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Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser: Buying guide and review (1960-1984)

Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser: Buying guide and review (1960-1984) Classic and Performance Car
Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser
While Toyota had been building light 4x4s since 1951, it wasn’t until 1954 that the Land Cruiser brand arrived. Toyota’s technical director Hanji Umehara wanted a name that would convey off-road ability but sound dignified; important to a Japanese company. 
 
The range of vehicles made under the Land Cruiser name is bewildering. Toyota attempted to cover all requirements of a light utility vehicle by making a wide range of variants rather than a few highly adaptable models, which was Land Rover’s approach.
 
The FJ40 Land Cruisers and Series IIa and III Land Rovers competed for the same world markets at the same time. In damp climates at least, a hard-worked Land Rover could hide myriad mechanical and structural sins under its rustproof alloy body, while a Land Cruiser might wear a rusty body over healthy components, leading to unfair comparisons.
 
By the 1980s there was a significant swing away from utility 4x4s towards recreational off-roaders. In 1985 Toyota released an all-new, expanded range of vehicles that, although still marketed as Land Cruisers, bore little resemblance to the boxy original.
 
With prices for some FJ40s hitting substantial six-figure sums in recent years, the market has settled and prices now compare favourably with classic Land Rover and Jeep models. Bought carefully, an FJ40 is an intelligent, achingly cool and functional choice.
 

Which classic Land Cruiser to buy?

 
The definitive ‘classic’ Land Cruiser is the short-wheelbase J40, otherwise known as the 40-Series. Built in Japan between 1960 and 1984, it lived on as a Brazilian-manufactured model until 2001. While its predecessor, the J20, looked quite similar externally, the J40 had improvements in every area, with more power, better performance and build refinements. 
 
Engines were designated ‘F’ for petrol models, which were six-cylinder units and initially of 3.9 litres capacity, then after 1975 4.2 litres. ‘B’ designates the four-cylinder diesel engines available only after 1974, and ‘H’ was used later for six-cylinder diesel units. The earliest transmissions were three-speed; later, four- and five-speed ’boxes were introduced, each having a high- and low-ratio transfer box and selectable two- and four-wheel drive.
 
Front disc brakes were added in 1976 and 1979 saw the introduction of power steering and air conditioning as options. 
 
During the J40’s production run there were few external changes and, inside, things were kept fairly utilitarian. Later, LX trim gave the lucky owner stripy seats, a dash panel pad, carpeting, tachometer… and a digital clock.
 
FJ40s are the ones to have, being petrol-engined and compact. Powerful, flexible, capable and seemingly unbreakable, their only drawback is an inevitable thirst.
 

Performance and specs

 
Engine 4230cc, in-line six-cylinder
Power 135bhp @ 3600rpm
Torque 210lb ft @ 1800rpm
Top speed 65mph
0-60mph N/A
Fuel consumption 16mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 2648mm
Length 4686mm
Width 1689mm
Height 1867mm
Kerb weight 1848kg
 

Common problems

 
• Like so many steel cars of the period, the FJ is manufactured in such a way that there are many seams: water gets in, with catastrophic consequences. Vehicles driven on salted roads or used for hauling boats are likely to have suffered the most. 
 
• Running gear is pretty bomb-proof, as you’d expect of a utility product from Toyota. Chassis, engines, gearboxes and axles are simple and very strong, and, while the basic leaf-spring suspension is antique, so is a Land Rover’s. Diesel-engined BJs are pedestrian.
 
• Undeniably thirsty at around 18-20mpg, many FJ40s have had modifications to try to improve fuel economy: freewheeling hubs fitted to the front axle were a common addition. A rare option is an additional overdrive unit made in the United Kingdom by Fairey, which allows for more relaxed cruising.
 
• Service items aren’t hard to come by and Toyota can supply much, but at a price; other parts including brakes and suspension are catered for by aftermarket suppliers.
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.landcruiserclub.net
• www.cruisercorps.com
 

Summary and prices

 
Anyone following auction results, particularly in the US, will have seen stratospheric rises after 2012, with some early Land Cruisers making six-figure sums. This excitement brought hundreds of them to market. Saturation has a lot to do with it settling back now and means it’s a better time to buy. 
 
With over-exposure of early Land Rovers, they’re also way cooler. Buying rules are simple: go on condition and originality, and buy to use. A really good FJ40 should be £25,000, an excellent one £40,000.
 
Words: Julian Shoolheifer
Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser
Last updated: 28th Feb 2017
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Toyota FJ40
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  • 1982 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser

    $72,500(£54,984) $72,500(£54,984)

    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.  

    For sale
    $72,500(£54,984) $72,500(£54,984)
    Hyman Ltd
    314-524-6000 View contact number
  • Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser

    POA POA

    - Early example subject to comprehensive professional restoration in 2015/2016 - Capri Blue with grey seats - Current MoT with no advisories to 21 January 2018 The origins of the long-running Land Cruiser series of 4x4s date back to 1941, when the Japanese authorities ordered Toyota to reverse engineer the Jeep. The first Land Cruiser was launched 10 years later. The name has become a byword for rugged dependability in parts of the world where even the ubiquitous Land Rover has been known to struggle. The now classic FJ40 model was in production from 1960 to 1984. This RHD example was imported from Australia in 2015 and subjected to a comprehensive professional restoration in 2015/2016. The bodywork was restored by Sussex Coachworks whilst the engine and mechanics were entrusted to Imberhorne 4x4. We are advised that all panels were removed, shot blasted and resprayed in Capri Blue whilst the brakes, clutch, electrics, pistons, bearings, shock absorbers and cooling system were all renewed and the seats reupholstered. Used sparingly since completion, a shakedown journey to the Spa Classic was enjoyed with no issues. The vendor informs us the rear bench seat is not present, the odome

    • Year: 1969
    For sale
    POA POA