The Real ‘Jurassic Park’ SUVs Were Actually Toyota Land Cruisers

Jurassic Park Land Cruiser 2

In a few days, one of the biggest films to ever come out of Hollywood is hitting theaters; no, Star Wars didn’t move up its release date. I’m talking, of course, about Jurassic World (June 12). It’s the fourth installment of the famed franchise, and with it, we’ll see a parade of new 4x4s and SUVs, all coming from Mercedes-Benz (yay product placement!).

But if you’re as much of a Jurassic Park nerd as I am, you know that author Michael Crichton had a different vehicle in mind as the star attraction for the film franchise. Something less German, and more Japanese— as it reads in the novel:

“A line of Toyota Land Cruisers came out of an underground garage beneath the visitor center. Each car pulled up, driverless and silent. Two black men in safari uniforms were opening the doors for passengers…”

“Tim watched as Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm got into the first Land Cruiser with the lawyer, Gennaro. Tim looked over at Lex, who was standing pounding her fist into her glove.”

1993 Toyota Land Cruiser

Crichton specifically named the Toyota Land Cruiser as the vehicle of choice in the original novel, Jurassic Park. When Steven Spielberg got around to making the 1993 film, though, he used a few Ford Explorers and Jeeps in place of the Japanese off-roader— he never did give a specific reason as to why, likely other than personal preference.

According to the novel, the Land Cruisers were made specifically for the park in Osaka, Japan, and used an all-electric drivetrain to keep in line with the park’s strict no-pollution policy, of course. The Land Cruisers ran on a track transporting visitors to different attractions, came with a a two-way radio letting guests talk back and forth, and an infotainment feature keeping them informed of exactly which dinosaur they were encountering.

The choice of the Explorer over the Land Cruiser didn’t make much of a difference, though. Both vehicles were still hurled over a cliff into a T-rex exhibit. But it would have been cool to see some Cruisers taking on the predator, even if they were bound to a fate of twisted metal.

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