You’re an image-conscious motorist wanting a retro SUV that looks as natural parked up outside a Kensington town house as it does straddling the mud lanes of the Amazonian rainforest. What do you go for? A Land Rover Defender? Too predictable. A Mk1 Range Rover? Hmm, try harder. What about a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40? That’s more like it…
The short-wheelbase two-door model might not yet have a global following to match those vintage Land Rovers just yet, but, for many people, this Land Cruiser variant has long been the go-to off-road vehicle of choice. The reason is simple: the FJ40 is, as it was when it first launched in 1960, an all-terrain vehicle in its purest form.
Ok sure, on paper it doesn’t exactly stand out amongst the crowd. The FJ40 uses a body-on-frame design and features an interior designed with function rather than form in mind, so it has almost nothing in the way of mod cons and even requires its rear passengers to sit at a right angle to the direction of travel. It also came available in both all-wheel drive and rear-drive forms, which means some examples weren’t even proper 4x4s.
What helps to provide the FJ40 an advantage over the Defender et al are a selection of torquey engines, which include six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines that give the Japanese SUV performance to make our much-loved Landy look wheezy. We’re not talking about straight-line pace here, of course, but rather grunt to drive you up mountain dunes. Or torque to keep up momentum through flowing river water. Or power to tug that beached Series II out of the mud with the front-mounted winch. Ehem.
It’s probably fair to assume that a larger percentage of surviving FJ40s (of which more than 300,000 were built) have been used in these mucky scenarios than Defenders, what with so many examples of the latter now living in cities. However, with global appreciation for the FJ40 growing as every day passes, models like the freshly restored car you see here will surely crop up on the classifieds more regularly.
This car – based in Australia – has been returned to completely original speciation, with the body finished in desert camouflage Dune Beige and the roof painted in Cygnus White to help reflect the searing heat from an Aussie sun. It has a winch on the front and uses a six-cylinder petrol engine, which at least means that the car won’t pull away with plumes of black smoke pouring out of its exhaust like old school diesel alternatives.
No price is given by the seller, but given that another restored FJ40 Land Cruiser is up for $51,500 in the US, we’re probably looking at a price that equates to a fair chunk more than £30,000 – which is a little more than fully restored Land Rover money. But for a buyer Down Under this could represent one heck of a cool alternative to the retro SUV everyone else expects you to buy.
SPECIFICATION – TOYOTA LAND CRUISER FJ40
Engine: 4,200cc, straight-six
Transmission: four-speed manual, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 135
Torque (lb ft): 210
MPG: Not much
First registered: 1978
Recorded mileage: 630 (post restoration)
Price new: N/A
Yours for: Have a guess?
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