By on January 13, 2011


In my first Denver winter after a driving lifetime in coastal California, I’m now experiencing my first real taste of driving in snow. My ’92 Civic is doing pretty well (i.e., I haven’t crashed or become stuck yet), but I’m starting to eyeball Craigslist listings for IHC Scouts and FJ40 Land Cruisers. After spotting this Toyota in my neighborhood, I may have to forget about the Scouts.

I know better than to attempt to specify an exact model year on one of these things, especially when it’s an visitor from some far-off land where drivers sit on the right and engines drink oil. Let’s say early 1980s and leave it at that.

Australia? Japan? The UK? Land Cruiser experts, what do you say?

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44 Comments on “Snorkel-ized, RHD Diesel Land Cruiser Laughs At Denver Winter...”


  • avatar
    mazder3

    I dunno but I’d like one. Or maybe the truck…
    http://www.toyota.com.au/landcruiser-70-series?WT.ac=Toyota_GlobalNav_SUVSand4WDS_LC70

  • avatar
    grzydj

    They were sold in Canada with diesel engines from ’78 to ’87. Many were also sold in Canada for mining use but were later retrofitted for street use. There were also lots of of these sold in the gray market in Canada then imported to the US in RHD or LHD.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    While I was trying to remember who imported these, I stumbled across this. Part RV, part off-roader and 100% awesome.
     
    http://www.outbackimports.ca/sale/HD-2963.html#HD-2963-02

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      That’s a very Japanese RV design.  I use to work with an American who did LC80 and LC100 mods in east Africa for all sorts of things and my opinion on this is that looks extremely top and tail heavy.
       
      Right off the bat, my instinct is that you’re better off using a 4×4 HiAce – I once had a 4WD LWB HiAce ambo conversion originally for rural Japanese use that was one of the best non LC70 I ever drove in Africa.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      @Signal11
       
      I just use my 4Runner and a tent. :)

  • avatar
    Styles79

    I’m picking Australia, just because of the ‘Roo bars and snorkel (which are incredibly popular over there) and also the towbar style.

  • avatar
    DougD

    Looks like Denver winters will soon have the last laugh with this one.  I too am temped by old FJ40s, but I would probably spend far more hours rescuing the Cruiser than needing to be rescued from a ditch.  I’m thinking more along the lines of the 97-01 Cherokee XJ.
    Enjoying Murilee’s posts, but they seem awful short for CC’s.

  • avatar
    stickman

    RE:  Snorkel

    I occasionally see a 4×4 with snorkel here in SoCal and I always wonder where they drive.  There aren’t too many rivers to ford around here where they’d let you drive through.  The couple that I can think of aren’t past the hubs…where are there 6′ deep rivers to ford in the states?  Maybe south east mud?

    RE:  Year

    Don’t know the year but I learned a long time ago that if you look closely at a tail light lens, they often are stamped with the year (+/- 1) of manufacture.  It’s a whole art decoding those and here’s a website that shows you how:  http://sites.google.com/site/guidetotaillightcodes/

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Believe it or not, snorkels for working vehicles are more there to get the air intake off the road to keep dust out than they are for deep fording.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      This is definitely pre 1980, BTW.  From looking at the headlight bezels and the rearview mirrors, I’d say closer to early 70s.
       
      Advance_92 is right.  You’re better off with AWD in the snow than a lifted LC/FJ.

    • 0 avatar
      ventdiver

      Although foreign markets may be different, the squared off headlight bezel was a 79+ thing here.  Had a ’77, and it had round bezels.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    Just about everyone in Denver has an old Legacy or Outback.  With snow tires that’ll do you better than anything else.  At least until you get hit by an SUV on bald all seasons.

  • avatar

    Love that intake pipe coming out of the front. Somehow that vehicle reminds me of one of my father’s wwii stories. He was stationed in USSR, and there was a race driver in his unit. ONe time he was the passenger with the race driver driving a Jeep. The race driver got the thing up on two wheels on a corner (which already frightened the daylights out of my father), and he says, “the trouble with these Jeeps is while you can get them up on two wheels easily enough, you can’t always get them back down again.”

