Like the Jeep and the Land Rover before it, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a vehicle whose reputation was hard earned in battle, mud, and desert sand. This Japanese take on the all-purpose off-roader can thank the original Jeep for its existence, which is little surprise when comparing the two trucks side-by-side. In 1950, the US Government commissioned Toyota to build 100 Willys Jeeps that were to be used in the Korean War. Toyota obliged but immediately saw room for improvement on the old American design. In 1951 Toyota developed their own prototype drawing on the best the Jeep and the Land Rover had to offer. Production of the “Toyota Jeep BJ” began in 1953 and the vehicle was put into service primarily for police and military. In 1954, the civilian version gained the Land Cruiser name and grew in popularity as an all-round utility vehicle for farmers or anyone needing to get over rough terrain. In 1960, the 40-series Land Cruiser was unveiled with all-new body styling, an improved chassis and new engine options. It remained in regular production for 24 years, becoming a legend for its amazing ruggedness as much as its tough-guy good looks. It served at the hands of soldiers and warlords alike on virtually every continent on the globe. Hundreds of thousands of Land Cruiser FJ40s are still in service in all corners of the earth, no matter how remote they may be.
40-Series Land Cruisers were offered in a variety of body styles ranging from the most popular short-wheelbase convertible, to long wheelbase troop carriers and pickups. Our featured 1982 FJ40 is a factory two-door hardtop with a desirable “barn door” rear end (one piece upper liftgate split lower doors). Starting with what was a highly original, solid and unmodified example, it has been sympathetically refreshed using factory Toyota parts and new paint by FJ experts and presents in beautiful condition with impeccable detailing throughout.
Recently restored in the factory original shade of dark red with a white roof, this FJ40 retains a high degree of originality. The bodywork has not been over-restored; instead it shows the spot weld dimples and joints in the panels as it would have when new. The paint quality is very good, and the exterior detailing is all impeccably presented, with correct hardware, fittings and details. The FJ40 is famously utilitarian, so there is little in the way of chrome, but the hood latches, windscreen hold-downs, badges and other fittings are all in factory correct silver cad finishes. Even the hardware in the wheel arches and on the chassis is in correct gold-cadmium plating. It rides on a set of original gray-painted steel wheels, adorned with new O.E. dog-dish hubcaps wrapped in a set of 5 meaty Pirelli Scorpion tires for just the right aggressive, iconic off-road look.
The interior displays a wonderfully utilitarian charm, yet is impeccably detailed to factory correct standards. The front and side-facing rear seats are trimmed in charcoal vinyl as original; and new seatbelts have been fitted. The floors are body color bare steel as original and the dash wears all of the original switches, knobs and placards – only a badge from the restorer deviates from stock. A factory A/C system is fitted below the dash, which has recently been refurbished with a new compressor.
Toyota’s legendary 2F inline-six cylinder engine presents extremely well, with incredible detailing. Cad-plated fittings and hardware highlight the correctly finished engine, air cleaner and ancillaries. It is equipped with factory air con and power steering systems. The engine runs well, sending power through the four-speed transmission and transfer case. The chassis is also beautifully detailed, featuring a new OEM exhaust system and rebuilt brakes all around.
The Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 has become a highly collectible classic, and is increasingly in high demand with enthusiasts. As with any classic off-roader, the go-anywhere nature and ability to take serious abuse means that solid, unmodified, and pristine examples can be quite difficult to come by. There are fewer better than this Land Cruiser FJ40, a beautifully prepared and presented example that is ready to be thoroughly enjoyed.