Esthetics are not the number one requirement for AWD vehicles, though they’re always a nice addition to the package. Looks-wise, Land Cruisers of this generation had always left me a bit cold, until I found this particular one. Was it that toy-like sky blue hue, or the fact that it seemed utterly straight and spotless, or the unusual absence of plastic or rubber trim? This TLC ticked a lot of boxes.
I’m none too knowledgeable about these, but I gather the split tailgate was only available from 1982 in Japan and mirrors were on the fenders until the end of 1983, so this could be an ’84. OK, so it’s not 100% stock – aside from the colour, the owner opted to put clear lenses for the indicators, but that’s a very minor thing. The running boards are also added (or possibly were a period option?) and I’m not sure whether the mirrors are correct for this early ‘80s model, either. They add to the overall brightwork, so they’re fine by me.
This post is certainly not going to delve into the intricacies of the FJ60’s technical side. It’s an old-school BOF 4×4, it has a big 4-litre straight-6, automatic transmission and that’s all that needs to be said on the matter. (If you want to know more on that side of things, click right this way.) I guess it never occurred to me that the ‘80s Land Cruisers could be considered good-looking. They were hardy workhorses, not 2000GTs.
But sometimes, all it takes is for the right specimen to materialize, and an epiphany is triggered. That interior looked quite pleasant, too. Very ‘80s Toyota, with a few additions – all in a good way. It even looks like a satnav or some kind of touchscreen has been made to fit in the dash. (Again, I have no frame of reference with this generation of TLC – though I realize they never had anything of the kind 30-plus years ago – so that screen-like rectangle could be something else entirely, which the CCommentariat will helpfully point out…) And those seats sure look nice too. That’s the kind of personalization I can live with.
But it’s not just that my tastes have evolved, it’s also that traffic has changed. Cars have gotten so damn huge today that this old-style SUV seems about as cumbersome as a modern minivan. It sits higher off the ground than a 2020 minivan would, but doesn’t look any the worse for it – quite the opposite. That’s another thing I liked about this particular FJ60: it’s wearing the right size of wheel and it’s not jacked up by 10 feet. It has just the right amount of tyre for its wheel wells, just like your shoes should go with the clothes you wear.
It seems this generation of Land Cruisers, now that it’s over 30, is becoming something of an icon. Not long after I caught the FJ60, I found this interesting J100 with a face that looked mighty familiar.
I’m not sure whether Toyota sold some like this or if this was done with an aftermarket kit, but I’m sure I’ve seen a few of these here – though Google image searches aren’t backing up my vague memories. To my untrained eye, the side, rear and interior are standard-issue J100, but it seems someone wanted the older face. This looks better than the production version, in my opinion.
But given the choice, I’ll take the original (well, this particular one anyway) any day.
Curbside Classic: 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser – Keeping The Faith, by Perry Shoar