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Rough But Ready: 1971 Toyota FJ55 Land Cruiser


At first glance, I was amazed there wasn’t a “1” in front of the buy-it-now for this 1971 Toyota FJ55 Land Cruiser being sold here on eBay, where the buy-it-now is $5,500 and lower offers are being considered. After I looked more closely at the auction pictures, I can see the reasons why, but it’s still an interesting find. The vehicle is located in West Covina, California.


Looking at these two pictures, it’s a little more obvious why the price is lower than you might expect. On the left, we have painted over wrinkles, creases, and rust. On the right, we have what the seller calls “no signs of major rust” on the roof seam. I’m really surprised that someone would just paint over this stuff! There’s enough rust showing that to me it’s of real concern, although if you are really using it off road I suppose it doesn’t matter quite as much.


There’s a large winch with a fair lead roller set mounted on the front of the bumper. If you read the eBay auction, you might get a chuckle from the way it’s referred to–sometimes spelling is important! I’m sure the winch would be useful off-road. The repaint appears to be in the original Forest Green and Alpine White, and the tires appear to have plenty of tread.


The interior could stand to be upgraded a little if you were driving this on the street, but again, I don’t think that’s what this vehicle’s destined for. Right now it looks like I could hose it out after a weekend in the wild without wincing too much, and I guess that’s about right!


Land Cruisers of this vintage have a 3.9L inline 6 with 125 horsepower and 209 ft-lbs of torque. The gearbox is set up to make maximum use of that torque, though, and I’ve watched a dead-stock one out-pull V-8 SUV’s, albeit slowly. If not clean, it does look well-maintained under here, and the engines last a very long time as long as they are taken care of properly. Do you want to be the next caretaker? Would you try to arrest or treat the rust, or just use it as is?


  1. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Shazam, and it’s gone. And for good reason. These were about the most bullet proof 4×4’s you could get. I had a 1970 just like this, ( only 3 speed on the column) and your idea of rough differs greatly from what mine looked like. I too had a wench, but divorced her,,,,but my winch was driveshaft powered as opposed to the electric one here. In case that motor looks familiar, it should. It’s an Asian knockoff of the Chevy stovebolt 6, and performed flawlessly, until the body separated from the frame, deeming it undriveable. This is what mine looked like when I junked it. Again, best, most useful 4×4 ever. https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3548/3295884452_922785456f_z.jpg?zz=1

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    • Avatar photo Jamie Staff

      Howard, I have to agree–THAT one was rusty and rough! Wow!

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      • Avatar photo Howard A Member

        Hi Jamie, you know, even in it’s dilapidated form, that FJ still pulled cars out of ditches, and always started, and made it through some pretty big storms. It wasn’t until a friend dared me to go “4 wheelin” with it, hit a big jump, I heard a loud crack, and the body was off kilter. Closer inspection revealed all but 1 or 2 body mounts had let go. It was a sad day when I junked it. ( but saved the wench,, I mean winch, still chuckling at that)

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    • Avatar photo Jim

      I like the roof rack!

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    • Avatar photo krash

      Howard…you beat me to the punch with the wench comment..
      ….You divorced her and she found me..

      for some reason I’ve always liked this design…..
      …winch explains why I ended up with a wench..

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    • Avatar photo jaygryph

      Yeah this is about what one a buddy has looks like. It still runs, still drives, you can see the headlight glare through the dashboard, not actually sure what’s keeping it vehicle shaped. Apparently it had a galvanized frame since it was intended for forestry duty. It’s been running with a rod knock for…like, a decade. Outstanding vehicle, it will literally keep moving till it’s everything falls off. I think the plan is eventually to part it out and use what’s left of the skin to build an awesome long travel rock buggy.

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  2. Avatar photo Fred

    Howard, yours (at the end of it’s life) makes this one look ready for Pebble Beach!

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  3. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    See? The Japanese were building ugly cars even before they became a fashion statement.

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  4. Avatar photo randy

    That price was low enough for a flipper to make some nice coin off of.

    Another on my top 10 list of 30-40 cars. ;>)

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  5. Avatar photo duke

    ive had these through the years plus a clone to this one—-these are the biggest rust magnets made—cant see myself ever buying an older one again-plus here is the other kicker—-forget about the MPG—-its virtually nonresistant –total jap junk(ive owned 3 short fj’s and one wagon)

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  6. Avatar photo Highway

    That one had been on Craigslist out here for a while….

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