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Make an Offer: 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser

Rarity claims for any classic must be taken at face value unless a seller holds documentary evidence supporting their belief. Such is the case with this 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser. The seller describes its paint shade as rare, and I can find no evidence that provides enlightenment either way. However, it is a rock-solid survivor with only a few reversible modifications. It needs a new home, with the seller listing the Cruiser here on Craigslist in North Phoenix, Arizona. They don’t specify a price but will consider offers and possible trades. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this intriguing classic.

Toyota’s Land Cruiser enjoys a reputation for unbreakable reliability, and the company was so confident in these classics that they only performed evolutionary changes during the FJ40’s multi-decade production run. This Cruiser rolled off the line in 1978, and it is the potential rarity of the paint shade that the seller emphasizes. It appears to be Code 532 Yellow, a color offered from 1975 until 1983. They mention the vehicle’s originality, suggesting the paint gracing its panels was applied at the factory. There is no history of repairs or restoration, making its presentation particularly noteworthy. It isn’t perfect, but the overall condition is acceptable for potential buyers considering preservation. There are a few bumps, blemishes, and marks, but nothing requires urgent attention. The Toyota has spent its life in dry climates, making its rust-free status unsurprising. The trim and glass are excellent, and the enormous aftermarket wheels and tires should accentuate the Land Cruiser’s off-road abilities. The body hasn’t been modified to accommodate these, so swapping them for factory wheels and tires would be straightforward for anyone preferring a “stock” look.

Toyota hit upon a winning formula when it launched the Land Cruiser in 1960. They fitted their new model with the 3.9-liter six-cylinder powerplant, which served faithfully until the end of 1974. The 1975 model year saw that motor superseded by a 4.2-liter six producing 135hp and 210 ft/lbs of torque. Neither figure represented a significant increase over the outgoing engine, although the torque delivery occurred lower in the new engine’s rev range. The power feeds to the road via a four-speed manual transmission and dual-range transfer case, with no automatic option. This Cruiser is a numbers-matching classic with a claimed 71,000 original miles on the clock. The seller doesn’t indicate whether they hold supporting evidence but confirms they recently replaced the carburetor and exhaust. Those are the only non-original mechanical components, and if the seller has the original carb and is willing to include it, the buyer might be able to overhaul it for reinstallation. That would return the vehicle to what I consider its factory specifications because components like the exhaust are typically viewed as consumable items. Potential buyers can consider it a turnkey proposition, with the seller confirming it runs and drives perfectly.

The supplied interior shots are limited, making it hard to gauge its overall condition. The pad is cracked, and there appear to be seam separations on the front seats, but it is serviceable. The rear seats are intact, but their condition is unknown. Seatcovers and replacement pads are readily available, although throwing on a dash mat and a set of slipcovers would improve the appearance without breaking the bank. The interior features a rear-mounted heater and an ancient radio/cassette player, but the lack of items like air conditioning confirms that life aboard the Toyota represents motoring in its most basic form. However, I don’t view that as an issue. The company designed the Land Cruiser to perform one role well: transport occupants into seemingly inaccessible locations and return them home safely. These classics have developed a reputation for executing that role effectively, and that is all that matters to many people.

This 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser shows promise, and if it can be confirmed as all the seller claims, it should hold no nasty surprises for its new owner. These vehicles are almost indestructible, helping explain why they have enjoyed a strong sales history. The seller doesn’t specify a price, but a figure of around $25,000 might be a sensible starting point for anyone considering contacting the seller. Alternatively, you might have a classic sitting in your garage that you no longer use. Perhaps it could be the ideal candidate for a trade. It is a question worth asking. After all, what is the worst the seller can say? You never know, but today might be your lucky day.


  1. Aussie Dave Aussie Dave Member

    Yep/nope, colour is not rare, well here in Aus anyway.
    Great looking 4bie tho

    Like 8
    • Re

      Body not modified but definitely lifted

      Like 2
  2. Todd Zuercher

    Definitely not a rare color – I’d say it’s one of the most common TLC colors from that era. Looks to be in pretty good condition and love the now-vintage Downey air filter housing. If it’s been here in AZ its whole life, rust won’t be an issue either. You still see a surprising number of these rigs here in Arizona.

    Like 5
    • Joe

      I have a cherry 55 Chevy step side fully restored with a 327 camel back and turbo 350backed by a 12 bolt I’ll trade for it.

      Like 1
  3. ccasteel

    This is a decently preserved 40. But they are ignoring some of the other changes. All the emission equipment has been removed. The rear fenders have been cut. And there is rust coming through on the rear under the doors and the right fender. Still well worth investigating. An easy project to work on while enjoying it immensely.

    Like 2
  4. JMB#7

    Honestly speaking, I cannot say that I have seen that color of paint on these in Ohio or Kentucky. Come to think of it… most of them I have seen there don’t have much of any paint left on them. OK, I have seen the color before, but around here it is not common. Although I am (was) a Jeep fan… the Toyota FJ40 is a much better vehicle than any CJ. Nice find. I cannot tolerate CL-listings at $1. People really need to give some expectation of price.

    Like 3
  5. justpaul

    Most of the FJ40s I’ve ever seen on the East Coast were this color or pale blue. This mustard color actually works better.

    Like 1

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