Wants & Desires | 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser

That old Land Cruiser I saw in Aspen a couple of years ago? I haven’t forgotten it and haven’t stopped watching the used market for them (I’m not a buyer, just a lurker). Yesterday I discovered this fully-restored 1978 truck and had to show it off here. It’s a pristine ride, but not going to come cheap at nearly $40,000. Though, I suppose that’s the price when you don’t do any of the work yourself. Either way it is more affordable than this bad boy.

The old 40 Series FJs are really great looking old trucks. Even though they are sort of Jeep / Land Rover clones, they still look great, especially when restored as nicely as this FJ40.

Comments on “Wants & Desires | 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser

    Bill Burge on January 29, 2012 11:42 PM:

    That’s beautiful. One of my biggest regrets is having to sell a 78 FJ40 I picked up when I was about 10 years ago when I moved. It never ran quite right, but I had it, and the interior wasn’t in horrible shape–complete with the stock dash-mounted AC. One day (though also not for $40,000.

    Oliver on January 30, 2012 1:08 AM:

    Here in CA, I’d have to only go for a ’73 and older classic…pre-smog.

    goo on January 30, 2012 2:04 AM:

    all. bros. want. land. criser.
    decades of bros, in fact.
    claassic bro.

    Israel on January 30, 2012 4:04 AM:


    Ramalhoni on January 30, 2012 5:49 AM:

    Love it! In the late 80’s my family owned a Land Cruiser from that period and I was always asking why couldn’t we get an older model, just like this one. We used to have tons of the here in Portugal, but now they are very difficult to find!

    MATT on January 30, 2012 8:22 AM:


    MATT on January 30, 2012 8:23 AM:


    Bruce on January 30, 2012 9:53 AM:

    You will get tired of an early Land Cruiser long before you wear it out…and you will never get tired of it. Awesome off-road beasts, simple by design, easy to repair, a real purpose driven machine.

    Turling on January 30, 2012 10:49 AM:

    On my way to work there’s a gentleman who leaves about the same time I drive by every day. I believe his FJ is from the early ’70’s, but I’m not exact on the year. Bright freaking orange that thing is and immaculate. We give “the point” to each other when I happen to be in the Scout. Although my point is “hey, nice ride” where his is “you poor fool.”

    Michael on January 30, 2012 12:42 PM:

    Token negative commenter.


    But seriously, that’s a cool ride. Looks immaculate.

    Derrick on January 30, 2012 12:48 PM:

    Good friend of mine has an ’80 BJ40- the diesel version. He got it shipped from Australia so it’s a right-hand drive. I can say this about it. I love the look but it fracking hurts to ride in that thing. I have a first generation Discovery that can go just about anywhere that thing goes yet is still tame on a highway. But that cool factor is what you’re paying for and I guess that’s just priceless- especially when you see what F/BJ40’s and Defenders go for on eBay.

    Guido on January 30, 2012 1:45 PM:

    Used to have a ’73 FJ40 back in the mid 80’s. Ex made me sell it! Kick myself regularly. They’re great machines. I swear it would climb a tree if I wanted to!

    e on January 30, 2012 1:49 PM:

    @Derrick – You have another good friend with a BJ? Ha. Love my BJ a lot more than the rusty ’78 FJ40 I used to have, though it was kind of mad-max col. Would rather it be in this color though – very nice. Don’t think it’s factory. Don’t care too much for the later-model spoked wagon wheels, then again my stock splits are heavy as f*ck. Regardless, the Cruiser market is still going strong – they’re an excellent investment. This is my third, and I really miss the FJ60 wagon. Go for a diesel if you can afford – turbo gives it just as much power as the gas 2F motor, and it’ll run on just about anything you dump in the tank.

    Can’t wait to get that Disco dirty….

    Mac on January 30, 2012 2:52 PM:

    the best thing about these vs. the Land Rovers is that you can drop a V8 into them as well.

