You've seen them racing across deserts, slogging through jungles, and carrying people through some of the most remote areas on Earth. For five decades, trucks like this 1976 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser have been the way people get places where others fear to tread, and today they're red-hot collectables with all the off-street cred you'll ever need.
The boxy, upright shape must be the most efficient for going to remote places, because all the great off-roaders share it. The Toyota is a little more butch than most, with a wide stance and snub-nosed attitude that suggests a stubborn resilience. In fact, that describes the Toyota perfectly, since it's as reliable as a mountain goat and just as sure-footed. The traditional red paint is a bright choice within the Toyota color palette, and it gives the Cruiser that off-road vibe that you see in the National Geographic films. Repainted to a nice standard, it looks quite good and the bodywork is very straight, suggesting that this FJ hasn't been abused or neglected. The doors and hard top fit quite well for an FJ, sealing it up for inclement weather and making it practical for everyday use. The white grille is iconic and still echoes in today's FJ Cruiser, flanked by a set of simple flat fenders and a hood with factory louvers on the sides. Glass, rubber, and the heavy-duty gray bumpers are in great shape, and a full-size spare with matching rim is mounted on factory equipment out back.
That no-nonsense theme continues inside where basic black and red are the dominant colors, offering a pair of buckets up front and enough cargo room to move your brother out of his apartment. The seat covers have some wear and tear (particularly the driver's seat) but do duplicate the original pleated patterns. The rest of the cabin is fairly spartan, showing off exposed hardware on the door panels and a hush-mat/heat reducer mat up front that sits atop the painted floor pans. The dash looks original could stand to be replaced, but the controls are factory simple to use and easy to find without looking, which was entirely the point. Like most Land Cruisers of the era, options are sparse, with heat/defrost being the only “amenity”, although the factory slots for the radio and speakers are open, so an upgrade in the tunes department would be relatively easily. Twin fold-away jump seats out back offer extra seating in a pinch and the twin shift levers in between the front buckets manage the off-road system and 4-speed gearbox. Someone obviously cared for this FJ throughout its life, and although it isn't perfect, it's just right for a rugged 4x4.
Power comes from a correct 4.2 liter inline-six, which soldiered on in one form or another for more than two decades. Reliable, torquey, and surprisingly smooth, it was the powerplant of choice when your mechanic was also a goat herder in the desert. Finished with factory-correct finishes, plus a Holley 2-barrel carburetor, it looks, sounds, and feels just like it might have in 1976. An aluminum radiator keeps the whole show nice and cool, which means you can head out to the desert with confidence. The chassis is equally nice, showing evidence of freshened mechanical bits, newer heavy-duty shocks, and a fresh exhaust system featuring a chambered muffler provides a nice burbling soundtrack for this indestructible bruiser. Big 32x11.50-15 BFGoodrich All-Terrain radials are wrapped around clean white wheels which have just the right combination of appearance and durability, and match the grille and top layer of the hard top.
It's not every day you get the chance to own an icon, and you either get the Land Cruiser or you don't. If you're one of the folks who do get it, call today!