, but on top as well. She still has all original paint, except for the front and rear bumpers which I had repainted – the front after a shopping cart hit the front corner and blistered the paint, and the rear when I smashed it into a rut on an off-road trip. The interior is all original with the exception of the center console/cupholder panel, which I replaced after getting tired of looking at a scratched up piece of plastic! I even have the original Husky Liner mats my dad bought when he first got her. People do not believe it’s a twenty-year-old vehicle, but I tell them, with a little care and preventative maintenance, any vehicle can be kept like this, even if it is a daily driver – you just have to be just slightly, kinda, sorta obsessive over it. Over the years I have done some mods, and while I do not plan on going all out with bumpers, racks, and snorkels, I’ve made some enhancements. I see it as kind of an evolution of my personal tastes over the years. I installed 18” Tundra wheels initially (with cheesy all-seasons). Updated the headlights and taillights with new one-piece Depo units and Spyder taillights. I also installed a new headunit and door speakers to get my audio system into the 21st century. I also pulled off the running boards and installed 270/70/18 Cooper ST Maxx tires with 2007 LX wheels (gratefully given to me by a friend in exchange for a wet sand and buff on one of his recently purchased 200 Series with fender flares he decided to rip off). Recently, I installed a 1.5” lift with Old Man Emu 865 springs in the rear, with new OEM Toyota shocks on all four corners. I originally ran the Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sport light load shocks but the ride quality left a lot to be desired, so I swapped them out and sold them for new Toyota (Tokico) shocks, and haven’t been happier. I also went through two aftermarket exhausts before settling on one I really liked and ended up modifying the Doug Thorley catback by having a resonator and rear-exit tailpipe welded in to cut down on the in-cabin noise.