In 2019 I mentioned I had a new crush: The Toyota FJ40. I came close to buying this one after the winning bidder backed out. It was relatively early in my exploration of the breed, and its repaired cracked engine block was intimidating to an FJ newbie like me; I could not pull the trigger but kept looking, learning, and occasionally bidding.
If you are unfamiliar with the FJ, it is Toyota’s longest-running model, with more than 1 million sold from 1960 to 2001. The tough little truck drove Toyota’s reputation worldwide. Durable, reliable, simple to fix, it works equally well in the desert as it does in mountains. I laugh whenever 60 Minutes shows some drug lord or terrorist and you see the rugged FJ as their vehicle of choice.
They stopped making North American spec vehicles in the 1980s as crash and emissions rules came into effect, but production continued worldwide for another 20 years. They remain quite popular in South America.
I am not a “truck guy,” but these roguish charmers have beguiled me. They are available for a broad range of prices: as cheap as $10k–$20k in original condition; updated and clean versions go for $30k-40k (BAT data here); frame off renovations can go for $40-$75; resto-mods as much as six figures. This resto-mod is such an outlier at $221,000 that I cannot help but suspect its celebrity angle is what drove the price, along with a modern engine and automatic transmission.
To finish up my October car posts of cars I would have in my garage — this is (literally) one of them. During the lockdown, I have been rebuilding the one you see below in Colombia; it is slated to be imported into the US next month. You can see photos of the renovation below; I might add an Old Man Emu lift kit, a winch up front, and some knobby Mickey Thompson tires.
It’s a keeper, not a flip — and if I have my druthers, I will do the same with a FJ45 pick up next.
Rebuiild photos after the jump