When you think of a typical firetruck, what image comes to mind? Perhaps something big, unwieldy, and doused in red. Nine times out of ten, that’s the response you’ll hear. But for the person who responds with “an ‘80s Toyota Land Cruiser,” well…they have a point too.
This titan of the emergency vehicle world is in fact a 1983 Toyota Land Cruiser. It boasts Toyota’s iconic FJ60 series styling, a boot full of pump truck ancillaries, and has since retired from its Japanese firefighting origins. Nowadays it resides on eBay, presumably waiting to spring into service once again.
Well, perhaps “spring” isn’t the right word. The FJ60 Land Cruiser series arrived in 1980, bringing such luxuries to the ‘Cruiser line as air-conditioning and power steering. They weren’t exactly what you’d call quick, however. Toyota offered its rugged workhorses with a range of four- and six-cylinder diesels, and a trio of straight-six gas engines. This ’83 firetruck totes the 4.2-liter 2F six, which offered up 135 horsepower and 210 lb.-ft. of torque…and was tasked with heaving 4,200 pounds. Maybe sound that alarm a little bit early.
Joking aside, these Toyota FJ60s earned a reputation for being incredibly hardy. The Land Cruiser packs a four-speed manual transmission and four-wheel drive transfer case that sends power to a pair of rugged solid axles on leaf springs. There’s certainly plenty of switches to throw and knobs to turn inside this Toyota, beyond the shift lever, though most of the labels are written in Japanese.
The same can be said of the Land Cruiser’s rear pump controls, all in Japanese, which were built by the Morita Fire Pump Company and accommodate another pair of jump seats. Add it up and this fire-fighting Land Cruiser can ferry seven passengers, though with only 3,520 kilometers (2,187 miles) on the clock, this Toyota doesn’t look like it fought many fires at all.