Too Good To Be True? Cheap 1972 FJ55 Land Cruiser

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With a buy it now of only $1,800, I knew this 1972 Toyota FJ55 Land Cruiser couldn’t be as good a deal as it looked to be at first glance. That being said, it might just be worth checking out! It’s located in St. Augustine, Florida and is up for sale here on eBay. Let’s take a closer look!

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As you might expect of any Land Cruiser of this vintage, there’s some rust. Okay, there’s a lot of rust! And that’s just the parts of the body you see on the outside!

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It looks like the SUV has been earning its keep as a sign for the seller’s used car dealership–“We Buy Cars.” There are plenty of ripples and signs of previous body work in all of these pictures. But I don’t think this is the one you want to buy if you are looking for a concours Land Cruiser! Now if you’re looking for something to beat about trails in, that’s another story–and you might have found the right vehicle.

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Surprisingly, the interior doesn’t look too bad, although I’m pretty sure that’s a FLAP (Friendly Local Auto Parts) cheapie seat cover. Nonetheless, considering I’d probably be hosing this out at the end of the day (if that!), this doesn’t look bad at all.

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What a torquey six! With only 125 horsepower but 209 ft. lbs of torque, this is a true stump puller, especially when coupled with the gear ratios provided by Toyota in the three-speed transmission. And although the seller doesn’t tell us anything about the condition of the mechanical components (I guess when they say “needs everything” you just expect the worst!), it really doesn’t look that bad under here. If I were in the market for a beat-around vehicle, I’d be looking this one over closely. I might not like what I find, but who knows? Would you give it a look?

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Comments

  1. Jeff Staff

    As a regular visitor to St. Augustine, I can just see this thing sitting outside of some hippie artist studio for years at a time, basking in sunshine and salt spray until the door hinges rust out. Cool truck and hard to top at that price if you can tolerate the corrosion.

  2. Dave Wright

    Junk when new and not better with age. They were not good off or on road.

  3. CJay

    gone!

  4. Mike O'Handley

    Great trucks and when completely restored they can command a good price these days. You have to get it to that point though and that won’t be quick or cheap..

    I’m an old Toyota guy. Was a Toyota mechanic for years and know those trucks like the back of my hand. I also occasionally do restorations. I’m currently restoring a ’58 Packard Hawk. Wanted one since I was 7 and after a fall that almost did me in decided I’d better get started on my bucket list. The P.H. was at the top of that list.

    Last Toyota I restored was a frame-off on an MS75 Crown Coupe exactly like this one (Wish I had it back):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Crown#/media/File:Toyota_Crown_Coupe_S60_2563cc_registered_June_1972.JPG

    If another reader wants that FJ bad enough, and wants someone to go through it top to bottom, we should talk.

    Ha! I’ll upload an image of me in my Toyota days. That’s me on the right. In those days I probably fit that “artistic hippy” profile you mentioned. I was a damned good Tai-ota guy as we used to pronounce it back then. That was more than 40 years ago. These days, my hairline looks more like the other guy’s.

  5. Mike O'Handley

    Hmm,

    Can’t agree with Mr. Wright. Then again, I had complete total disdain Fords since I was a kid. Recently bought an F150 with a twin-turbo eco-boost V6 because the price was – as the header on this post says – Too Good To Be True – and put 7500 miles on it in 11 days hauling a classic car from Fresno to Wisconsin and an Avanti from Narvon, PA to Tacoma – stopping enroute for a reunion with some old Army buddies. That tiny little engine can out-pull all other F150s pulling a load and just about any other pickup in it’s class – including my beloved Tai-o-tas. I walked by just about everything else on every steep grade coming and going – amazing piece of technology and it won me over. I’ll never diss Ford again unless I’ve driven the car I’m dissing. So, Dave, you are forgiven for your heresy. ;).

    Once knew a Dave Wright. Met him the hard way; in jump school at Ft. Benning in Mid-February 1976 he and I got all tangled up together on the 4th training jump when my silk opened and I found myself landing on his canopy. Walked off it as I’d been taught and dropped straight down through his suspension lines ‘cuz he had swung out from under his canopy on that side just as I stepped off of his. We stood there staring at each other – all of my suspension lines wrapped around 4 of his and causing his canopy to dump some of its air. That made him drop a little bit faster than me, so I had to do what I was taught – pull myself down to his level so we could lock arms and agree on which way each of us would turn when we hit the ground.

