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37k Original Miles: 1969 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser

For many years, Toyota has extensively tested its various Land Cruiser models in the Australian outback. They have long felt that this environment provides one of the World’s toughest testing environments, both in temperature, and terrain. Having spent some time in the Australian outback, I can’t help but agree with them on this. The owner of this 1969 Land Cruiser is retiring and has decided to part with this legendary tough vehicle. It has only recently undergone what he refers to as a complete restoration, but what I would be more inclined to label as an extensive refurbishment. Located in Chula Vista, California, you will find the Toyota listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a price of $19,999 for this tough off-roader.

Having spent its entire life in California, this Land Cruiser is a solid old vehicle. The shots of the underside aren’t the best, but it does look to be clean and solid. The body has recently undergone a bare-metal repaint, and it has come up very nicely. It looks like the owner has gone the whole hog on that because while he mentions new tail-lights, headlights, and turn signals, it does look like the vast majority of the external fittings and badges might also be new. The big wheels fitted to the Toyota aren’t original, but they do contribute well to a pretty tough look. The owner does also mention the fact that the Land Cruiser has only covered 37,000 mile, but there is no mention of any documentary evidence to back this. It will also be interesting to see how relevant our readers think this claim is given the amount of restoration, rebuilding, refurbishing, and replacing this Land Cruiser has undergone.

With the amount of work that has been performed on the outside of the vehicle, and considering its overall presentation, the interior is a real disappointment to me. It just looks like the owner has either run out of money or enthusiasm at the last moment. What’s frustrating is the fact that these problems would have been easy to avoid, but they shouldn’t be hard to rectify. The new owner’s shopping list will probably include a proper floor mat, a better-looking shifter, an original steering column, and a better steering wheel. The rest of the interior looks really good, and it’s these items that let it down. However, these are problems that should be easy to address.

It’s when we delve under the hood that we see why I’ve referred to this as a refurbishment rather than a restoration. I’m not 100% sure what sort of engine this actually is, but a 1969 Land Cruiser never left the factory fitted with a fuel-injected V8. It wasn’t unusual for owners to shove a Chevrolet Small-Block under the hood of the Land Cruiser, so that might be the go here. I’m really not willing to make a call on that, because I’m just not sure. Maybe one of our astute Barn Finds readers can enlighten us on what they believe the engine to be. Backing the V8 is a factory 4-speed manual transmission which has been rebuilt. The front end and suspension have also been rebuilt, while the Land Cruiser also features a completely new brake system. Since the refurbishment work was completed, this Toyota has only covered 127 miles, so everything should still be nice and fresh.

This 1969 Land Cruiser is a great vehicle that has been let down to an extent by some interior detail points. However, take a good look, and none of these issues will be difficult or expensive to address. With the amount of work that has been performed on the vehicle in recent times, it should have a long future in front of it, and with that great V8 and the legendary off-road abilities, this is a vehicle that should take its new owner just about anywhere.


  1. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    I’d want photo documentation of the “complete restoration”. Looks to me as though the underside got the old “black spray covers everything” (including the exhaust) treatment. Hides a lot, for a little while. Those perforated metal strap hangers for the exhaust can’t be a factory style.

    What motor is in there? Did these have an optional V8, or is it a SBC? Would the stock 4-speed and transfer case handle the extra power? The air cleaner is an old hotrod style, so I am assuming a throttle-body fuel injection system… The listing says “radiator service”, but it looks like a newer replacement, with an electric fan. Funny that the frame arch for the driveshaft appears to be centered, but the differential looks to have an offset pumpkin. Someone who knows these will chime in here, I’m sure.

    The shift lever looks…. interesting. And whoever let out the winch didn’t know how to properly rewind it.

    Looks nice, especially the body and paint in the photos, but there are a lot of questions. Ach, the steering wheel! And Good Lord, I don’t see any seat belts!

