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Ready to Work: 1983 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ47 Pickup

Legend has it that during WWII, when the Japanese invaded the Philippines, its army found an abandoned American 4×4 Jeep. Exactly which Jeep (some say Bantam, some say Willys) is not known, but the vehicle was immediately deemed a useful thing, sent back to Japan, and reverse-engineered. From that exercise came two vehicles – one of them the AK10. Used briefly during WWII, the AK10 was shelved after the war ended, but lessons learned during its manufacture remained in Toyota’s institutional memory. When the Korean War prompted the US to ask Toyota to make 100 Jeeps utilizing Willys specifications, the BJ was born, looking vaguely like the AK10 but sharing none of its mechanical components. By 1953, BJ production hit its stride, and by 1955, a civilian version called the J20 was developed. From that point on, the Land Cruiser spread across the world by the millions, leapfrogging into ever-better iterations, climbing mountains, fighting fires, going hunting… and just generally toting good and bad guys in all manner of endeavors in nearly every country on the planet. We should wish every FJ could talk – what tales we’d hear. Here on eBay is a 1983 Toyota Land Cruiser HJ47 pickup, bid to $23,300 and past its reserve. This FJ drove 4,000 miles from Central America to its current home in Jericho, New York, so it ought to deliver you home, too.

Equipped with the “2H” 4.0-liter in-line six-cylinder diesel engine, a four-speed manual, and a high/low transfer case with manual-lock hubs, this truck has one of the more desirable configurations offered. The engine – one of the largest on the FJ menu – produces about 107 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual was an option; the longer-legged fifth gear saves a bit of gas but for low-speed work, owners seem to prefer the four-speed. The seller reports no leaks from the engine and an odometer reading of 161,904, so it’s barely broken in!

The interior is in respectable condition given age and mileage. The factory radio is still with the truck, the headliner is at least intact though not pristine, and the underside is cleaner than I would expect for such a workhorse, though it looks like one leaf spring will need attention. The rubber floor mat is torn just to the right of the gas pedal, but photos of the cabin floors show little to no rust.

The previous owner resprayed the truck in its factory color to driver-quality standard about thirteen years ago, so nicks and scrapes are evident. The stake-side wood is said to be original. The seller imported this truck from Central America himself, and it still carries a license tag on its windshield in Spanish, but it also has a clear NY title. Stock FJ40s had a moment about five years ago when prices shot into the high five-, and even low six figures. Nowadays, it takes a restomod to achieve that level as the market seems to have moved on to Chevy Blazers and Ford Broncos. But these competent trucks can still breach $50k if they are well-configured; for an average condition example, the current price is about right.


  1. Frog Man

    Nice! Thanks for the bit of history. I had never heard that it was originally reverse engineered from a WWII jeep.

    Like 3
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Yes, technically the Land Cruiser was a totally different animal, but fans of the vehicle like to point back to that scavenged war Jeep as the “grandfather” of the FJ. Basically, ok, Toyota once made a handful of jeep-like things that barely got used in the war, so maybe ten years later they remembered how to make a flat panel, but the reality is, there’s not much AK10 DNA in a Land Cruiser!

      Like 1
  2. Mister Green

    Mmm, not worth the money, IMO.

    Like 3
  3. You clearly don’t understand Land Cruiser nomenclature. Calling any 40 series Land Cruiser an “FJ” is wrong–and is laughable that you would even use that delineator when this particular 40 series has an “H” series motor. Please research Land Cruiser naming conventions. Never refer to a Land Cruiser as an “FJ” (or BJ, HJ, FZJ, KZJ, etc.). The correct way is to use the series number.

    Like 2
    • NHDave

      Barn Finds readers often provide additional information or corrections to the write-up content based on their deep knowledge of a particular vehicle. This is useful and helpful to readers and the writers alike. And, most of those commenters do so with grace, courtesy, and a lack of snark. It’s unfortunate that you weren’t able to do the same.

      As always, nice write-up, Michelle.

      Like 10
      • I’m glad the information was useful to you (and future readers). In the future I hope the author does more research on Land Cruiser nomenclature before writing from a perceived point of authority on the subject matter.

        Like 0
      • NHDave

        You missed the point of my reply…

        Like 6
      • Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately the author has not corrected her errors in the article.

        Like 0
    • oilngas

      Dear Mister No Name,

      BF is hiring writers. You should apply. But clearly you should be the editor with the authority to clean house. It’s hard to get good volunteers willing to do more than the bare minimum to get by.

      Like 1
      • Thank you for the offer. I will consider it.

        Like 0
  4. Derek

    That’s a crackin’ truck. No bigger than it needs to be.

    Like 1

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