    I left Jeep out because, even though the CJ’s look pretty cool, I still don’t think they really match up to the FJ’s and Land Rovers.

    kevin on January 30, 2012 3:20 PM:

    The smog setup with all the vacuum hoses and the air injection pump was my least favorite part of the truck I owned.

    e on January 30, 2012 3:33 PM:

    @Mac – There are a few V8 Series II and III Land Rovers running around. It’s a pretty straightforward conversion. However, I’m personally sick and tired of seeing small-block V8s dropped into everything under the sun. Regardless, most of the trucks of this era are pretty capable off-roaders in stock form; it’s more a function of your specific brand loyalty or technical proficiency that determines which one best suits your intended use.

    Chris on January 30, 2012 3:48 PM:

    TLC 4 X 4 in Van Nuys was near one of our metal plating vendors and whenever we went up there we would get a look at what was on their lot or showroom. Seeing those beauties certainly made navigating the 101 freeway on a hot summer day a bit more bearable.

    (click on their restorations page)

    OhioHead on January 30, 2012 3:54 PM:

    Very beautiful, much cheaper than buying an Icon made recreation ($75k +)!

    folkert on January 30, 2012 4:07 PM:

    I can feel your joy!!!!
    Recently restored this very rare BJ44 (bit longer diesel version from Japan) and enjoy every minute of it…. check my restoring blog for an overload of pics: http://bj44.wordpress.com

    once you have one, you’ll never let them go…

    dangdang on January 30, 2012 5:41 PM:

    Folkert, that restore job is awesome mate.

    One day I plan to get one of these. It will have to wait though, since I need to get a house with a garage first so I can do all the restoring myself…

    Currently driving a present day FJ, it’s fun nonetheless, but I definitely want to get my hands on a vintage!

    Mark on January 30, 2012 6:06 PM:

    I’ll be blogging a Land Cruiser tomorrow as well… though I’m lusting after a different series!

    Lucas Heller on January 30, 2012 6:11 PM:

    I went to go look at one of these like 2 or 3 years ago. Interior was in great shape. Engine ran, but needed the carb rebuilt. Body was restored and looked great. Asking price was 2500. I was really excited about it until I got underneath it and saw……undercoating!! Lots and lots of undercoating!! Needless to say, the frame was….how do I put it? Soft like a sponge all over, soft. It was a shame, but the thing needed an entirely new chassis and I was a junior in college with bills to pay. I have since grown more fond of the 86 land cruiser, and would gladly take a mid 90s Bronco. The real crown jewel of this comment is what I am about to show all of you. The sad thing is that non of you have any idea how drastically your lives are going to be changed. The link I am about to post is definitely the coolest cool thing I have found on the internet and dreamed about owning since i began searching the internet and dreaming about owning stuff. Michael, please-for the love of God-use all of your power of influence and exposure to get these things onto American soil!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFx5b5Tpjfc

    Mark on January 30, 2012 7:42 PM:

    Lucas, why the 1986 specifically?

    Jonathan on January 30, 2012 8:51 PM:

    … and like the beautiful beast that they were this danged off-roader was prone to rolling over when they were speeding down highways. They are very touchy in the handling department. Back in 1972, girlfriend brought it to an untimely end trying to avoid a semi that swerved into her lane. Amazingly she was ejected by the crash and landed in a puddle of slush and snow! Not a scratch on her, could not say that about the Land Cruiser. My 2003 Highlander AWD is a lot prettier, has leather seats; wood dash and a sunroof AND it’s very easy on the kidneys while we’re cruising the back roads of the great northwest. It’s not a classic, but it sure is reliable.

    marylynn on January 30, 2012 9:43 PM:

    love the muted blue. nothing like feeling the hair wiping in the wind. henry hudson-taconic-columbia county- water falls.

    Lucas Heller on January 30, 2012 10:56 PM:

    I apologize. I intended to say 1988. I love station wagons. The styling of the late 80s 4 doors is really wagonish while maintaining a heavy duty frame and serious 4X4 setup. I also really like the split headlight which was absent on earlier models, although allot of people installed them after the fact. Seriously though, no comments on the Lada Niva? Not even a little awesome? Maybe its just me.