  • avatar
    Signal11

    This is definitely pre 1980, BTW.  From looking at the headlight bezels and the rearview mirrors, I’d say closer to early 70s.

    Advance_92 is right.  You’re better off with AWD in the snow than a lifted LC/FJ.
     
    Styles_79 – the snorkel, style of bull bars, etc are also popular accessories for all of RHD South/Central Asia and east Africa as well, so I wouldn’t peg it as an AUS import, either.

    • 0 avatar
      Styles79

      This is true, and looking at the rear numberplate holder would make me think that it could’ve either been JDM or at least JDM spec where ever it was sold new. Perhaps it was a used import into little ol’ NZ and then taken out again to end up in Denver?
       No matter what, it’s definitely been around!

  • avatar
    Scottdb

    One problem with FJ40′s re: Winter.  THEY. HAVE. NO. HEAT!

    • 0 avatar
      ventdiver

      Mine did – wasn’t great, but it was there.  Of course, given the lack of weatherproofing it would take a heck of a heater to keep up in freezing temps.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      We had an FJ with the heater in the floor behind and between the front seats. That coupled with the dash heat would cook us out in the winter. Dunno what was up with your FJ… ;)

      We had an Irish Setter that got car sick into that heater once. YUCK. Every winter the first few times we used it reminded us with a smell. No matter how much Dad cleaned it.

      If I bought that Toyota I’d lower it back down to stock height. Looks pretty tippy up there. We used our’s in the late 70s to rescue a UPS truck that had backed off the edge of a driveway. The truck was sitting with the rear wheels dangling in mid-air. Dad chained up to it, put it in 4WD low and towed it out in reverse. Spinning tires on the Toy, hot clutch and the UPS truck was back on the pavement. UPS driver was a friend of Dad’s and Dad probably saved his job. UPS guy wasn’t doing anything wrong but why put doubt in the boss’ mind about his driving ability?
      Like everything else from that era – they are prone to rust so if you buy one, kill the rust to protect your investment. Don’t just cover up the rust with the diamond plate panels I have seen on the FJ around here.
      Good truck but the big wide tires were prone to slipping on wet roads. The narrow factory steelies were probably better than what Dad replaced them with – of course Dad was going for a look as much as anything else.

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    I would roll with a 100 if the budget permits (1998-2006)
    Landys last forever

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    It’s probably Australian since most RHD Land Cruisers are imported form there. Also the body is slightly longer than a normal FJ40, although not all the way to a full FJ45 troopie.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Nice FJ40s are going for crazy money these days. Need a cheap die-hard 4X4? Go for a late 1980′s – early 1990′s Isuzu Trooper, 4 cylinder, manual transmission. Could not kill mine.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I’d go with the Toyota before I’d go with the Scout or the Landcruiser.  Maybe an early Bronco with a hard top.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    That thing has Oz/Aussiesland/Australia written all over it. I guess how many kangaroos were hit by that bar.
     
    Some interior shots would be nice. Thx

  • avatar
    OliverTwist

    My brother lives in Denver for the past twenty years and has a 1998 4Runner. For a long time, he is one angry bird about Toyota’s refusal to offer the diesel motor option for either 4Runner or Land Cruiser in the United States. The official explanation is “no demand” for the diesel motor in the United States for the “light duty vehicles”.
     
    In other word, it is too much of hassle to certify EACH motor and gearbox combination once again for the American market, including the diesel motors. Not to mention the crash tests. That is why you see the “dismal” motor choices amongst the vehicles in the United States as compared to Europe and Australia. EPA would NOT harmonise its requirements with the international standards and would INSIST on doing the separate certification process for the US market even though the motors easily meet both US and international standards.

  • avatar
    texan01

    Only reason I’d go with the Scout is, I know a girl who’s grandfather who was a high muckety-muck in IH.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Is there still a grey market in the US or the doors have been closed?
     
