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1990 Bertone Freeclimber

1990 Bertone Freeclimber

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Details

Price: $14,800

Mileage: 138,500 Miles (222,820 km)

Engine: BMW M21 2.4-Liter Inline 6-Cylinder Turbo Diesel Engine

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission

Exterior color: Silver / Grey Exterior

Interior: Grey Cloth Interior

Additional features:

High / Low Four Wheel Drive

Adjustable Suspension (INOP)

Power Windows

Sunroof

Air Conditioning

Leather Seats

Inclinometer

Removable Hard Top

OZ Racing Factory Wheels

BFGoodrich Long Trail T/A Tires

Recent Extensive Service

Colorado Title

Background

1990 Bertone Freeclimber exterior photo

The Bertone Freeclimber was the intersection of a quirky mid-80’s Japanese 4x4, with a buttery-smooth BMW engine, and Italian pizzazz and luxury. It was born when Italian coachbuilder Bertone started with the Daihatsu Rugger (of which Toyota was a majority shareholder in) and fitted it with a BMW M21 inline six-cylinder turbo diesel engine producing 114 horsepower, but 162 foot-pounds of torque. From there Bertone modified the exterior, including European-style individual low and high beam circular headlights, a two-tone paint theme, OZ Racing wheels, and other flare. Inside, leather was standard, in addition to push-button four-wheel drive high (low is shifted via its own shifter), air conditioning, power windows, and an inclinometer gauge pack. Roughly 2800 examples were produced and few have made it to the US. There is nothing quite like a Bertone Freeclimber; it is an extremely capable off-roader in a comfortable and delightfully unique package.

Summary

 exterior photo

I am selling this 1990 Bertone Freeclimber on consignment for its reported third owner. It is a known Bertone Freeclimber within the enthusiast community and it received a considerable amount of press when it was previously sold via Petrolicous (here: https://petrolicious.com/marketplace/1990-bertone-freeclimber). It was also featured by Automobile Magazine as one of the nicest Bertone Freeclimbers on the market. The current owner brought it to Colorado. In preparation for sale he had Sterling Service of Littleton, CO give it a pre-purchase inspection and service, including a valve adjustment, thermostat, fan clutch, radiator hoses, motor mounts, fresh drive belts, and glow plugs. They also inspected the timing belt and injection pump timing. Then it got fresh rubber in the form of BFGoodrich Long Trail T/A tires. The previous owner searched extensively for a well cared for and unmolested example, eventually finding this one. It wears the two-tone silver and grey finish, with all badging and factory pinstripes in place, as are the OZ Racing wheels and removable hardtop. Inside all original equipment is accounted for, with the exception of an aftermarket radio, and everything works correctly. As it sits, it is a turn-key Freeclimber, ready to be enjoyed for the next chapter of its story. It is perfect for Colorado and a unique alternative to more common ‘80s era 4x4s. It comes with receipts for the recent maintenance, and a clean Colorado title.

Exterior

1990 Bertone Freeclimber exterior photo

The two-tone silver and grey paint is in good condition and presents well. Close inspection does reveal minor flaws in the form of small dings and scratches. The body frame, undercarriage, and suspension components are corrosion free, except for superficial surface rust on bolt heads, suspension components, and the trailer hitch. The badges, pin stripes, and trim are in place and correct; the trim has slight UV fade. The windshield, side, and rear window glass is in great shape, as are the high top windows. There is one dime-sized rock chip in the windshield, but it has been sealed with glass tape. The headlights glass is in great shape, with only minor pitting. The turn signals, markers, and taillights are clean and crack-free with the exception of the driver’s side turn signal and passenger’s side tail light. The OZ Racing wheels are very presentable, but close inspection shows slight discoloration and oxidation. They are wrapped in fresh BFGoodrich Long Trail T/A tires. The spare is the Armstrong Norseman A/S that it was imported on.

Interior

 interior photo

The interior is above average with very little wear. There are no odors. The carpet is in good condition, but the cargo compartment carpet does have some wear. The stock seats are in good shape, with soft leather and the headrest badges in place. There is moderate cracking on the driver’s seat cushion, but it is presentable. The rear seats are also in very good shape, but there is some discoloration on the passenger side seat bottom cushion. The dash is crack free and in excellent shape, as are the door cards, with the exception of a small crack in the passenger side handle trim. There is very light wear on the steering wheel. The Freeclimber has a push-button 4WD High and lever actuated 4WD low, which both work correctly. There is an adjustable damper switch, which I notice no change with on hard or soft, so I suspect that it has been disabled. The power windows work correctly. The stereo is an aftermarket Sony CD player that sounds great. The A/C blows ice cold and the heat is warm. The rear cargo cover is present. The turn signals function, but vary in flash frequency.

Mechanical

 engine photo

The BMW M21 engine starts on command and idles smoothly. It blows a little smoke on start up until it warms up, but no more than is normal for a 1980’s diesel engine. I wouldn’t describe it as fast, but it does have a nice low-end torque curve. And, because it is a BMW in-line six-cylinder, you can rev it more than a normal diesel—which results in going less slow! The shifter is crisp and smooth, and the clutch take up is correct—both are much better than the other period JDM diesel 4x4s we’ve had. At speed it jostles and rattles as would be expected by a short wheel base 4x4, but that is also better than the other period 4x4s we’ve had. Under the hood, the radiator hoses have been replaced, along with the drive belts. Lots of other engine accessories appear to have been addressed, including the battery and Behr radiator (which has a 2016 date on it). The timing belt was inspected by Sterling Service and found to be in good condition. The four-wheel drive system engages on command and functions correctly. The suspension is stiff but compliant, allowing for a comfortable ride. The electromagnetic shocks are not adjustable. There is typical bushing noise over rough surfaces, but nothing offensive. The exhaust has no leaks or holes. Overall, it is mechanically sound and ready for your on and off-road adventures. It will inevitably need continued repairs and maintenance, but is a very well sorted example ready for the next chapter of adventures with the new owner.