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FJ55 Project Truck: 1972 Toyota Land Cruiser

These days, it’s hard to find anything resembling a cheap Toyota Land Cruiser. Almost every generation has exploded in value, and to be fair, it’s one of the few vehicles that is wholly deserving of the prices it commands. Land Cruisers are notoriously overbuilt both from a reliability standpoint and due to their off-road prowess. Finding an affordable one that isn’t a total heap is a tall task these days, so you may be better off buying a project with good bones if you want to get in cheap. This 1972 Land Cruiser listed here on craigslist needs everything but it’s not too rusty and it’s just $3,500.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Mark_K for the find. The FJ55 is an interesting chapter in the history of the Land Cruiser, as it was certainly everything a Land Cruiser was meant to be: utilitarian, dirt-simple, and go-anywhere four-wheel-drive. But while the short wheelbase FJ40 became an off-road sensation seemingly overnight, the FJ55 didn’t get as much of the limelight. And unlike the FJ40, restoring one isn’t necessarily money in the bank. I recall reading an article by an Automobile magazine editor who poured buckets of cash into his restoration, running into obsolete parts issues everywhere he turned, and barely breaking even when it went to auction.

Still, that’s not to say you don’t restore this truck. I certainly don’t follow my own advice nearly enough and can easily pump too much dough into a vehicle that won’t pay that money back when it comes time to sell. And, given this FJ55 isn’t rotten – well, at least not too rotten – you can at least get it mechanically sound and drive it while the body is put back together. And given this thing was meant to live on the trail or in the jungle, the interior can remain pretty rough without offending anyone aside from the white glove crowd at Amelia. The seller claims there are lots of parts in boxes, but they’d likely see more interest with a deeper dive into what’s included as chasing spares for one of these isn’t exactly fun.

The rust is said to be limited to the “…left back wheel base, bottom left side and floor pan drivers side,” which really isn’t that bad for a neglected FJ55. I’ve come across one or two of these in junkyards over the years and you’d swear they’d fall in on themselves in a stiff breeze. The description reads like this Land Cruiser was brought home as a project and never put together, which isn’t the worst thing if it means that the seller didn’t get halfway through one system or another before moving on. There are no details about the engine or transmission health which leads me to believe it’s never been touched beyond putting it in the garage. For $3,500, it’s a worthy risk for an FJ55 fan.


  1. Howard A Member

    While my dislike for Asian vehicles is clear, the only one I truly miss, was my 1970 FJ55. This is showroom condition compared to mine, rust, it’s ultimate demise. This, like mine, has the auxilliary winch driveshaft, I trust the winch, which was a Ramsey, is on some car trailer by now. I used mine several times, simply said,,it worked.The truck itself was unstoppable, the in-line 6( a Chevy stovebolt knockoff), none better, and while it still had all the things I don’t like about Asian vehicles, it was really hard to “shoot” that one. They were simple, great trucks.

    Like 4
  2. Rw

    Known in the Toyota community as a Iron Pig, very cool and desirable.

    Like 3
  3. XMA0891

    Only vehicle I know of that rots worst than a J-Series truck or IH…. Still, an IronPig would be welcome in my barn any day. The rot on this one actually seems reasonable, a lot of work awaits the new owner, for certain.

    Like 1
  4. Steve Clinton

    My mother used to say “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

  5. Car Nut Tacoma Washington

    I remember when the Toyota Land Cruiser looked like this. This was when the Land Cruiser was awesome! This would make a great project for resto. Other than what you see that needs to be done, I’d also upgrade the powertrain. Among the powertrain upgrades this vehicle needs is a 3.0 litre turbo diesel engine.

  6. John Member

    Where on craigslist- what marketplace?

    • Ralph


  7. charlie Member

    Neighbor reminised about his a few days ago. Yes the engine was a Toyota copy of the Chevy 6 and some parts were interchangable, and still are, and the GM parts were not only half the price but obtainable. It’s top speed, whatever the terrain, Interstate or back roads, was about 56 mph. The ride was harsh. But out here in the boondocks it would go in the snow and go in the sand and go over the rocks and through the streams like nothing else on the market back then except the basic Jeep. There are at least two in this small community still on the road as daily drivers, not museum pieces.

    Like 1
  8. Jonathan Q Higgins

    Thank God this is halfway across the country. Otherwise I’d be tempted. Had a 40, a 60, and a 62. This body style is hideous yet endearing.

  9. Robert Ruggeri

    Those Iron Pigs are absolutely beautiful to look at. But they rust, just like the FJ 60 and 62 series, like FIATS. I had bought a 62 new in 1989. I had to get rid of it when I accidently put my hand, up to my wrist, right through the rust in the passenger door. Like something out of “The Matrix”…… I went on to buy 2 more though and still have them regardless. They really are bullet-proof except for the rust.

  10. douglas hunt

    ah, the Iron Pig, always loved the front end on these, but just like the fj40 they were almost non existent in my small town,.
    I swear I saw 1 fj40 on the road as a high school graduate driving to a friends house and it was a rusty mess.
    Never saw a fj55 at all, until I decided I wanted a Landcruiser as a bona fide adult and joined a few Landcruiser forums when I bought my 80 series.
    Later on I did see a fj55 inside one of those fenced in storage facilities that is on my way home from work, it was sitting out in the open, I assumed it had probably had a breakdown or was just bought, anyway, it was gone the next day

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