The Land Rover Series 4x4s and the Jeep Wrangler get most of the attention these days when it comes to vintage 4x4s, but there were a lot more vehicles in the U.S. in decades past if you needed to cross the prairie, the woods or desert the hard way. The FJ55-generation Toyota Land Cruiser, produced from 1967 to 1980, was one of those vehicles. The FJ55 was the first in the Land Cruiser family with a truly versatile interior, with seating up to seven, pairing a long wheelbase with spacious accommodations fit for overland adventures.
Known as “the Iron Pig,” the FJ55 trucks were powered by 3.9- and 4.2-liter inline-six engines paired with three- and four-speed manual transmissions. These 4x4s were still based on FJ40 underpinnings, but they offered much more interior room. On the outside, their bodies were close to FJ45LVs, but they wore slightly more modern exteriors without the corrugated side panels. The FJ55 Land Cruisers were produced alongside the older-looking FJ40 models until the 1980s, but they’re a little harder to find in the U.S. these days.
This particular FJ55 has been restored, of course, as these became auction circuit favorites along with the FJ40 4x4s starting in the early 2000s, after being somewhat ignored by the collector community. These days the FJ55s are almost as popular as the more rugged FJ40 models, but the FJ40s easily outnumber them in Arizona in January where every auction house seems to have a few restored and overrestored Toyota 4x4s.
One item that’s kind of lost without seeing one on the move is that they were not very agile on the road in stock form. That’s why a number of shops restoring them today have been fitting them with Corvette V8s — obviously not the latest Corvette engines — but Chevy V8 drivetrains permit these to keep up with modern traffic, especially in the western states where they’re popular.