April 2014 | Volume 7 | Issue 2

April 2014 | Volume 7 | Issue 2 (21)

Marv Spector

Marv was a giver.   A generous, passionate, good-natured man with a library of information he shared freely and enthusiastically with everyone, Marv’s greatest gift was his friendship.  “I never met a friend I didn’t like,” he used to say, and if you were his friend, you felt it.   Marv was a mentor to many of us who regularly sought his sound and smart advice.  He possessed an old wisdom, from a very young age, and people were attracted to and drew from this energy.   He liked his flannel shirts, often holey, missing buttons, rolled up to his elbows covered in grease from turning wrenches on the car he loved, but he always remained a true gentleman.

Marv Spector

Marv founded Specter Off-Road in 1981 with Kay, his partner and best friend, who was literally “the girl next door,” and who became his wife of 34 years.  Specter Off-Road is Marv’s homage to Land Cruisers and the Cruising community. Marv’s passion for and knowledge of Land Cruisers is reflected in the coveted annual Specter Off Road Catalog which fueled the interest for other Land Cruiser lovers, and because of that passion, today, Specter Off Road houses the largest Land Cruiser museum in the world.

Marv Spector

The love for Land Cruisers took Marv and Kay all over the world to meet with others who shared their crazy passion.   They made many lifelong friends in countries like Japan, Australia, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Europe and the Philippines.  Friends who Marv would insist stay with he and Kay at their home when visiting Specter Off-Road, for a more familial, less touristy visit with home cooked meals and personal attention.   But Marv was not only generous with friends, but anyone, even total strangers, within the Land Cruiser community.  Like the time, for instance, a couple travelling the world in their 70 Series Land Cruiser broke down and Specter Off Road was the only place with the part they needed to fix their vehicle. Marv insisted the couple stay with he and Kay for several days while the Land Cruiser was repaired at Specter.   Many of these people they met while travelling the world are in Marv’s closest circle of friends.  Marv never let distance get in the way of great friendships. He always felt humbled that the Land Cruiser brought so many good people into his life.

Marv Spector

Even in his struggle with deteriorating health, he remained loving and giving and grateful for the many people who touched his life and helped to shape this great man we all knew as Marv Spector.  From our hearts to yours, we thank you all for being Marv’s friend.

From the day we met him until the day we said goodbye, having Marv in our lives was a gift of pure friendship, and as he always liked to say, “We’ll be friends until the end!”

Marv is survived by his bride, Kay, his sister, Melinda, his faithful dog, Hootie, the dedicated team at Specter Off Road, and the thousands of lucky people to have been touched in some way by him.

Keep Cruising, Marv,

The legend of the Land Cruiser Lives On.


















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If you are searching for a wheel that is unique and is designed to specifically fit your Toyota, then you need to check out Stealth Custom Series.  SCS is a wheel company dedicated to sleek, dynamic, and modern wheel design. SCS was founded by a group of off-roading enthusiasts in 2011 in Northern California that focuses on limited-production and premium wheel models. Their wheels are engineered, manufactured, and inspected by one of the most respected alloy wheel producers in the world. All SCS wheel models adhere to industry safety standards and are approved by JWL, JWL-T, and VIA to ensure uncompromised quality. The wheels are hub-centric and are specifically designed for Tacomas, FJ Cruisers, 4Runners, and Tundras.   download_now

SCS Wheels for Toyota Trucks

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Beginning the second decade…..download_now

For those of you not familiar with this event, allow me to give you some background info.  2014 was the 11th annual Round Up held by Lone Star Land Cruisers, which is an event open for all.  Our rules are simple: be safe and have fun.  Katemcy Rocks near Mason, Texas offers the perfect venue and a very unique opportunity for fun in the heart of Texas.  The park consists of granite outcrops offering all types of wheeling from the crazy “I got this…” picture opportunities to rock obstacles and trails that offer chal

2014 Lone Star Roundup | Toyota Land Cruiser Magazine

lenge, but little chance of damage.  You can hop on a trail and run the obstacles or simply take off across the ranch in search of a playground fitting your rig and level of driving expertise.  The event has developed a following that routinely draws rigs from coast to coast.  This year included a half a dozen rigs from California and Nevada.  There were also rigs from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and of course Texas.   

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The Epic: Leg 3(b) Read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3(a)
Never ending: Peaks and Memories

Photos by Monte Nickles, Ben Springli, Mike Digiratdownload_now

Monte's EPIC Adventure Part 3 | Toyota Trucks Magazine

    We pick up our tale of adventure just outside of the end of Poughkeepsie Gulch trail. Where we had just conquered the obstacle The Wall and I was still limping my truck along partially, the memory of its wound fresh in everyone's mind. As we came to Animas Forks however, we quickly were caught back up in the amazing Colorado scenery.

