Chevy-Powered FJ: 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser

While much has been said about how expensive the original Toyota FJ40 has become, every now and again we’re reminded that cheap ones still exist if you know where to look. This 1978 Toyota FJ40-series Land Cruiser is pretty far from the restomod crowd or the big money set that parks fully-restored examples in front of their Hamptons beach house, but it’s also much closer to the point of why such trucks were made in the first place. It has a Chevy 350 under the hood and is listed here on Facebook Marketplace for $3,500.

I’ve personally become increasingly enamored  with vintage 4x4s; not quite this old, but 1980s-era and slightly newer. I really do believe this is a big part of the collector car hobby going forward as pretty much any vintage Land Cruiser is going to become pretty much timeless in short order, especially with Toyota sunsetting the model last year. The original FJ40 is popular in many forms, from the fully-restored, top-shelf example that can cruise Pebble Beach to one you park outside when it’s not chewing up an old fire road.

The seller’s truck is pretty far from perfect, but you might also say it’s also darn near ideal as well. This is an FJ40 you can actually use as Mother Nature (and Toyota) originally intended. It’s been upgraded to both be more comfortable and potentially reliable, especially from the standpoint of finding a needed spare part when you’re in a jam miles from home. The FJ40 has been retrofitted with later bucket seats that look way more comfortable than what it left the factory with, along with beefy 5-point harnesses and a roll cage of some kind.

The seller claims the Toyota was running when it was parked two years ago; of course, it doesn’t run at the moment. However, this may be one of those cases where I could actually believe it just needs a fuel pump to roar back to life, or maybe some fresh gas and a battery. The listing is short on details regarding the condition of the body and I’m sure it’s hiding plenty of warts here and there, but honestly – for a rig that’s meant to be beaten silly on the backroads and get you back home? – it doesn’t get much more perfect than this. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Chuck F. for the find.

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Mmm-hmm, mom told me never to gloat,,,but mom’s gone, where’s your 5 figure FJ now, eh? Sorry,,maybe there is some merit to my thinking. I think people found out, like all these flash in the pans, these are poor vehicles,,, especially for 5 figures. It’s no new 4Lander[sic].
    Okay then, it’s a great, REALISTIC find. Splitting hairs which was better, Bronco, Scout, FJ, tough as nails. They had to be. They lead a cushy life nowadays. Looks relatively solid, V8 a huge plus, although the 6 was adequate, but many go the V8 route, and for this money, no worries about using it off road, as intended. It’s refreshing to see someone from NC, that isn’t out to gouge someone. Amen,,

    Like 12
    • Ray

      I had a 1978 FJ with the original straight 6 & high profile snow tires. Best vehicle I ever owned. Off road I outclimbed any 4×4, on road it was solid and tight. I know they are worth the price they get nowadays.

      Like 2
      • Desert Rat

        Out climb every other 4×4 the road? LC were great 4x4s all things being equal ( similar gears, limited slip,or lockers) the V8 will put perform a 6 every time. It will be close in certain rock climbing, but take them to the sand dunes with a V8 and it’s not even close. Any early Bronco, Scout or CJ 7 jeep with the factory v8 would do the job, and don’t even think about messing with my modified 81 cj7. Fuel injection 350 chevy, lockers both ends, Dana 44s both ends with 4.30 gears. No, you don’t want to get on that road.

        Like 2
    • Ray

      I should mention I’m from the Pacific Northwest. My fun is in Mountains. Im thinking my climbing doesn’t require the same as dunes or mud.

      Like 1
      • Desert Rat

        We
        ll said

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    At that price it won’t last long. Always thought these were the best of the bunch when they were introduced. Still do.

    Like 6
  3. Cadmanls Member

    My brother had one very similar to this truck. Was quite the runner, did have a problem with input shaft in the transmission. Replaced the bearing once and it fell apart again so some company out west supplied a bushing that took the Chevy torque. Had locking differentials front and rear. Would go about anywhere.

    Like 3
  4. Gary

    Damn fine vehicles, like the Land Rovers. A small block makes for good power, reliability and parts availability.

    Like 2
  5. Steve

    Gone.

  6. Wayne

    I still have my 1971 FJ40 after 38 years. There are many Fj40s out here in the west and about 80% have been converted to a SBC. (Thank you advance adapters and Downey Off Road). I’m still a believer in the original straight 6 and mine is equipped that way. (I used to work in a Toyota store and I never saw an engine failure.) I converted/upgraded mine to a 4 speed, front disc brakes and did a front spring shackle flip. This one will have some serious rust issues. The aluminum diamond plate (virtually standard now days) covers the rear quarter and rear end rust. The factory “running boards” are missing (rusted out?) and I have never seen an FJ40 hood rust out like that. It could be a lot of fun for the money, just don’t expect a real solid body.

    Like 2
  7. Desert Rat

    Out climb every other 4×4 the road? LC were great 4x4s all things being equal ( similar gears, limited slip,or lockers) the V8 will put perform a 6 every time. It will be close in certain rock climbing, but take them to the sand dunes with a V8 and it’s not even close. Any early Bronco, Scout or CJ 7 jeep with the factory v8 would do the job, and don’t even think about messing with my modified 81 cj7. Fuel injection 350 chevy, lockers both ends, Dana 44s both ends with 4.30 gears. No, you don’t want to get on that road.

    Like 1
    • Ray

      I had many broncos scouts etc try to out climb me. The only thing that gave me a run was Toyota 4×4 pickups.

  8. Steve Member

    I’ve had multiple Jeeps (Cheaps) and three FJ40s. I currently own a 76 FJ40 with an SBC and I know from experience a jeep is a piece of crap when compared to the Toyota Landcruiser. The FJ40 will go where no Jeep will dare to tread. And they are practically indestructible. Do they have rust issues? Sure, but try and find a Jeep as old as a 76 FJ40…you won’t find one, or perhaps one or two, because all the Jeeps have turned into piles of rust. I wouldn’t hesitate to challenge the ability of a Jeep with a Landcruiser.

    Like 2

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