Raconteur’s Delight: 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser

Have you ever come across an ad for a car that is so engrossing that it persuades you to overlook what a monumentally bad decision buying the car would be? That’s where I find myself with this 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40, listed on eBay with no reserve in Charlotte, North Carolina. Go ahead, take as long as you need to read the ad—I’ll wait.

I know my job here is to break down the ad for you, but I’m really at a loss for what I can add to the yarn that this seller spins, so I’m left contemplating the seller’s art instead. I think your experience of this ad might be dependent on how you view it; I read the text first, then looked through the pictures, which is probably a mistake, because the pictures show a vehicle that’s pretty hopeless. Had I perused the pictures first, then read, the text might have instilled in me a sense of purpose, of obligation to rescue this poor pound dog—but looking at the pictures first might have put me off of reading the text at all. It’s a real conundrum. That’s the rear leaf spring mount sticking through the floor there, by the way; the section of the frame that it’s supposed to mount to is gone.

The seller is clearly a starry-eyed Land Cruiser nut—cherished memories will do that to you, I guess—and sees a lot in this FJ40 to get excited about, like its 1974-only F.5 engine/four-speed combo, the intact Toyota badge on the steering wheel, the original stickers in the glovebox and on the dash, and the OEM rubber floor mat with an extra hole cut out for the winch option. The use of allegedly more corrosion-resistant metal on 1974 and later Land Cruisers is noted, which is funny because all I see on this Cruiser is rust.

This seller seems like a pretty engaging sort, so I wonder if a more one-to-one sales approach than eBay, showing prospective buyers the truck while regaling and inspiring them in person with stories of its past and potential, wouldn’t make it seem like less of a lost cause. Then again, a no-reserve eBay auction is probably the best way to get top dollar for what this Toyota is; the seller promises that, fully restored, Land Cruisers like this sell for $30,000 or more, but even at a high bid of $2,500 as I write this, I’m not sure I see that math adding up. How about you—is this storyteller’s tale enough to sell you on this old wagon?

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Sorry, that ad was not engrossing, it was unreadable.

    It’s worth half the value of its parts, at best.

    Steve R

    6+

    • packrat

      Original Ebay Listing as of 8/8: http://archive.is/PiDX0 Everybody’s gonna be sad when this comes up as a “related story” a year from now and nobody can access the text in the listing. This ol’ boy does know how to sell home refrigeration units to Inuits, don’t he?

      1+

  2. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Agreed, Nathan; the listing is good reading even if there’s not enough Old Milwaukee in the world to make you cast a bid. Still this vehicle might be perfect for someone with a garage full of scrap metal and a welder… and 1000 hours of free time. Supposedly it runs like, well, a Toyota. In Virginia folks have “hunting trucks,” and this would make an interesting one to shore up structurally, adorn with a “Farm Use” plate, and drive through the woods as you might a fully-enclosed tractor. You could fit several deer on the roof and never get bloody. Probably not cost-effective compared to 100 better options, but definitely interesting. Nice find!

    2+

  3. Tinlizard

    I have owned at least a dozen FJ’s, and I love them. This is a parts truck, period. But kudos to the seller, bidding already at $2500 on a $500 rig???? -Where are these buyers when I have something on the block?

    5+

  4. Victor

    I like the seller’s nom de eBay, Shatner’s character in LA Law.

    2+

  5. waynard

    This ’40’ has really been abused and the mileage is highly suspect. If you really have to restore it, it’s definitely not cost effective. Though like Todd Fitch says, someone with a lot of time on his / her hands and some ability to weld could get this back together enough to use it for…um…anything other than its intended use on a legal road. Carry lots and lots of spare parts no matter where you drive it.

    Personally, as much as I like these, I’d spend my hard-earned on a better example. This might just be a parts car. $2500.00 is max value here in my opinion; maybe less.

    3+

  6. Chebby

    Sell off the running gear, and the rest is yard art for a BBQ joint with a large outdoor seating area.

    1+

  7. AutoArcheologist Member

    Love the Story, Love the Truck… Don’t think I’d pay much for either tho… LOL
    I have several Toyotas and the baby of the bunch just turned 100K miles, the big daddy has nearly 400K.

    2+

  8. Bob Hess

    Melt it down, make a BBQ out of it, then sit around it…..

