While we’d all like to be perfect stewards of the automobile, sometimes…we’re not. Cars get used. They get abused. They get driven hard, and put away wet. Some more than others.
Given the rough-and-tumble nature of the old Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40s, many would fall into that former category, having endured countless bumps, bruises, and injuries over the years. This doesn’t appear to be one of them, however.
This super-clean 1978 FJ40 is said to have spent its 38 years solely in the ownership of one family, living in Columbia, where it was used for trips around town and jaunts into the countryside. Now, it has been treated to a concours-quality restoration and prepares to strut across the RM Sotheby’s auction block later this month in Phoenix, Arizona.
Estimated price? Between $80,000 and $100,000. Yup, they’re certainly popular.
The Toyota Land Cruiser story began humbly in the early 1950s. Toyota had been contracted by the U.S. military to build a 4×4, which could be produced domestically and fielded by military and police forces in Asia. The result was the Jeep-like Toyota BJ, and though it ultimately wasn’t selected for procurement, it did become the patrol car of Japan’s National Police Agency, eventually earning itself the “Land Cruiser” name.
The ever-popular FJ40 variant was spawned in 1960, and it helped fuel the Land Cruiser/Land Rover rivalry that still exists today. The last FJ40s were imported into the U.S. in 1983, giving way to the utility wagon FJ60s. Since then, U.S. market ‘Cruisers have climbed significantly upmarket, however they still arrive off-road ready.
Though bare-bones in comparison to its modern Land Cruiser brethren, this immaculate FJ40 may be a bit too pretty to take off-road anymore. Inside, the dashboard, switchgear, seats, and roll bar give off a factory fresh look, while on the outside the FJ’s skin wears layer after layer of its gorgeous (and correct) Sky Blue paint.
Needless to say, the restoration—undertaken by Miami’s The FJ Company—pays great attention to the Cruiser’s originality. As such, the engine, transmission, four-wheel drive system, and even hard top are all original. In fact, new-old-stock Toyota parts are said to have been used wherever possible on the build, but even purists can’t knock the Old Man Emu suspension components underneath.
Like it? You’re not alone. The no-reserve auction for this beauty of a Toyota Land Cruiser commences in Phoenix on Thursday, January 28.