    Animas Forks is really just a stretch of trail that connects your to other trails. The first fork is right out of Poughkeepsie, with two options, Hurricane pass, California pass, and Corkscrew Gulch to the right, and Cinnamon pass, Engineer pass or Silverton to the left. We opted for left. It is a very tame road the whole way, almost maintained it felt like. So our rigs made very quick work of the road eating up the miles. The remnants of the huge mining operations here were larger than ever. Eventually we came to our destination of Cinnamon Pass.

Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StoreThree factors should be addressed when choosing a stove that is right for you.  In our January article we discussed the importance of knowing how the types of meals you will be preparing affects the selection of a camp stove.  Wdownload_nowe learned how stoves are designed for specific styles of outdoor cooking and how flame control and burner size affects the types of meals you can prepare in the field.  This article will be discussing the most common types of fuels used in modern camp stoves and how they should be factored in when purchasing the stove that is right for you.  Each fuel type comes with advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed when deciding on the stove that is right for you.
Choosing the right fuel for your camp stove | Toyota 4Runner Magazine
Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StoreKeeping your cooler cold | Toyota Magazine
We are big proponents of using relatively inexpensive coolers to store our perishable food while on trips.  In fact, for the last two years we have been teaching cooking classes at Overland Expo out of our inexpensive cooler.   We have experimented with various forms of ice, trying everything from bags of ice-cubes to freezing cans of beer.  This experience has led us to develop these simple tricks for keeping your cooler longer.  Here is our short list of the best ways to keep your cooler cold on extended trips.download_now
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100 Series Land Cruiser Locker Gear Upgrade
My introduction to the Land Cruiser lineage was my 1972 FJ-40 and wanting to continue with the tradition with something larger, my wife and I decided on a 2002 100 Series for our all-around 4x4. We planned on building a camping and exploring vehicle that was as comfortable on the road as it was capable off-road with plenty of cargo space inside. I knew the front differential was the only weak point on the 100 Series and after learning about its capabilities I thought we’d be fine. This is true to a point, but if you actually wheel your 100, you are taking a chance on a blown front differential every time you take it out. We didn’t buy the 100 to be a rock crawler, but we all know situations arise on the trail and eventually you are going to push it to its limits. There have been many discussions on blown gears and other trail carnage with the ATRAC system and lack of wheel travel on the 100. When a wheel is lifted into the air and then comes back in contact with the ground it can violently gain traction, “snap”, this is where the differential gives out. It simply cannot handle the sudden force that comes through the axle shaft after the tire abruptly regains traction.download_now

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Labrak 100 series long term review | Toyota MagazineAdam Aceino, AdamAceino.com

A year ago, I ordered my LabRak Expedition Roof Rack from a Mexican honeymoon suite—the first of many marital mistakes. It’s moved couches, hauled hundreds of pounds of gear and even survived a truck totaling accident in Death Valley. But at the price of a used Land Rover, is the LabRak worth it?

What it is:
The LabRak Expedition Roof Rack is an American-made, extreme-duty, modular roof rack utilizing extensive T-Slotting for infinite mounting possibilities and named after the owner’s Labrador.

Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StoreLast but not Least. The FJ Cruiser Trail Team Ultimate Editiondownload_now

2014 Trail Team Special Edition FJ Cruiser | Toyota Magazine

It’s the end of the trail for the FJ Cruiser and Toyota leaves us with the special edition FJ Cruiser Trail Team Ultimate Edition (FJ UE). The FJ UE marks nine years of Toyotas modern style SUV which paid homage to the original and renowned FJ40. In those nine years the FJ has become an off road legend and shows its prowess as one of the most capable vehicles. It’s no slouch in stock form, but a few add on items get you a serious trail rig. The FJ has seen several special editions over the years, including the very popular Trail Teams Editions and the original TRD Special Edition, as well as a few lesser known vehicles such as the ARB Edition FJ Crawler and XPLORE Edition. All of these vehicles had the 4.0-liter V6 and 4x4 underpinnings, but were equipped with various accessories which boosted performance and/or off road capabilities.

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Clay Croft Expedition OverlandAuthenticity, it’s a word that the world is scrambling to reconnect with. Our lives are digital, our relationships are virtual, our “experiences” are so often composed from an image or video we wish was our own. It’s a sad state really, and even though the world is losing its tangible connections, all is not lost. The good thing is that the world is still waiting: it hasn’t gone anywhere. The fact is we still move through it. Whether we engage in it or not is up to us.

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