Concise history of the Toyota Land Cruiser, in 16 exclusive pictures

Toyota Jeep BJ Series F1951-1955 - picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Toyota Jeep BJ Series F1951-1955

The Korean War started in 1950, and so did the history of the Land Cruiser. The American Army needed utility vehicles, and Toyota delivered. In 1951, Toyota had a first prototype, more powerful than the U.S. Jeep, with a 84 hp 6-cylinder gasoline engine. In 1953, mass production started, and the “Toyota Jeep BJ” was shipped across the water to eager customers fighting the Communists in Korea. In 1954, the BJ was named “Land Cruiser,” an unabashed reference to the British competition, the Land Rover.

Land Cruiser 40 FJ45V 1965

Land Cruiser 40 FJ45V 1965

The BJ morphed into a slightly demilitarized J20. A 1960 refresh turned it into the classic Land Cruiser 40. It finally had what soldiers had sorely missed in the mud and snow of Korea: A gear box with a low range. In 1965, when the truck in the picture was made, the Land Cruiser 40 was the best-selling Toyota in the U.S.

Land Cruiser 40 Series BJ44 1974-1979

Land Cruiser 40 Series BJ44 1974-1979

In 1974, the Land Cruiser 40 was available with a diesel engine. Lower taxed in Japan than the gasoline engine, the diesel propelled the sales numbers of the Land Cruiser 40 to new heights.

Land Cruiser 40 Series BJ44 1974-1979

Land Cruiser 40 Series BJ44 1974-1979

In 1983, the last Land Cruiser 40 was exported to the United States.

Land Cruiser 55 Series FJ56V 1955-1960

Land Cruiser 55 Series FJ56V 1955-1960

A comfort-oriented Land Cruiser 55 was produced from 1967 to 1980.

Land Cruiser 60 BJ60V 1982

Land Cruiser 60 BJ60V 1982

The more modern looking Land Cruiser 60 series was made from 1980 through 1990.

Land Cruiser 70 Series HZJ77V 1990-1999

Land Cruiser 70 Series HZJ77V 1990-1999

In 1984, the 70 replaced the 40 as the blue collar worker in the Land Cruiser family.

Land Cruiser 70 Series PZJ70 1992

Land Cruiser 70 Series PZJ70 1992

The 70 was available in three wheelbases, short, medium, and long.

Land Cruiser Prado 70 Series KZJ78W 1990-1996

Land Cruiser Prado 70 Series KZJ78W 1990-1996

A lighter duty version was sold as the Land Cruiser 70 Prado.

Land Cruiser 70 Series HZJ76 1999-2004

Land Cruiser 70 Series HZJ76 1999-2004

The Land Cruiser 70 maintained its classic shape through 2007, when it was facelifted.

Land Cruiser 80 FZJ80G 1995

Land Cruiser 80 FZJ80G 1995

The Land Cruiser 80 was launched in 1990.

 

Land Cruiser 100 Series UZJ100 1998-2007

Land Cruiser 100 Series UZJ100 1998-2007

The 80 was replaced by the Land Cruiser 100, and the gentrification of the former workhorse was in full swing.

All these trucks, and a few more, can be seen at Tokyo’s Megaweb. If you hop on a plane now, they will still be there. Each one of them is well worth the ticket.