    I started pulling myself down to his level using his suspension lines. Since he was dropping faster than I was, it was like trying to lift a truck bumper. In the course of doing that, my lines sawing on his caused two of those four suspension lines to break and I started getting snarled up in the loose ends that had fallen on my forearms. Kept pulling though, for what seemed like an eternity – determined to do it exactly as I’d been taught. He was stretching out as far as he could trying to reach me so we could do that arm lock thing when we suddenly became aware of a blackhat screaming at us through a bullhorn from the ground, “G** D****t entangled jumpers, LOOK AT THE F****** GROUND!” It was like a Laurel and Hardy skit, we stopped struggling, started at each other in shock, simultaneously looked down at the ground and both uttered, “Oh S***!” as we realized that the eternity was only about 15 seconds and we were probably only 30ft. off the ground and about to slam into it. I screamed, “Roll left!” and at that instant hit the ground like a bug splatting on a windshield. I rolled left. I have no idea if he did. Neither of us had even tried to turn into the wind or focus on the horizon and neither was prepared for the impact – which was a whole lot harder than the first three jumps had been. I somehow didn’t break anything and found myself being dragged by a pretty good ground wind – for about two seconds – and then my chute stopped pulling at me and flew away from me and I found myself looking into the face of a very tough-looking black hat holding a Buck knife he’d used to cut my suspension lines in his hand. His face was pretty contorted in anger and for a second I thought, based on the way he was holding that Buck in knife-fight stance – I was going to get a chance to see what some live intestines still attached to their owner looked like when they fell out of someone’s abdomen. He just snarled, turned and uttered two words, “F****** idiot,” and ran over to Dave and cut his lines so the wind would stop jerking him around.

    We stood up and he confronted us and demanded an explanation. We explained what had happened and how we’d been trying so hard to do the entanglement maneuver that we’d forgotten to look down. The guy’s expression softened a tad and he said, “OK, good job. Just, next time, look at the f****** ground, will ya? Go on, gather up your stuff and get over to the collection point.”

    Gotta tell ya, I almost quit that night. I figured if I was going to tangle up on a training jump Karma was gunning for me and I’d better not push my luck. By morning the adrenaline had subsided and I was back in hooah mode. Last time I saw Dave, he was off to be a signalman someplace. Never heard from him again.

    Thanks for the memory, Dave!

    Airborne!

  6. JoeT

    I can attest the FJ-40 through FJ-80 are some of the best stock off road vehicles ever built. Drove an FJ-40 in Alaska, an FJ-60 in Egypt and the Sinai, and currently own an FJ-80. They don’t have the best on-road ride and do use quite a bit of petrol but the are good for what they were designed for–getting you out into the remote spots and getting you back again.

  7. Howard A Member

    I had a 1970 FJ-55 very similar to this, and if you think THIS one is rusty, you never saw mine. The body literally came off the frame, and became unsafe to drive ( duh) But while it was still somewhat usable, it was the best vehicle I ever had ( I know, a hefty claim, as I’ve had a lot) It had the driveshaft driven winch, and a 3 speed on the column. That truck would go anywhere, in any weather. In case that motor looks familiar, it is an Asian knockoff of the 235 Chevy. It never failed. It was one of the 3 Toyota’s I owned ( sorry, in the mid-west, we called them “Toyota”, among other things, they were slow to accept Toyotas in the mid-west) FJ’s are hot right now, and restored examples are going for crazy money, and for good reason. They still, I feel, were the best 4×4’s ever made. Can’t go wrong here.

    • Mike O'Handley

      Funny you should mention that, Howard. I had to rebuild one of the earlier FJ55s after an owner was negligent about checking his oil.

      He drove in and wanted to know why his engine sounded like a hundred little men were inside banging hammers against the wall trying to get out. Really, I swear….it happened.

      Anyway, Mr. Mechanical wizard left it with us and we ended up pulling it, having it bored out and had just about every bearing journal and smooth surface ground and then had to come up with oversized stuff.

      One thing that was a puzzler was the shim stock used for the bearing caps. We needed it quickly but none of the dealerships within a weak’s time had any or had ever thought to order any for stock. I could cut it by hand but it was tedious work and the time involved would have pushed cost over the flat rate cost estimate the owner had been quoted.

      I was sitting there looking at that engine and wondering where I’d find that shim stock when I remembered someone talking about how the Japanese car manufacturers had reverse engineered just about every American or European car in Japan after WWII when they were trying to get their auto dealers back into full production mode.

      I looked at that engine. “Dang,” I thought, “That thing looks just like that big old six cylinder in that 55 Chevy I bought from Lloyd so-and-so for $25 bucks when I was in junior high! I walked over to the parts counter and asked the parts guy to call around to some Chevy dealers and see if any of them had any assortments of pre-cut shim stock for the old 50’s Chevy sixes.

      Within two hours I had my assortment. It wasn’t a perfect match – the Japanese engine using metric sized bolts and all, but it was close enough. I scrounged up a block of wood, pulled out my assortment of gasket hole punches and a half hour later I had the plastigage out and was figuring out what thickness shim I was going to use.

  8. erikj

    MEMIORIES of daaaave???????????????????????wier

  9. jaygryph

    I dunno, I just bought a super rusty one a few months back that still ran and drove (though not well) for $400.

    Sold it to a buddy who just parted it out to build a buggy project out of the bodywork, the frame went under another one that was getting restored.

    Poke around, there’s deals everywhere. Not that this is an unfair price if you really want one that’s mostly complete.

  10. Jubjub

    Some jack ass outside of Louisville was hoping to get like four grand for a real basket case FJ55 a while back. Unmitigated gall at its finest. With all that said, these are very cool and it would be cool to have one. Wouldn’t want it perfect but would mostly just want all of its mounting points and such to be made solid again. Can’t recall ever seeing one of these without rusty fenders and rockers etc.

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