CC Capsule: 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ75 With Chevy 6.5 L Diesel V8 – How’s That For Something A Bit Different?

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As soon as I saw this rig in a parking lot yesterday, I knew it was a bit far away from home. Toyota never imported these HJ Series Land Cruisers to the US, so I started walking towards it, pulling my camera out. But then I saw the sticker on its side, behind the front door. Whoa!

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“Chevrolet 6.5 V8 Diesel”. Now that’s not exactly something I would have expected to see on a Toyota Land Cruiser. Or any Toyota, for that matter.

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Well, John, the owner of this rig from Australia was there, popped the hood to verify that the sticker wasn’t a joke, and told me that this conversion is rather popular down under. And that folks pay some very serious bucks to buy and ship these engines from the US. Yes, it is a parallel universe down there. And he’s brought a piece of it here to Eugene, where he now lives and runs an automotive shop in Springfield.

For the record, this is the “Detroit Diesel” V8 that first arrived in 1982, in a 6.2 L version, and available on C/K series trucks as well as the military HMMWV, where it has served for many years. It’s not a direct injection engine, unlike more modern units, and also was naturally aspirated

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The 6.5 L version was introduced in 1992, and was available in both turbo and naturally-aspirated versions. Obviously, this one is a non-turbo model, but still cranks out a pretty healthy 180 hp @ 3400 rpm, and 360 lb.ft. of torque. Of course, the turbo upped that considerably, with 315 hp and 530 lb.ft. of torque. (Update: these numbers were from wikipedia, and apparently are incorrect. See comment below with corrected numbers).  Either way, it’s a substantial increase over the Toyota H2 diesel that originally powered this truck, a 4.0 L six with 107 hp and 177 lb.ft. of torque.

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The original Toyota manual transmission is considered plenty stout for the V8’s torque. And John’s dog just had to get into the picture for his 15 minutes of fame.

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This “tray” (bed) is not original, but it’s a tidy and functional things. Nice rig, and certainly a distinctive one for here. Welcome to the US, John; your Chevy V8 diesel should feel right at home.