1978 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40
Chassis no. FJ40-276697
4,230cc OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
135bhp at 3,600rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Front and Rear Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs Live Rear Axle
Front Disc Brakes Rear Drum Brakes
*Toyota's off-road icon
*Striking example restored to factory specifications
*Three-year restoration to exacting standards
*Exceedingly straight and rust-free example
*Recent engine rebuild by FJ specialist shop
The Land Cruiser
The Toyota Land Cruiser, in its many sizes and configurations has had a long and successful history of reliable service through the most rugged of conditions. Patterned after the ubiquitous Jeep and Land Rover utility vehicles, the Land Cruiser demonstrated that Toyota could produce much more than just economical cars.
Introduced in 1960, the FJ40 and its variants remained in production for a quarter century, the kind of longevity that demonstrates true value, quality and utility. They became indispensible in unsettled and remote areas of the world, hauled safaris through Africa, developed a devoted following among America's off-road culture and have spawned a host of imitators. Toyota itself paid its homage to the model in 2004 when it introduced the retro-styled FJ Cruiser to capitalize on the continuing image and popularity of the Land Cruiser some twenty years after the original's production run ended.
The Land Cruiser's popularity and utility is reflected in the number of variants in which it was built. There were in fact so many that it is probably impossible to identify all of them, but they came in short, medium, long and extra long wheelbase, with a variety of roofs, half cabs, soft tops and doors, with four- and six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. They climb mountains, cross deserts, ford rivers, balance their way over rock falls they are one of the archetypical utility vehicles and today finding a good vintage example can be difficult.
The Motorcar Offered
One of the finest Land Cruiser FJ40s we have ever seen, this example was painstakingly restored over a three-year period by its previous owner, a software engineer, with meticulous attention to detail. He searched long and hard for a clean and straight example to serve as a basis for the project, locating this one on a ranch in Southern California.
The idea was to bring the FJ back to stock configuration as shown on the original showroom brochures. Over a seven-month period the entire body was hand-sanded not blasted and then painted in correct factory blue. California Auto Body of Las Vegas, Nevada was entrusted with the paint work, while the interior was restored to a level of detail rarely seen on FJs. New seat covers were made following the original templates. Custom beveled glass was installed on the front doors, while all OEM hardware including the original vintage-style radio adorns the sparse but charming dashboard.
When acquired by its present owner last year, the decision was made to perform a full engine rebuild for optimal performance. FJ specialist shop Mudrak in Sonoma, California, was hired for the job. The entire engine was disassembled and received new pistons, rings, bearings, and a re-ground crankshaft. Once complete, all components were painted to factory specifications and detailed to a level you just don't expect to see on a vintage ute. Additional components such as the starter, carburetor, distributor and much more were previously replaced or rebuilt as needed. New brake and clutch master cylinders were installed, while a hardtop with new liner and new rubber is included to complete the package. An extensive series of photographs documents the body preparation as well as the restoration of various componentry.
The result today is nothing short of breathtaking; the Land Cruiser appears as if it has just driven out of the 1978 Toyota sales brochure that boasts of its 4-Wheel-Drive capabilities. With many of these important 4WD models having long since lost their showroom shine, it is refreshing to see one in such fine fettle today. The Land Cruiser draws loads of attention from onlookers, who admire it with a sense of contented approval it is a crowd pleaser, and should also be eminently capable when the road turns to a mere path impassable by lesser vehicles. Offered here is a wonderful example of Toyota's legendary ute, perhaps the original "sport utility". Presented in such fine restored condition today, we think you just might want to admire it a bit before it gets muddy.