    2+

  9. Casey Jones

    As an owner of an FJ and several other Toyotas I have some knowledge here and advise you to run while you can 🤣

    If you have the time and money ok. Just remember the parts cost is
    Much much higher less Pcar parts. I see a donor vehicle or trail truck at best and it would have to be cheap. Yes you can buy new bodies and frames but the high dollar FJ market wants all Oem less some 33’s or OME springs. Beyond that anything more or less is a small return if any.
    Most desirable are the 76-78 with Ambulance doors and vent window hardtops. The 2F was a great engine with history in war reparations from the GMC inline six. (Not as cool as the BMW six).
    The 2F predecessor or F engine was anemic and not really a road worthy engine with gearing spec for 50mph IMO. Suited more for an off-road setup I think, after all it wasn’t a road runner. These were tough as nails in places less the rust belt. Overbuilt and tough they could handle anything but time and salty moist places.
    If you’ve ever had an inclination to own one I strongly suggest driving one for a spell first. The ride is as rough as a stake body truck and anything but refined. Hell they still had a crank pulley with a cam lock provision for hand crank starting, thank god for low compression… don’t try it, I have, keep the jack handle for the jack 🤣.

    There is a lot to love about these trucks but if your budget minded I would find a nice late model Bronco from the 80’s or 90’s, cheaper, more plentiful and in many ways a better buy with modern conveniences. These FJs are like the castaways on Gilligan’s Island, “as primitive as can be. Leaf springs and Armstrong power steering are tough on the trail, sure you can add power steering but who needs thumbs? Add the fuel tank under your sweethearts fanny to boot! Lol.

    Well I’ve poked fun at myself here mainly as I’ve been hopelessly lost and in love with these trucks, while I’ve been on sabbatical with work and an affair British and Italian motorcycles (yes I am an idiot glutton for punishment) I miss driving my old bucket and have a longer term FJ-45 pickup plan on the distant horizon. But my bubble car 911 comes first as the track is calling and I want to piss off the yuppies by cutting up a perfectly decent 911 to track 😘

    2+

  10. Scrapdaddy

    Just to be fair, that’s an easy $1500 winch/pto on there, very sought after option.

    3+

  11. Don H

    Us he selling them story our them cruiser 🤔

    1+

  12. Bmac Bmac Member

    All I can say is spend 30,000.00 & save 20,000. + bid price, buying a restored one. When these get bad they really get bad

    2+

  13. chad

    FJ40 – not a LCrusier, is it? I thought that wuz a FJ60 – the bigger 1?
    Help me, not a Toy 4by guy.
    And
    I see it as a jeep not a ‘truck’…but I’m just 1 guy.

    0

  14. Pete

    My buddy sold a very nice solid FJ same color in the same town as this one for 6500 last fall. It also had a winch. This guy though, SMDH.

    0

  15. Howard A Member

    Totally worth it. Too far gone to rebuild, but like Scrapdaddy sez, the winch alone is mighty handy. I had a 1970 FJ55 with a PTO driveshaft winch ( a Ramsey) and used it many times. Prices have gone through the roof on these, not sure why. I think these were the nicest utility 4×4 you could get, but it was just that. Had all the period correct 4×4 qualities. Rode rough, no heat, crummy mileage, lousy seats. But for bouncing through the woods, or blasting through snowdrifts, best there was. Bulletproof motors, but quite frankly, I think there’s tougher drivetrains. Transmission, transfer case and axles, always seemed a bit light duty, and have seen several failures of those components The ad? Pure internet baloney.
    Here’s what happened to FJ’s in MY neighborhood, mine included. ( although, this is clearly not my neighborhood) http://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a8/0b/8f/a80b8f5886433e274047c9bae4c44e3e–toyota-trucks-toyota-fj.jpg

    1+

  16. Will

    It’s really just too far gone for a sane person to want to revive, but I know there are some insane FJ people who will be all over this. I want to see if someone can bring it back to life, I just don’t want to be the person that does it.

    0

  17. Paul R

    Bullet proof drive train sans the junky carb. I still have a Clifford research 4 barrel Holley intake manifold from the 1972 I owned.
    They rusted on the assembly line. The dealers gave out vouchers for Tetanus shots for the owners.

    2+

  18. Ward William

    I would have thought you could get a one piece replacement bed for this model. That would solve a whole lot of issues. Either that or look for one that’s being scrapped because it was smacked in the front. They are around. This is doable at that price. It’s a blank canvas.

    0

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