Junkyard Find: 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1974 toyota land cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser has been around since the Sengoku Period (OK, since 1951), and all varieties of this truck tend to have plenty of obsessively devoted single-interest fanatics here in Colorado. You’ll see the occasional FJ60 Land Cruiser in junkyards here, and I’ve even seen a well-stripped FJ40 in a Denver yard. Today’s well-thrashed Junkyard Find is the first example of an FJ55 Land Cruiser I’ve found.

Is there rust? Yes, there is rust. Is there body filler over rust? Definitely.

Look, air conditioning! This would have been fairly luxurious by 1974 truck standards.

Front drum brakes could still be found on a few Detroit cars, and the Land Cruiser, in 1974.

Toyota did a lot of license-building of GM technology in the postwar era; the GM-developed PowerGlide was the basis of the Toyoglide automatic transmission, and the F engine used in this truck was a cousin of the good old Chevrolet straight-six OHV engine.

It was rough when it showed up in this yard, and many parts-hungry Land Cruiser owners have picked it over since then.

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4 of 20 comments
  • Corollaman Corollaman on Apr 04, 2016

    It's no wonder used ones demand such a high premium.

  • Sobro Sobro on Apr 04, 2016

    A buddy of mine with a lawn service in Colorado had one of these. The above model is in better shape than the one he would tow trailers with. Since he didn't live where his customers were he would park his beast in their neighborhoods overnight and commute home in something that was a little better on fuel. One Sunday morning the Boulder County Sheriff's office called him about the truck. He was "invited" to come and discuss it in person. When he arrived the Bomb Squad was there along with 10 or 15 other law enforcement vehicles. It seems he parked his old Toyota with external trailer light, chassis brake light, and maybe even fuel pump wires, a sheet of plexi for a back window, and non-working door handles and missing window cranks in front of Federal Judge Richard Matsch's house during the Timothy McVeigh trial. All's well that ended well, especially since the LEOs didn't question the three 50lb bags of fertilizer in the back.

    • See 1 previous
    • Wstarvingteacher Wstarvingteacher on Apr 05, 2016

      Your friend was lucky. I lived in the Woodlands which is a snooty community near Houston. I got a 260Z on a friday. It was to be used for a class project and I parked it in front of my house until Monday. Saturday, it was towed. Now I live in the woods and have less discipline in that regard. Promised myself to live somewhere that nobody else much minded my business. 20 years now and working good so far.

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).