After 24 successful years of the existence of the almost unchanged Series 40, in 1984 a new Land Cruiser by Toyota appeared — the Series 70 — a vehicle that was ready for the conditions of the modern world. It was decided to launch a new Land Cruiser in two versions: Heavy Duty — a big car for hard work for those who cared about endurance and who could give up comfort, and Light Duty — a car for more comfortable travel with friends and family over long distances.

Heavy Duty modification had a large square steel body with a sloping windshield. There were five wheelbase configurations to choose from and a range of engines. To the average person, the Light Duty cars were not very different, but they had a slightly softer front look with more rounded wheel arch extensions and a specially designed grille and bumpers. There were three wheelbase options to choose from and a range of four-cylinder engines.

The Light version was equipped with diesel and turbodiesel engines of the L series. Atmospheric 2L 2.4 l with a capacity of 72 hp was installed in the early years of production. At the same time, a 2LT 2.4 l (85 hp) turbine-equipped unit was available. The only gasoline engine, the 22R, was a 2.4-liter 105-115 hp engine.

A total of 15 diesel and 8 gasoline engines were presented. On the 70th series, diesel engines with a volume of 2.4 liters to 4.5 liters were installed. All 2.4-liter engines and transmission were borrowed from the Toyota 4Runner. Earlier and more powerful engines were borrowed from the 60th series: namely, gasoline 3F and 2H, and diesel 3B. For the Japanese market, only the 3B engine was offered. Also with the later engines, the more powerful ones were borrowed from the 80 series.


1990 was a time of change for the 70th series. A new version called Prado appeared. It had three full rows of seats, which could accommodate seven people. The car had a new front end with rounded contours and square headlights, which gave the car a more modern look. At the same time, a five-door version with a wheelbase of 2,730 mm appeared. The Japanese version had two rows of seats, on other versions the front passenger seat was double + there were two benches in the baggage compartment, which could accommodate four people. The seats were upholstered in more expensive velour, and compared to the 76 series, which was claimed to be a commercial vehicle, the new Prado was used as a recreational vehicle. On the Prado / Land Cruiser II version, there were such options as electric mirrors, an electric sunroof, an additional brake light, and a parking mirror, which was intended only for the Japanese version.

Over the years, for some countries, under the same indexes in the name of the model, there were completely different Land Cruisers of the 70 series. They differed not only in the length of the wheelbase, interior, and appearance but also in motors, suspensions, transmission. They only had similar body and frame. The 70th series was produced in several thousand complete sets! Indeed, for Japan, Europe, South America, Australia, the Middle East, and third world countries, they were different. Some versions were not sold at some markets at all. For example, for the Middle East, there was a modification with two air conditioners, and gasoline engines were not installed on the light Land Cruiser 70 for the domestic market in Japan. And there were also cars without a specific destination market and without a VIN code. The 70th series had the indexes LJ, RJ, KZJ, PZJ BJ, HZJ, and FJ. The letters in front of the letter «J» indicate the type of engine and, indirectly, the type of body and suspension.


Throughout the years, transmissions of different brands were put on the 70th series. The 70 series was equipped with both a four-speed automatic gearbox (mainly only for the light version), and a four-speed manual gearbox R150F, G40, and later, a five-speed manual gearbox R151F, H151F, and G52F. Since 2007, the H150F mechanics have been installed on restyled versions.

In 1986, a long 3-door vehicle appeared with an index 75 (since 1999 the index changed to 78) with a 2980 mm base, which, in addition to the version with an all-metal roof with a maximum capacity of 12 people, could also be an open pickup (series 79). This car was and still remains very popular in the UN, WHO, UNESCO, the Red Cross, and in the countries of the Middle East, Africa, and Australia.

In May 1996, the Prado / Land Cruiser II series was discontinued and was replaced by a new, more modern 90 series. The Heavy Duty version continued to be produced.


The Classic Comes Back

In 2014, the management of the Japanese concern Toyota decided to resume production of the legendary Land Cruiser 70. It was planned to produce approximately 200 vehicles per month. It will be a revelation for some people but the «70th series» is still being produced in small-scale batches to this day, successfully being sold in the markets of Australia, Venezuela, and other countries.

Reviving the serial production of this model, the Japanese did not make global changes in the appearance of the classic vehicle, only slightly improving it with a modernized hood, a different bumper, an updated radiator grille, new optics with integrated direction indicators, and special anniversary nameplates. At the same time, the classic style has been preserved as much as possible in each new detail of the car, which gives the exterior a special zest and historical value.

Like many years ago, the «modern» Land Cruiser 70 is produced in station wagon-SUV and pickup bodies. The dimensions of the SUV are 4810×1870×1920 mm, and the pickup — 5270×1770×1950 mm. The wheelbase is 2700 and 3180 mm respectively. Thus, this new version is slightly larger than its historical predecessor. The developers have also tried to keep the salon of the new 70-series Land Cruiser as close to the original as possible, but at the same time, they use modern finishing materials, athermal glass, and better sound insulation. In addition, the car received new seats with side support in front and three-point seat belts at the rear, a modern steering wheel, as well as a new front panel, made in a classic angular-rectangular shape, but equipped with a multimedia system with a touchscreen display and a different dashboard.


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Pavlo Prannyk
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