    I’m thinking along these (ugly) lines:
     
    http://www.nkautoimporters.com/nkstockphotos.asp?nki_code=70611
     
     

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    Personally, I would think about a Landcruiser, model 80 — from 91 to 97.  Nice ones are getting rare, but there are plenty of beaters.  Exceptional off road and more importantly, in bad road conditions.
    Make sure to get the 4.5L fuel injected engine.
    A totally stock LC will outperform a lot of tricked out lesser vehicles in tough conditions.
    As a daily driver, not so much.
    I have a 94 myself, and can’t seem to part with it.  Got 3 kids through drivers training and high school.
     

  • avatar
    CapVandal


    In 96 and 97, the 80 series was branded as a Lexus LX 450.  This is a clean looking 97 selling for $8400 on craigslist in my area.  The Lexus tended to be garaged and not off roaded as much.
     
    It would cost me almost that much to fix the body damage and other minor problems due to the kids and my limited off road adventures.  Most of these — esp Lexus —  have never left the pavement.
    They get 12 mpg and are a bit underpowered on the highway.

  • avatar
    Richarbl

    I don’t know where this rather unpleasant Landcruiser derivative came from but I can assure you it didn’t come from Australia. Over here we had the SWB and the LWB, commonly known as a Troop Carrier, but I have never seen this particular body style.
    And besides, such a poor excuse for a bullbar is simply UnAustralian, both in nature and practicality. Any vehicle that had a bullbar so close to the radiator wouldn’t survive more than a couple of years in rural areas and the owners driven out of town and probably deported.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    I sure don’t see much snow in that pic do they get more than that? We get along just fine in a foot of snow without 4×4′s.

  • avatar
    55rps

    Um…
    That’s a 1981 BJ44v from the Japanese Domestic Market (no Europe, no Australia, no US, no Canada) with a lift.  The v designates hardtop.  3.2l “2B” diesel engine with 4sp manual transmission.  No handmade sheetmetal — all factory.  Snorkel is aftermarket and the side mirrors are earlier Toyota; not original to this model.

    Toyota made them for Japan from 1979 to 1982; there were no rounded-bezel BJ44′s. In 1983 and ’84 the truck looked the same externally but the engine changed to a 3B and they came with five-speed manuals and were designated BJ46 models.

    Rust or not, its really, really rare in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      BJ44

      You are correct.  1981 BJ44V-KCY from Japan.  I bought it in NZ and redid the suspension (not tippy at all actually since it is a custom expedition suspension), added a turbo, and did a bunch of mechanical work.  All of the rust is surface and it will be going through a body off restoration this fall.

      The length is the stock length for the BJ44 (14″ longer body and 6″ longer wheelbase) and was made by Toyota taking a the BJ41 (JDM Only as the 40 and 42 where the NA truck designations). and cutting the hard top and adding the small window.  The bed sides were pressed as originals, but uses the 41 rear corners.  The fender mirrors (you can see the mounts in the pictures) were removed by the PO so I replaced them with the post ’77 soft top mirrors.

      It does really well in the snow with its weight and I rarely need to use 4wd.  I lived in Breckenridge for 4 years with this thing and never needed 4wd there unless it was over 4 inches of snow.  It also gets 30-35 miles to the gallon when I drive conservatively.

      The bull bar was added by the PO and I assume would just help if you hit something smaller than a roo.  I am going to replace it when i redo the body.

      There are around 5-7 in the states right now so rarity is an understatement!  A lot have been wrecked so they are pretty rare everywhere nowadays.

      Oh, and RHD is a blast!  Keep an eye out to see her topless this summer before I take the body off this fall (too much fun without the top off to do the resto this summer!)

      Drop a line if you have any questions!

    • 0 avatar
      sailplane

      Another give away that it is not from oz is that this is the mid wheel base version. Australia didn’t have a MWB 40 series.

  • avatar
    PJ McCombs

    I would have guessed Aussie, between that ‘roo bar and snorkel. You see the same mods everywhere here, even in metro Melbourne–only the model year is usually much newer and the driver is an accountant!


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