Sometimes Classic Vehicle Values make us go "Huh!!" In the case of the popular Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser we recently did a Pre-Purchase Inspection on a Uber Clean 1983 model and we did a Double-Huh!!.
We learn new lessons everyday in the crazy Collectible Car Market and we learned of the Cult Like Following of these Jeep's in Toyota Clothing that have driven Values to Superhero Status.
In an odd way World War II gave us both the Jeep and the Toyota Land Cruiser..umm kinda. When the Imperial Japanese Army occupied the Philippines in 1941 they found an old Bantam Mk II and promptly sent it to Japan (Bantam produced the first Jeep for the US Government) The Japanese military authorities ordered Toyota to produce a similar vehicle but to alter the appearance.
Later in 1941 the Japanese government instructed Toyota to produce a light truck for Japan's military. In 1942, Toyota developed the AK10 prototype by reverse-engineering a Bantam GP . The half-ton truck features an upright front grille, flat front wheel arches that angled down and back like the FJ40, headlights mounted above the wheel arches on either side of the radiator, and a folding windshield.
Dubbed the AK10 very few were produced. In fact after WWII postwar Toyota's "Jeep" BJ was completely different from the AK10 and inherits no mechanical parts from it.
The advent of the Korean War put Willy-Jeep in Japan's doorstep and in need to produce vehicles for the War. The US army ordered a 100 Willy's Spec vehicles and had Toyota produce them.
Code named the BJ series it was slightly larger than it's Jeep Parent and featured part time 4x4 like the Jeep but had no Low Range. Powered by a trusty 3.4 liter OHV in line 6 cylinder engine it proved to be robust and reliable. Setting a tone for Land Cruiser's to follow for decades.
The BJ Series was produced till 1954 when it was replaced by the J20 and J30 that would be produced till 1966.
Perhaps the most iconic and popular Toyota Land Cruiser is the J40 (or FJ40) series. First introduced in 1960 it would be produced with many upgrades and versions till 1984. In the USA market the most popular engine available would be a Chevy In-Line 6 clone. Engine displacement was 3.9 liter to start then upgraded to 4.2 liter later.
Everything about the J40 was Basic Off Road. Buckboard ride, little or no creature comforts, go anyplace 4x4 and the wind resistance of a Washer Machine made this the vehicle of choice in Africa and Third World Nations.
This refusal to be Soft made the J40 a Cult classic here in the USA. 100's of clubs, 1000's of fans only has enhanced it legend and value.
As with all vehicles from the Land Of The Rising Sun produced in the 60's-80's rust is an issue. If you want to a buy a FJ40 Land Cruiser find the most rust free example possible.
Also as with Japan built vehicles of that era mechanic's are far superior to it's American and European competition. The In Line Six can take a beating as well as the transmission and axles. Despite that try to find a Cruiser that has not been on Safari to much.
Our feature 1983 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser is an older but still excellent restoration of a rust free California vehicle. It could use some paint, chassis and detail touch up's. It drives perfect with all operating system working good.