Early SUV: 1970 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ55

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Sometimes, it’s hard to remember a time before SUvs. They’ve been around in one form or another for years but it seems like the consumer demand exploded in the mid-80s with the introduction of the Jeep Cherokee (XJ), and trends, since then, have never looked back. But before the mid-sized Jeep foray, there were competitors from across the sea including Toyota and their FJ55 such as this 1970 example. Primitive they all were in those days and this Toyota is no exception but it is certainly an interesting find; how often does one from this era surface? Located in Morris, Illinois, this Toyota all-purpose hauler is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $7,400 with fourteen bids tendered so far.

Hagerty contributor Sajeev Mehta (who use to write for The Truth About Cars and is a pretty skilled FoMoCo wrench) has written a fairly detailed piece on the FJ55 and from his work, we have learned that production spanned the years ’67 through ’80. Known as the “Iron Pig” the FJ55’s biggest issue is rust, rust, and more rust and our subject is showing evidence of that in the lower door skins, in the rocker panels, and along the drip rails which Sajeev specifically lists as a problem area. Additionally, the fender legs reveal what looks like worn-out, cracked Bondo, and the bumpers appear to be courtesy of Georgia Pacific. Couple all of this together with faded paint and it completes a picture of a truck that needs, as the seller suggests, “restoration“.

The mechanical repairs applied to the 125 HP, 3.9 liter, in-line six-cylinder engine include, “Replaced clutch, rear main, all engine gaskets, rebuilt OEM carb, oil lines, tune-up, coolant flush, and t Stat. New hoses. All fluids changed. Partial rebuild of transfer case“. Three is the number of transmission gears, manually shifted with a floor shift in place of the original three-on-the-tree arrangement. The listing claims, “Starts, runs, stops great“.

So, how’s the interior? Well, there’s only one image and it’s not too encouraging. The driver’s footwell has holes and the driver’s seat is covered with a Mexican blanket. Nothing else is visible, or said, about the environment’s condition, so you can only imagine how the rest of it likely shapes up.

So, an Iron Pig? I wouldn’t lay that moniker on this Toyota but it is kinda goofy looking – not in a terrible way but it does show as a typical Japanese design from this era. The seller admonishes, “Please know what you are bidding on and be familiar with these vehicles“. The “familiarity” component is probably the fleeting variable in this case, after all, this is, domestically speaking, an obscure vehicle. I guess there’s a bottom out there for that worn-out driver’s seat, but a cleaner example may be the better bet, at least that’s my thought, what’s yours?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Ha! Through the miracle of BFs, here is my 1970 “double nickel”, or an amazing replica of it, sans the rust that ultimately doomed the vehicle. BEFORE the body separated from the frame, I can say with all honesty, it was the best vehicle I ever had. If you knew me, you’d say that’s a hefty claim, but tis’ true. Mine had a pto and driveshaft winch on the front. Back in the 80s, we had some mombo snow storms, and I never remember getting stuck. To be clear, this was in direct competition with the SJ, the XJ being a few years away, and was everything the Jeep wasn’t. I think the Jeep was cushier, but aside from the rust, it never failed, unlike the Jeep SJ Cherokee I had, which is a different story.
    This is from a time when your lap was the cup holder, only ONE “power port”, for lighting cigarettes and that spotlight and the column 3 speed will make it unstealable(?), lock the hubs? Where would I find that, gramps? The 4 speed and later 5 speeds were much more highway friendly. Mine had an extra heater on the rear floor, but still pretty useless. The motor,a direct knockoff of the GM in line 6, also, everything the GM wasn’t. It powered everything in Asia from limos to trucks. Great find,,no unbelievable find, whatever you do, DON’T take out in the salt. It’s the only reason this is here at all.

    Like 14
    • Rw

      Howard’s back we can agree to disagree on alot vehicles.

      Like 8
      • HoA Howard AMember

        Talk to me, brother!

        Like 5
  2. duke reed

    i am STLL amazed how dam gullible EVERYONE is on all these FJ machines, long and short wheel base
    they were all semi reliable at best
    MPG was totally in the toilet
    slow as all hell
    NOT tough
    even though they gave a great appearance of durability, they dented and broke a whole lot
    ALL this info comes from someone who have owned these through the years,YES,i was sucked in, then i got smarter
    and the cherry on top……..they were ALL,RUST magnets

    good luck to any and all who buy them
    i hope you have an endless supply of money and talent plus patients

    Like 5
    • Jim

      I have no idea what you are talking about. I bought a fi40 off of a dad who sold it for $500 because his son slid sideways into a telephone phone, breaking it in half. I latched a chain to the front fender and a pickup truck and couldn’t pull the fender all the way out! I had that fj on two wheels. Guess you like to look at all black perfectly straight panels. FJs aren’t about that. They are about driving it in real off-road environments.
      PS still have mine and it hasn’t seen the pavement in 30 years so I don’t understand a lack of speed or mileage rather.

      Like 8
      • HoA Howard AMember

        Hi Jim, you know, in the past, I’ve gone on the defensive on many a commentors post, only to realize, opinions are like rear ends, everybody has one. Some more vocal than others( cough). Dukes has a right to have their opinion and I’ve found, once someone has a bad view of something, come heck or high water will change it. I had miserable results with a SJ Cherokee, but would never condemn the entire line because of it. That’s America today, say what you feel with no consequences. I, like you, disagree with everything this Duke says, but would never convince them of that. To say this was a poor vehicle is just not accurate one bit. It was, I feel, the absolute best rural vehicle for 1970.

        Like 6
    • DON

      They are dependable, but they rust like first gen Broncos – at least here on the East coast

      Like 0
  3. RMac

    Duke – Howard just laid a curse on you – speaking bad about an FJ LOL

    Like 2
    • HoA Howard AMember

      Dang, it took me 40 years to outlive the last curse,,, :)

      Like 4
  4. SirRaoulDuke

    Well, if you have the money and talent that other Duke refers to, you do something like this one at BaT…and there’s a before build photo that goes to show that today’s example is actually a fairly good starting point.


    Like 1
  5. JimmyJ

    want to out in the bush? get a land rover.
    want to get back? get a cruiser

    Like 6

    For the past 60 years the Landcruiser has been the go to 4WD in Australia. Currently a 1-2 year wait on a 300 series and stopped taking orders on the 79 series with a two year wait.

    Like 3
  7. Scrapdaddy

    Hey Everyone,

    I invite you all to see and learn more about the FJ55 here, https://forum.ih8mud.com/forums/fj55-iron-pig-preservation-society.51/

    We have some really nice ones built or being built.

    Like 2
  8. Phipps

    All the Frat guys with modern 4 Runners with 20+ Patagonia type stickers need to pay respect to the grand daddy here.

    Sounds cheap to me for what that could be too

    Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW

    SOLD for 8K.

    Like 0

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