Toyota’s legendary Land Cruiser is one of those rare vehicles that has proven itself time and again in the harshest of environments, earning every bit of its impeccable reputation for faithful dependability and bullet-proof reliability. Like the Land Rover and the Jeep, the ‘Cruiser was built for military duty – capable of traversing virtually any surface from muddy jungles to desert sand. This Japanese take on the all-purpose off-roader has the American Jeep to thank for its existence, which is little surprise when comparing the two vehicles side-by-side. In 1950, the US Government commissioned Toyota to build 100 Willys Jeeps for use by soldiers and Military Police stationed in Japan during the Korean War. Toyota obliged but immediately saw room for improvement on the old American design. In 1951 Toyota developed a prototype that drew the best the Jeep and the British Land Rover had to offer, combined into one new package. Production of the “Toyota Jeep BJ” began in 1953, and the vehicle was put into service by American MPs.
In 1954, a civilian version followed, gaining the Land Cruiser name. Like the Jeep in America, the Land Cruiser proved to be quite popular with farmers, utilities, or anyone needing a versatile vehicle capable of handling the harshest conditions imaginable. In 1960, Toyota introduced the 40-series Land Cruiser with all-new body styling, an improved chassis, and new engine options. Just as its commercial rivals from England and the USA, Toyota offered the Land Cruiser in a variety of body styles ranging tailored to the buyer’s needs. It remained in regular production for 24 years, gaining legendary status for its incredible ruggedness as much as its tough-guy good looks.
Our featured 1978 Toyota FJ40 rides on the most popular 90” short-wheelbase chassis, equipped with the factory two-door hardtop body. This truck also features the desirable “ambulance door” rear treatment, allowing for easy access to the rear jump seats. In 2006, this truck received a body-off, nut-and-bolt restoration performed by a passionate FJ enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. He painstakingly documented the entire process, assembling an impressive binder of photos, records, and stacks of receipts for the host of new-old-stock parts used on the project. Today, this gorgeous FJ40 presents in excellent condition throughout, having seen only light use in the hands of collectors since completion of the restoration. Finished in Toyota Beige (464) with a white roof, the body presents in superb order. The restorer used factory new and new-old-stock panels exclusively, and the body remains stock with the only exception being the fitment of a Warn 8000lb winch. It is straight and tidy, with excellent paint and factory appropriate panel fit and finish.
The utilitarian cabin presents as original, with black vinyl seats and a simple, functional dash. Soft trim items are in superb condition, including the side-facing jump seats in the rear, and the factory-style rubber floor mats. In the interest of comfort and preservation, black carpet overlays protect the rubber mats from scuffs. Upgrades include a two-post style Pyle AM/FM stereo with a USB input and a beautifully integrated Vintage Air A/C system for all-year comfort.
According to the restoration records, the frame was stripped completely bare, media blasted and coated with POR-15 for lifetime protection. The FJ now sits proudly on HFS Suspension, a high-quality package designed by the Toyota experts at Cool Cruisers of Texas. The moderate lift allows for the fitment of chunky 33” BF Goodrich tires which fill out the arches and give the truck a purposeful and rugged look – and, of course, vastly improving its already impressive off-road capabilities. Those tires are mounted to original steel wheels with dog-dish hubcaps to retain a period-correct aesthetic. Also, the restorer upgraded the chassis to accommodate power steering; the system consisting of a GM-Saginaw box that reduced effort and increases reliability, particularly with the larger tires. The 4.2-liter “2F” inline-six was completely rebuilt as part of the resto and detailed with correct markings, fittings, and hardware. The engine and chassis presentation are excellent, showing signs of light use since the rebuild.
This desirable FJ40 hardtop has enjoyed regular care and maintenance since its superb restoration and is ready for adventure. Sensible upgrades ensure it is comfortable and dependable in all conditions without sacrificing the ruggedness and dependability that makes the FJ40 Land Cruiser one of the world’s most legendary vehicles. This FJ40 is a marvelous example of the breed, ready for anything from runs to the shops to backcountry off-road adventures.
Offers welcome and trades considered