By on May 10, 2012

The Land Cruiser is one of those vehicles that washes up in self-service junkyards only after its body and interior become so thrashed that even bottom-feeder truck shoppers can’t stand the idea of being seen in the thing. Contrast this with the legions of great-looking 1980s Jaguars you’ll find in the very same yards.
Here in Colorado, FJ60s are still all over the streets, being used as suburban family transportation, work trucks, and (very thirsty) daily drivers. Not quite as luxurious as modern SUVs, but simple and durable. Actually, they were pretty luxurious trucks for their time, but the bouncy suspension, cabin noise, and dearth of cupholders seem very dated today.
This much-abused example didn’t quite make 200,000 miles. The interior didn’t smell so good, which was probably the final straw for its last owner.
The Toyota F engine was pure truck, though supposedly the Toyota Crown Police Interceptor (not what they called it, but they should have) got the F. Lots of torque, lots of noise.
This isn’t a great loss to the world, since most of the FJ60s built are still above ground, but it’s a shame to see one of these sturdy machines get used up like a salvage-title Geo Tracker.

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32 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1985 Toyota Land Cruiser...”

  • avatar

    Ahh… rust in all the familiar places. Sad to see another one go, knowing Toyota has long abandoned the off road market in the USA.

    The odos were notorious for giving up on these things, and it’s quite conceivable that this example made it much farther after its owner stopped caring about just how many hundred thousand miles it had on the clock.

    The “real” Land Cruisers (which can be defined as any member of the species with a front live axle) were cursed with their near-invincible durability, as second or third owners never really bothered to service these things (or perform ANY preventative maintenance) and literally ran them into the ground, vastly shortening their lifespan.

    The new 70 series would probably be welcomed by the select few that pay ridiculous premiums on cherry 60 and 80 series at auctions, but Toyota will never actually bring an off-road capable Land Cruiser to the States again.

    • 0 avatar

      I keep seeing comments about lack of owner maintenance but don’t quite understand. What are they skipping?

      Also, when did the front axle supposedly stop being off road capable? My 97 climbs rocks nearly as well as a Humvee. My limitation being fear of body damage on both Uncle Sugar’s ride and mine.

      • 0 avatar

        If you have a 97, odds are it’s the 40th anniversary edition 80-series and the last of the live-axle I6 Land Cruisers sold in the US, it’s successor the 100 series had a IFS and was nowhere near as off-road capable, curiously the diesel versions on sale in S. Africa had an live-axle option which was later dropped.

        I currently have a 40th anniversary 80 series with an OME/ARB/Kaymar parts group I use to off road in my part of Florida and think of as the last capable Land Cruiser Toyota sold in the US.

        In terms of the 60/62 series if you don’t regularly flush the cooling system the expensive radiator rusts to hell (and is a PITA to fix), the same goes for leaks and maintenance of the hydraulics like the power steering where inattentiveness grenades the pump, you can run one 30-40k miles without ever changing the oil, the front hub lockers need to be packed regularly or they freeze up, if you run it in 2H perpetually the t-case seizes up in low range, the diffs are prone to leaking (but will continue to work with little to no fluid in them), water can get in the transmission from deep crossings and raise hell if it’s not flushed out… weird homebrewed smog pump removal solutions (from lanwnmower pulleys to gutting the pump internals) are also common.

        And that’s not even addressing the various body rust issues that can lead to costly repairs or annoying leaks.

      • 0 avatar

        Thats what I got. I also got a rear main seal leak that 900 dollars may or may not fix and which a had to spend a week looking for someone who said they would even try to fix.
        Everyone in my life wants me to get rid of it, but I know I will regret it.

    • 0 avatar

      “Sad to see another one go, knowing Toyota has long abandoned the off road market in the USA.”

      It’s hard to blame their change in design philosophy. There aren’t many places you can *get* off the road anymore in the USA, and the places where you can, their current IFS-equipped models will manage just fine.

      Hell, they can even be modified into very capable trail toys if you’re willing to drop $15,000 aftermarket into them. And yes, while retaining the IFS.

      Anyway, the tradeoffs for better road and interior manners are what have allowed Toyota to prosper into its current incarnation.

      The FJ Cruiser is a nice nod from ToMoCo to their heritage. The Hilux is still probably the best truck worldwide. Late model Tacomas and 4Runners, while bloated, retain their predecessors’ bulletproof nature.

      Believe me, in the right circles, Toyota off road is still very much alive…

  • avatar

    Was that a loudspeaker stuck to the door in pic 3? It is gone in pic 12.

  • avatar

    Very cool find, though when you described the interior smelling bad, I thought the interior was more trashed than the seats showed. Still though, the paint looks like it’s seen better days, faded and chalky and peeling off in places.

    That said, I STILL see these on the roads in Seattle from time to time, many in halfway decent shape still.

