Parked for 12 Years: 1978 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40

The Toyota Land Cruiser is notoriously long-lived and rugged, and this example is no exception. After it had been sitting unused and forgotten for 12-years, the owner installed a new battery, poured some fuel down the carburetor, and the old girl fired right up. It’s going to need some work before it is ready to hit the trails again, but it does appear to be a relatively solid starting point for a restoration project. It is located in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The listing opened at $3,000, but there are currently no bids on the Land Cruiser. There is also a BIN option, and this has been set at $4,800.

The Mustard Yellow Land Cruiser is said to be in sound structural condition. The frame is solid and free of cracks, and the only rust appears to be a dusting of surface corrosion. Rust in the body is pretty minimal and is mainly confined to the rockers, and the rear doors. The floors are in good condition, and the Land Cruiser has been fitted with a new set of quarter panels at some point. There’s been plenty of touch-up work on the paint in the past, and there is also surface corrosion in evidence. The extent of this seems to suggest that media blasting the body back to bare metal might actually be a fairly smart move.

The interior of the FJ40 is a bit of a surprise because apart from a seam separation on the driver’s seat, the rest of the trim doesn’t look to be that bad. Mind you, a Land Cruiser of this era really doesn’t possess a lot of upholstered surfaces anyway. I would say that the vehicle has been fitted with an aftermarket stereo at some point because there is not only a hole in the dash but a set of Pioneer speakers have been fitted into the door trims. Many of the painted surfaces are showing their age a bit, but I think that the interior might spring a few surprises if it was given a good clean, and the painted surfaces were polished.

For getting out into the wilds, a vehicle with brute horsepower is not what is needed, but one with plenty of engine torque is worth its weight in gold. That is precisely what you get with a Land Cruiser. Under the hood is a 4,230cc straight-six petrol engine. This produces a modest 125hp, but a healthy 200ft/lbs of torque, which allows the vehicle to tackle some pretty rugged terrain. Of course, all-wheel-drive capabilities are essential, and the Land Cruiser provides a manually selectable 4-wheel drive system with high and low range. After sitting for 12-years, this one fired right up and was happy to sit idling. Obviously, there is going to be some work to do before the vehicle is ready to take the next owner on some adventures, but it all does sound quite promising.

There are a number of characteristics that have made the Land Cruiser a popular off-roader over the years. They are simple to operate, easy to maintain, and are unbelievably rugged. They are also not as prone to rust issues as some of their contemporaries, and due to their incredible popularity and high sales volumes when new, both complete vehicles and spare parts remain readily available. The popularity of the FJ40 is reflected in their current values. Nicely restored original-spec vehicles are almost impossible to find below $30,000, but prices in the mid-$50,000 range are fairly common. Even at the BIN price, that leaves a lot of room to maneuver on a restoration project before the next owner will come close to approaching those sorts of prices. That would seem to indicate that this FJ40 has a lot of potential as a project vehicle.

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Comments

  1. Dan

    This Land Cruiser would strain my cash reserves…but I’d just tend to the rust, sort out the mechanicals, and drive it until I was able to restore it.

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  2. Bluetec320 Member

    Let me know if anyone needs eyes on this. I live about 15 minutes from Sugarloaf, Pa.

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  3. BTG88

    A 1978 LC has the 2F engine – 135 HP and 210 Ft/lb of torque.

  4. John

    As well as rugged, the SWB FJ40 is much fun on a twisty, sealed back road. In standard form with off-road tires they understeer wildly, one big drift. I had one for country town work for a while in the 70’s. Good times.

    I wonder about the checker plate bolted to the loop front bull-bar. Was it a tree pusher?

  5. Wayne

    That is not a factory front bumper. It is a Winch mount/front bumper. The winch is gone and the plate blocks off the hole for the winch cable. This appears to be a great deal as long as no other rust issues are hiding somewhere.
    I already have one and it is on the wrong coast. On the west coast with some paint work it is worth at least triple the BIN price if not more.

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