    Like 6
  2. JohnnyB

    “Restoration” is, in this case, a bit of a stretch. I’m not an FJ expert whatsoever, but ’69 models came with a 6-cylinder, a column-shifted 3-speed and transfer case controls in the dash. With that hideous shifter, methinks this is a 3-speed with a floor shift conversion. but who knows. I’m also guessing that’s a Chevy v-8 with TBI, which isn’t a bad choice.
    The offset pumpkin in the rear is correct.
    If there’s no rust lurking under the nice-looking paint, this one looks like a good place to start. I’d tidy up a few of the aforementioned things and enjoy it.

    Sadly, affordable FJ’s hit the market when my wallet is empty.

    Like 2
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Best I can tell that’s a carbureted SBC under the hood. Should move it well, I remember reading about kits for that conversion before so I don’t think it’s something new to the field.

    Like 2
  4. Piros1

    My guess in the engine would be a small block Chevy as well, the picture is not clear to tell for sure. The transmission would have been like Johnny B stated. It is possible considering the T-Case shifter that the transmission and T-Case came out if a 74 or newer FJ40 and a four speed with this T-Case setup looks correct if memory serves me well. I had a 74 and this one brings back a lot of memories. A small setup like this was very common back in the seventies. I wouldn’t mind having it since it is a west coast vehicle. They were very prone to rust here in the Midwest.

    Like 1
    • TC Oztralia

      A small problem with the SBC conversions in these was that if you hit them hard in the sand dunes or on rocky terrain, they were prone to screwing the ends off of the axles at the diff end. Recycled Japanese steel isn’t as hard as we would all like it to be, either that or it’s too hard, not sure which. These weren’t designed for V8 ‘grunt’ !

      Like 1
  5. ROTAG999

    I love Fuek injection ! rofl

    Like 1
  6. Jonathan Q Higgins

    I believe Johnnyb is incorrect about transfer shifting being on the dash. Perhaps he’s confusing it with the ebrake. My ‘66 has transfer case shifter on the floor. The steering column is aftermarket but I think the wheel is stock. I don’t think they had dash pads and the screw pins to unlatch the windshield but I could be wrong. My ‘66 has two big levers like you would find on an old refrigerator.

    Like 0
    • JohnnyB

      The particular ’69 model with which I’m most familiar had a vacuum-controlled setup like the one seen in the picture at:

      It had a “FD” knob you pulled to engage the front driveshaft and the handle under the dash controlled High range-neutral-low range. (and the hand brake lever to the left of the t-case controls) From what I’ve read, the column-shift transmission and dash-mounted t-case controls were to maximize from seat room and allow for a middle passenger.

      That said, I remember folks making the conversion to floor-mounted levers and the factory made the switch in the early ’70’s.

      Like 0
      • Jonathan Q Higgins

        Wow, that’s a new one to me. I wonder if they were as finicky as the vacuum operated ones now.

        Like 0
      • Tom

        My 71 had vacuum shift. Worked great. This one looks kinda butchered to me.

        Like 0
  7. cmarv Member

    Some observations I made on my 6 year old laptop .
    The motor is a center bolt valve cover TBI injected 5.0 or 5.7 Chevy , it has a GM master cylinder and booster . The shifter looks to be a Hurst 3 speed floor conversion unit with the end of another possibly Toyota shifter threaded on . Adapter plates to mate a SBC or Inline 6 Chevy or a SBF have been available forever . The truck appears to be solid from the undercarriage photos . With the prices I’ve seen FJ’s commanding , I’m surprised this truck isn’t long gone . Maybe it’s a different story in person . Too far from me to take a look in person . I do like it alot .

    Like 0
  8. Scott

    After reading the CL posting all I can say is I am very disappointed. This is NOT a restored all original FJ40. It is a Resto Mod at the minimum. The front and rear bumpers, tail lights, wheels, start the list of after market items on this Cruiser. Back in the day Con-Fer and Advance Adapter both got their start building parts to repower FJ’s with SBC’s. Under the hood there is very little that is original. A close look shows a Be Cool aluminum radiator that looks quite used and one look at the condition of the original steering wheel tells the condition of this vehicle prior to its paint job makeover. It is indeed a nice Land Cruiser but I get very nervous when someone is dishonest when trying to sell a vehicle and doubly so when it is a vehicle that has a very strong market regardless of condition.

    Like 2

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