Cummins Powered: 1972 Toyota Land Cruiser

While many vintage Toyota Land Cruisers are painstakingly restored back to better-than-factory condition, there are also plenty of examples of very cool restomods running around in both the FJ40 and FJ55 circles. This 1972 model sports a wild paint job and a very cool Cummins turbo diesel engine swap, giving it a serious performance boost that the factory could have only dreamed of when this truck was new. The Land Cruiser looks to have been seriously over-built with upgraded suspension, wheels, tires, and who knows what else as the seller doesn’t provide much information on the build. Still, it’s tough to deny the appeal if you’re looking to buy a project that’s already done. Find the Toyota here on eBay with bids to $10,600 and a Buy-It-Now of $30,000.

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time as of late obsessing over the vintage Japanese SUV market. There are some very good deals out there at the moment, but I question which trucks will actually appreciate and which ones will forever have low values. It’s not to say you buy everything with an eye towards appreciation, but rather that you’re careful not to over-invest in a vehicle with limited upside. The overseas market is particularly tempting, with loads of right-hand drive 4x4s equipped with turbo-diesel engines never sold stateside popping up with incredibly low mileage and not selling for much more than the cost of a new entry-level economy car. Given the forbidden fruit that was available overseas, it’s not surprising to see owners of trucks like these take matters into their own hands and equip the truck the way most enthusiasts would have wanted.

This FJ55 looks to have a very clean engine swap performed utilizing what looks like a first-generation Cummins engine, which would be a 5.9L inline-six good for 160 b.h.p. and 400 lb-ft of torque. If I’m wrong, please correct me, but regardless of generation, that is a serious boost over the original drivetrain. The world of engine swaps is as vast as the number of cars and trucks ever made, so it would be interesting to learn if this has become a straightforward conversion for owners of these classic-but-slow Land Cruisers. Engine conversions like these are some of my favorite projects to follow, as an enthusiast somewhere had to look at the engine options available and decide the Cummins was close enough to a direct fit to justify the time and labor involved in the conversion.

Inside, it looks like a factory Toyota interior, albeit one in very nice condition. The seller doesn’t detail if any modifications were made to the transmission, and/or if a manual gearbox better suited for the monstrous torque of the Cummins was swapped in. Regardless, the often fragile Toyota interior shows no signs of damage, with a rip-free bench seat and a dash that doesn’t appear to have any cracks. The paint scheme may not be for everyone, and I could see that being the biggest reason (aside from lack of information) for why this thoroughly upgraded Land Cruiser doesn’t meet its reserve price. Would you rock one like this or build it your own way?


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Interesting that my first comment didn’t take again. I was just saying that Cummins small diesels are very popular and are becoming the diesel version of the SBC. I’m mildly surprised to see a six-cylinder engine fit in that bay as well as this did. Shouldn’t be all that short of power. Of course, this is the lower hp version, and the best you could do, and still keep the injection pump from cratering was about 180 hp. Then the injection pressure became too high for the camplate and the rollers and they would chip and eventually have young ones. What’s in there now should move this vehicle just fine. I guess it’s all to do with what you like and what satisfies you.

    Personally, vehicle-wise, I would rather have the FJ40. But these are workhorses and have taken a lot of people to a lot of places with little trouble. I missed an opportunity on an FJ40 when the owner accidentally filled it with gasoline when she should’ve used diesel fuel. She tried to take it too far and literally excavated the precups out of the head. Insurance wrote the truck off and I could’ve bought it for $600. And that’s AFTER I overhauled the injection system. Still kicking my butt over letting it go…

    Like 6
    • Howard A Member

      Aside from the “logging in” after every early access, comments been taking pretty well. It does happen, probably more of where we live issue.
      While I’m here, I’d have to say, this trips just about everyones trigger. You have the Ram diesel for you “oil engine” nuts, you have the versatility of a FJ 55, without the fenders falling off, and looks well done. As some may remember, I had a 1970 FJ 55, and given my ( and my old mans stance) on Asian vehicles, remains my favorite truck, until the body separated from the frame. Naturally, I saw nothing wrong with the gas in-line 6, one of the best in the business, so a swap like this is not for me, and as nice as it looks, it was still a tin can, and rode poorly. The Lancruiser came a long ways from these humble beginnings before chilled cup holders and heated gas pedals.

      Like 3
  2. 914Shifter Member

    The writer mentions the choice of “a wild paint job.” I have a 72, also, and that is the exact stock color combo of mine. However, I will admit that the previous owner painted over that in favor of a more tame option. I am still trying to decide which way to go when I refinish her again….

    Like 1
  3. douglas hunt

    OUTSTANDING!!! i really luv these old Landcruisers [ i have a FZJ80]
    the iron pig does indeed trip ALL the buttons …….

    Like 1
  4. chrlsful

    “Y do dey do dat!?!” is all ways my comment on these (a Toy 4 diesel would B fine). I saw ’em put plenty 4Bt (a backhoe engine) in my ’66/77 bronco (nowa Perkins 4.182 or what it wuz, sure)~

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.