By on April 4, 2016

1974 Toyota Land Cruiser in Colorado Junkyard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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.

1974 Toyota Land Cruiser in Colorado Junkyard, body filler - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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

1974 Toyota Land Cruiser in Colorado Junkyard, engine - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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

1974 Toyota Land Cruiser in Colorado Junkyard, drum brake - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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

1974 Toyota Land Cruiser in Colorado Junkyard, engine - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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.

1974 Toyota Land Cruiser in Colorado Junkyard, front seat - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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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20 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser...”

  • avatar

    Land Cruisers are extrordinary vehicles. They are the only Toyota that is supported on 25 year cycles. Best of all, the’re so reliable, in that rare moment when when something breaks, it’s always a expensive repair.

    We are having to turn in our 2003 100 series after 308k miles in a salt belt state. It’s at the point where it’s unsafe to drive and, my mother is prohibiting us from driving it.

    From growing up with this car, i’m now obsessed with land cruisers. It’s at the point where (as a recent high school graduate) i will be working 2 jobs to save up for the oppertunity to drive as far as it’s necessary to pick up a immaculate Land Cruiser 80 series (which will be my first car)

    • 0 avatar

      Bless you. Land Cruisers are iconic and awesome beasts.

    • 0 avatar

      “It’s at the point where (as a recent high school graduate) i will be working 2 jobs to save up for the oppertunity to drive as far as it’s necessary to pick up a immaculate Land Cruiser 80 series (which will be my first car)”

      That’s a nice dream. Not practical or well-advised, but nice.


      • 0 avatar

        Yeah my goal is not realistic (and the odds are against me) but, i’m motivated to make my dream come true.

        Unlike other kids these days, i’m a hard worker and, I will work till I reach my goal! Trust me this won’t be easy but, the end goal will be worth it☺!

        • 0 avatar

          Gotta think a little longer term than two jobs for an old Land Cruiser, man! Got your whole life ahead of ya. Big picture.

        • 0 avatar

          I’d say make the focus first and foremost a degree/skill/trade that will establish you financially in the long term. But I could totally see a college kid with a summer job scratching out enough to find a worn but decent FJ80 for $4-6k. Being up North, just prioritize getting a non-rusty example. Oh and the difference between the early OHV 6 cylinder and later DOHC variant is vast but if you find a clean 91-92 truck I wouldn’t turn it down either. As you noted, Land Cruiser parts are actually pretty pricey. Durable but expensive to repair properly with OEM stuff IMO. Add to that headgasket issues and birfield rebuilds and 13mpg fuel economy and an LC80 costs a pretty penny to run. I highly recommend a lighter-duty but still sturdy 3rd gen 4Runner like mine. It’s like a 3/4 scale LC80 with super cheap and available parts, and they get much more palatable MPG. 2nd gen Mitsu Montero is a really nice tweener: IFS and more efficient V6 like a 4Runner, heavier duty build and size closer to a Land Cruiser, cheaper than either Toyota. I understand that nothing is quite like a Land Cruiser, but given the limited budget and other priorities, I’d suggest some more rational options.

          • 0 avatar

            I wanted to elaborate more on what I meant, but I knew 20 people would show up and go “Don’t tell him how to run his life WTF.” So I felt constrained.

          • 0 avatar


            May I suggest the following: 2007-10 Volvo XC90 3.2 AWD. This has the 3.2-liter inline-6 cylinder and in my experience, it’s just as good as any Land Cruiser. Plus, you get all of Volvo’s safety features.

            Just a word of advice. The 3.2 engine tends to start using oil around 160k miles so make sure you change it every 3k-5k miles and only use synthetic.

          • 0 avatar

            Personally, I see any Volvo XC90 and any Toyota Landcruiser with fuel injection as being at opposite ends of the spectrum.

          • 0 avatar

            And neither is what poor 2 jobs hourly wage earner really needs as first car.

            If first car must = SUV, then SUV = CR-V or RAV4.

          • 0 avatar

            First, I’d like to thank all you guys for giving your opinions. They’ve helped out massively and, your feedback gave me something to think about :) !

            After sitting down and thinking about it, I now agree that buying my dream 80 right now is not a plausible/wise decision. I’d be worrying about it more than my future! Instead, I should just put the 80 aside for another time and, focus on college.

            At this point, as a realistic, reliable, and affordable I may go for something along the lines of a “decent” third or 4th gen 4Runner. I’ve done my research on them and, know what the red flags are (mainly identifying and preventing the Milkshake of death)!

    • 0 avatar

      Had just sold my 03 LX470 to Carmax, because i couldn’t just justify spending $3K in non-drivetrain related repairs. Loved the truck, loved the look, didn’t like the drive too much, or gas mileage, but was ok with both. However, $1800 for brake booster, which is apparently one of weak links that people on forums widely report, and is also huge safety issue was too much to bear for me (as well as other repairs that were coming up). I do however have a feeling that i will be looking for another one fairly soon; i did love other aspects of this truck that much.

    • 0 avatar

      And then work another job to fill up the gas tank half-way, and then yet another job to pay the insurance premium.

  • avatar

    Why does it look like it has two tie rods coming off of the knuckle in the picture of the RF corner? Is one a steering stabilizer?

  • avatar

    There is a gentleman in Gallup who is trying to sell one of this generation. Two tone blue with some cheap chrome wheels. I haven’t dared to look at the price but it appears to have had a basic restoration at some point – but minus the wheels it looks to be as stock as the day it left the factory.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      Man, that was hilarious!

    • 0 avatar

      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.

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