    Jonas on January 31, 2012 12:30 AM:

    I drove a really nice 1984 FJ-60 for a long time until about a year (or so) ago when I started reading ACL. Lifted (just a bit) with all the underhood mods, and tastefull bits. Sharp looking rig. Always got thumbs up and comments on it. Probably one of the best wagons I’ve ever owned.
    But, I really got into the made in the USA thing. I have a elderly friend whom I have lunch with once in awhile. He is a Iwo Jima veteran. He asked me once what kind of car I had when I was picking him up and I felt like a real asshole when I said (almost under my breath) “Toyota”.
    I put it up for sale the next day, and bought a 1971 International Harvester 4×4 crewcab truck.

    Vaughn Blake on January 31, 2012 1:09 AM:

    Gorgeous.They hold up for the most part, as well. As Mac mentioned, dropping the ol’ V8 in is great for that extra oomph.

    Now if I can only find that 40K I misplaced in the couch cushions…

    Duncan on January 31, 2012 4:19 AM:

    $40K is a whopping amount to pay, although it is beautiful & great color.
    I wonder what this vehicle cost back in 78′ & what would it be adjusted for inflation?
    I do know $40K back then would of bought a very limited edition, Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 with a full air suspension, leather interior, & a dry sump motor plus real exclusivity.
    $40K would also have bought a Porsche 930 Turbo with cash to spare:)

    James on January 31, 2012 11:35 AM:

    Michael, when are you going to do a profile on TLC ICON and Jonathan Ward?
    Have you seen there version of a classic Ford Bronco yet? You will fall in love.

    Kenneth on January 31, 2012 11:43 AM:

    Now we’re talkin’ Michael. Good stuff. Might want to get that hard top and heater for the Lake Effects…

    Rhon on January 31, 2012 11:44 AM:

    This would be ideal for my Backwoods Plaid adventures.

    Victor Delta on January 31, 2012 11:48 AM:

    Plus….its the perfect color. I had a 240D pretty close to that color. Had a CJ-7 pretty close too. If I ever get a Mini, I want that color. Shades of old 501s and wedgewood china!

    e on January 31, 2012 11:57 AM:

    @folkert – brilliant job on your 44. I need to find one of those “silencer pads,” though the sound of the 4-banger isn’t too much of a hassle. Also, the sliders are very cool. In the perfect world, there should be more 4-door 44/45/47s too.

    Elias on January 31, 2012 12:31 PM:

    I spent a summer in Uganda driving a ’94 Cruiser with the V6 Turbodiesel. Right-side driving, manual transmission, off-road tires, and the seat belts cut out. The most fun I have ever had driving, without question.

    doane on January 31, 2012 2:20 PM:

    color is dead on

    Kevin on January 31, 2012 3:30 PM:

    Had a red 72 FJ40 in college in the 80s. What a beast! Dang, I miss it. Those Jeep guys have no idea….it’s definitely an FJ thing!

    A.Charles on January 31, 2012 4:11 PM:

    Looks great! Equally cool — a company in the Philippines has been making 100% stainless steel Jeep bodies since the 1970s. I didn’t know about it until my uncle picked one up a couple of months ago. Something like this: http://www.vogtclan.ch/jeep/index.html

    mike on February 1, 2012 8:49 AM:

    a NH resto shop that does land cruisers exclusively

    folkert on February 1, 2012 9:27 AM:

    best advise I can give you is becoming a member of IH8MUD, http://www.ih8mud.com ( i hate mud), that is the largest international forum dedicated to toyota landcruisers, lots of info, helpful members, rigs for sale etc.

    one thing I always see as their advice: NEVER BUY A LANDCRUISER FROM EBAY!!!


    Daniel Newman on February 2, 2012 11:30 AM:

    It might come from a Japanese company, but that truck looks about as American as they come. It’s far easier to picture that FJ on a ranch in Montana than on the streets of Tokyo.

    REP96st on February 5, 2012 10:52 PM:

    I’ve always loved the look of the FJ. So much so, as a kid, I thought they were all Jeeps.That one above looks sick, but I’ll stick to my Jeep though.

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