The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

One man, Gunther Holtorf, has traveled 500,000 miles around the world over the past 23 years in an '88 diesel Mercedes. Jalopnik readers have picked out ten vehicles they'd take to retrace Holtorf's steps on their own epic journey.

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Photo Credit: Motographer (Gunther Holtorf not pictured)

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

10.) Subaru Forester Diesel

Suggested By: wisc47

Why it's tough enough: Gunther started his journey with a year-old Mercedes G-Wagen back in 1989. A Forester diesel is one of the few new vehicles that is sufficiently sturdy and reliable that you could take out on the rutted, rough, dirt paths that make up most of the world's roads. It has four-wheel-drive and it comes with a diesel, often the only fuel available in the middle of nowhere.

Photo Credit: etnobofin

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

9.) Jeep Wrangler

Suggested By: Baber K. Kahn

Why it's tough enough: These are the trusted rides of invading WWII platoons and offroad enthusiasts the world over. They've been driven all the way around the world several times and you can get them with a diesel.

Photo Credit: Nick Taylor

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

8.) Land Rover Defender

Suggested By: Straightsix9904

Why it's tough enough: The sun did set on the British Empire, but not before it dumped tons of Land Rovers all over the more remote parts of the world. LR Defenders are rough and utterly crude, embodying everything wrong with old-school SUVs, but they're endlessly charismatic and parts are never too far away.

Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

7.) Baja Bug

Suggested By: For Sweden

Why it's tough enough: Remember when Top Gear drove across Botswana? Remember how the one vehicle that had no trouble at all was a VW Beetle? Imagine that car, but with a more powerful engine that's easier to fix than standard, a raised ride height, and big tires. That's a baja bug and it's one of the simplest, coolest offroaders in the world.

Photo Credit: Ron Kroetz

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

6.) Lada Niva

Suggested By: Xelmon

Why it's tough enough: If you want a bit more space and a bit more modernity than a baja bug, you can go for a communist Lada Niva. They still build these things brand new and you can get them with a diesel engine. Parts are all over the East and for what you can't fix with a hammer there's a built-in tool kit under the hood.

Photo Credit: Joe Coyle

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

5.) VW Westfalia

Suggested By: prattcm1

Why it's tough enough: They're like living in a tiny, four-wheel-drive house. You can swap a Subaru boxer into the rear if you want more power, but a sturdy little 4X4 VW camper should do you just fine with good parts availability and every added feature including the kitchen sink.

Photo Credit: ViggenBribri

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

4.) Chevrolet Suburban Diesel

Suggested By: JamesBob-TX

Why it's tough enough: The old saying goes, "a Chevy will run bad longer than other cars run at all." Simply nothing will run as long without proper maintenance as GM's big Suburban diesels. They seat nine, can carry over seven thousand pounds, and you can find their 6.5 liter Detroit Diesel engines in Humvees.

Photo Credit: Bryan McLellan

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

3.) Toyota Hiace

Suggested By: Communist

Why it's tough enough: These things are everywhere. Not only are they rugged, dependable little third-world-mobiles, but you'll never have to even think about kidnapping. There's tons of space, too.

Photo Credit: Ian Fuller

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

2.) Mercedes-Benz W123

Suggested By: Validius

Why it's tough enough: W123 and W124 Mercedes diesels are still serving as taxis all over the world, and especially in the adventurist's continent of choice, Africa. The brainiacs in Stuttgart were still building their cars to last millions of miles with their simple and dependable, if not totally reliable designs back in the ‘80s. A big station wagon will keep you comfortable and under the radar wherever you go.

Photo Credit: 300td.org

The Ten Best Vehicles For Exploring The WorldS

1.) Toyota Land Cruiser

Suggested By: Baber K. Kahn

Why it's tough enough: Nothing is as dependable when you go off the beaten path as a Land Cruiser. Parts are everywhere, but you won't need them. These things are indestructible. The Toyota HiLux has a better reputation, but the added space of the Land Cruiser makes it the perfect vehicle for leaving home and never, ever, ever coming back.

Photo Credit: takuma kimura