  • avatar
    87CE 95PV Type Я

    Oh wow, a 1980s vehicle with round headlights, that is rare. These are nice vehicles and I remember a number of them from my time in the Centennial State, but most of the ones I saw were in the Denver Metro Area. You know Mr. Martin, this SUV has reminded me that there has not been a DOTS for months, what happened? I miss seeing all the cool vehicles Denver has to offer.

    So, what is up with the Subaru Legacy Outback next to it, I thought those lasted forever and ever out there. Also, what is the writing on the plastic cladding say?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I weep uncontrollably for this departed noble beast.

  • avatar

    I’ll be that guy. I know it sounds like heresy but when I see these I think of a Japanese Hummer. Nobody is lamenting Hummer going Chinese or whatever. We will probably be setting around talking about them like this when they become scarce.

    My executive officer in Panama had a sixty something land cruiser and I just loved it. The later models with the plastic cladding are the genesis of the above statement. I just never could like them.

  • avatar

    How badly damaged was that Outback on the left? That seems like a very new car to be in a Denver yard.

    • 0 avatar

      My guess is the combination of intergalactic mileage, body rust and the fabled EJ25 blowing its gaskets, all deemed it not worth the expense to save.

    • 0 avatar

      The newest that outback could be is a 1999. Started making that gen in 1995

    • 0 avatar

      90s Outbacks are showing up in Colorado junkyards in large numbers these days. They’re not worth much even in good shape and a head-gasket job (which most of them need) is 1200 bucks. Mid-2000s Outbacks are still pretty pricey, so you don’t see them in self-serve yards…yet.

  • avatar

    As an 85 that is not an F engine…its the 2F.

  • avatar

    The wife of a local weld shop owner has one of these in the same blue color. Seems to be running pretty good, but she does drive kind of slow.

  • avatar

    As the owner of an ’89 FJ62, I can speak to the maintenance intensive (though highly reliable when maintained) nature of these beasts. Mine has 214k on the odometer (actual) and a tranny that is starting to slip a bit in first gear. The consistent 12-14mpg gets tiresome in an era of $4 gas too.

    I will probably be purchasing an economy car in the near future (Focus?) because I’m driving a lot more for work these days, but I just can’t bring myself to get rid of the beast. It has character.

  • avatar

    This is the second junkyard find in the past few days that has had that red 55 MPH on the speedo. Did that used to be a thing? I mean was it government mandated or something? Cars today don’t have a red 70 MPH… or 75.

    • 0 avatar

      Was the 55 mph speed limit that long ago that folks have never heard of it? Best advice I can give is look up the Sammy Hagar video “I Can’t Drive 55”

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      How old are you, Amigo. (I’m not asking out of disrespect, you’re just making this 35 year old feel old.)

      Being born during the “Can’t Drive 55” era I saw cars with speedometers that only went to 85 for my whole childhood, and yes 55 was indicated somehow in a different color to let you know what life endangering actions you were taking by going one mph over that magical double nickel.

      Of course now speedometers are silly in the other direction indicating that every car can go 140mph and with markings that can be two small or the gap to close to easily set the cruise at 65 or 75 or heck even 85mph.

      • 0 avatar

        In the case of most 1980s Land Cruisers, 85 was a generous figure–especially with aftermarket 35” tires.

      • 0 avatar

        The end of 55mph was about six months after I got my license, sometime in the first half of ’87. I can still remember getting on I-295 South in Yarmouth, Maine in my ’82 Subaru and seeing the 65mph signs for the first time. Very exciting!

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        @FJ60, 85 was generous in my Iron Duke powered Celebrity also. That car started to beg for mercy around 65mph, although a three speed auto didn’t help matters.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Many vehicles of the era had a red mark at 55 mph. BTW your Iron Duke powered Celebrity w/3 spd auto. They did offer these with a 4 speed stick, not many but a few came with them. Probably leftover X-Body 4 speed transmissions.

  • avatar

    These were ‘HJ’60’s in Canada, and I still regret not stepping up and buying one. I bought a new ’86 Camry instead, as it was quite a bit cheaper, and it was quite a step up for the ‘Cruiser, for a dealer employee.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Good riddance! Those things are slow, noisy, harsh riding, they RUST and weren’t luxurious at all. In Venezuela they even had points until 1992 when they were replaced by the FJ80.

    My uncle had a 92 with the 3F/5sp that could go to 100 mph.

    For me the one to have is the coil sprung FJ80.

  • avatar

    This truck last 27 years, so it is time for good bye, not every sinlge old vehicle can be a ‘classic’ to be restored to concours level.

    And not surprise to see a ’99 Outback in SS yard, since 90’s car values are dropping like rain. To a working class car buyer, a 2000’s car is a status symbol.

  • avatar

    The engines in these were a near carbon copy of the old chevy straight 6.

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