The Toyota Land Cruiser boasts of a rich history with different legendary SUVs. It has over 70 years of production and has sold over 10 million of its spare truck parts and off-roaders worldwide. Even today, there are different products available to enthusiasts from the Land Cruiser generation.
The Korean war can be credited for the creation of the Toyota Land Cruiser. After the invasion of South Korea in 1950 by North Korea, the United State wanted to support South Korea in this war. They needed military trucks and since they occupied Japan, they convinced the country to manufacture a domestically produced vehicle to meet their needs.
In the years after the First World War, Toyota became one of the most significant automakers in the world. The main product that drove this rise to power was the Land Cruiser. It was the first of Toyota’s vehicles that were found in different places around the world since it could reach those areas.
Because of the Land Cruiser’s ability to do almost everything right, Toyota could stand on its reputation for ‘quality, durability, and reliability.’
This began the history of the Toyota Land Cruiser. In this guide, we will dive into what happened next.
Toyota Jeep BJ & 20 Series
The history of the Toyota Land Cruisers starts with the BJ & 20 series which lasted from 1951 to 1960. The Toyota Jeep BJ started as a military prototype during the Korean War. The name was problematic, as B stood for the B-series engine manufactured by Toyota, and J stood for Jeep. Jeep had already been trademarked by Willys in 1954. So, Toyota had to change its name to Land Cruiser. These series were mostly used as police, fire, and military vehicles.
The 20 Series Land Cruiser which lasted from 1955 to 1960 was the civilian version of the Jeep BJ, modified by Toyota to expand its customer base. The vehicles had more space in the cabins, attractive bodywork styles, improved maneuverability with a shorter wheelbase, and an enhanced suspension. Its engine was the bulletproof F-series inline-six until 1992.
These vehicles were the first of the Land Cruisers to be sold in the United States. The 20 Series Land Cruiser was sold with the Toyopet Crown sedans in 1958.
Land Cruiser 40 Series
Next is the Land Cruiser 40 Series, more popularly known as the FJ40 Land Cruiser. This replaced the 20 Series and lasted until 1984. It was a formidable off-roader, way better than its predecessors in driving on the roughest terrains. It also had a strong engine although not a lot of focus was placed on passenger comfort.
The FJ40 was the first-ever Land Cruiser to have low-range gearing, which shows that it was built for driving off the road. This made it similar to the first Land Rover and the Jeep CJ. It also had two doors, rear jump seats, and a column shifter, offering flexibility.
By the time the 1970s came, there were significant improvements on the FJ40 Land Cruiser series. In 1974, the first diesel vehicle was released and so was the four-speed manual. A year after, the off-roaders featured a larger 4.2-liter engine.
By 1976, there was the addition of disc brakes on the FJ40. Then, power steering and having an air conditioner as an option was introduced in 1979. Because of all these upgrades, the FJ40 prices increased significantly. There are still a couple of these vehicles on the market today, and the prices have settled.
Land Cruiser 50 Series
Next came the Land Cruiser 50 Series or the FJ55 as it is commonly called. This was a funky SUV created to target markets in the US and the Australian markets. Because of this extensive market, the vehicles were ideal for the American freeways yet could survive the roughest trails on the Outback. Unlike its past versions, this four-door wagon was family-friendly. It had a fitting nickname called the Iron Pig because of its wonky front end and two-tone paint.
It’s rare to find clean FJ55s today because of their high propensity to rust. The vehicles also don’t have a rear hatch and are the first-ever Land Cruiser without one. The back window can roll down into the tailgate.
Land Cruiser 60 Series
From 1980 to 1990, the Land Cruiser 60 Series dominated the market and replaced the 50 Series, as it was a four-door wagon. It had an even better family-friendly design than the FJ40 and FJ55 and kept the high off-road standards that the Land Cruiser is known for. From 1984 till it was discontinued, it was the only Land Cruiser that was being sold in the US.
It witnessed the highest level of Toyota trucks and off-roading enthusiasm. The vehicles had a comfortable interior, rear heating, an AC, and power windows. The highlight of the FJ60 Land Cruiser, as it was commonly called, was indestructible and the FJ62 was automatic.
Those that were well-kept are still on the market and working perfectly because of the indestructibility, and they have incredibly high mileage counts. The FJ60s could also be swapped to a five-speed manual but this was not available in the US.
The two versions of the Land Cruiser 60 Series were the FJ60 and FJ62, and the latter offered four-speed automatic transmission, 3F inline-six engine, and dual square headlights.
Land Cruiser 80 Series
This series replaced the FJ62 and extended the family wagon concept. It lasted from 1990 to 1998 and was a full-time 4WD. It was also the end of the old Toyota engine and had a bigger, rounder design. It was also known as the J80 and was heavier, wider, and longer than the previous vehicle. It also had the typical styling for vehicles in the 1990s.
As the first Land Cruiser to have a coil-spring suspension, full-time all-wheel-drive, and optional locking front and rear differentials, the J80 had amazing off-roading capabilities. It was called the J80 because the F engine line ended in 1992, and was replaced by the 1FZ-ZE inline-six engine.
Airbags and anti-lock brakes were added to the J80 in 1995. There was also the rebadged Lexus variant of this vehicle, the LX 450.
Land Cruiser 100 Series
This series featured the first model to have a V8 engine and an independent front suspension. It was sold as a Lexus variant and lasted till 2007. The 100 Series had the same appearance as the 80 Series, but there were some momentous structural changes. This was the first Land Cruiser to have an independent front suspension, although this made them sacrifice the off-road ability for on-road ride quality.
The later models of the 100 Series came with 275 horsepower and were 400 pounds heavier than the 80 Series. As time went on, the vehicles in the 100 Series were constantly upgraded with technology and other luxury features. It was also called the J100.
Land Cruiser 200 Series
The biggest of all the Land Cruisers and one with different luxury and technology features is the 200 Series. It comes with different off-roading capabilities and modern safety features. It is also known as the Lexus LX 570.
It features only one trim with a 5.7-liter V8 engine in the US market. By 2015, the off-roader went through a facelift which left it with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2020 Land Cruiser is one of the heaviest and most expensive vehicles on the road, as it weighs 5,815 pounds and costs nearly $90,000, respectively. There have been different upgrades to the 200 Series from 2007 till now, which include advanced off-roading technology and the Safety Sense technology suite.
This could be the last Land Cruiser generation since Toyota will retire it in the next decade.