This Restored Land Cruiser Will Take You Back to 1967
A rare FJ45LV, immaculately returned to its original condition
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
The 40-Series Toyota Land Cruiser is a legend, and rightly so; it's among the most capable and iconic trucks ever made. But while you can find a decent FJ40 on Craigslist for around $10,000, it's much more rare to come across a FJ45LV. This one is likely the nicest example that exists anywhere in the world.
Just completed by Miami-based classic Toyota specialist The FJ Company, this truck has been faithfully restored to factory-original condition—right down to the original, numbers-matching engine and transmission.
To put into perspective how rare it is to find a perfect FJ45LV with its original inline-six diesel motor and three-speed transmission, this similar restoration was sold by a Road&Track contributor last year for $200,000. And he lost money on it.
What makes the FJ45LV unique is that it wasn’t actually made by Toyota. Instead, it was assembled off-site by a now-defunct coach builder, Gifu Auto Body. That’s an expensive prospect for an automaker, and only 5,000 LVs were ever made—1,000 of which arrived in the U.S. That off-site construction had another drawback: Rust. The vast, vast majority of LVs have long since succumbed to rotten bodies and frames. The few that survived have mostly had their asthmatic engines and three-speed transmissions replaced by modern Toyota V8s and four-speeds, so they can keep up with modern traffic. Even if you wanted to restore an original, you probably couldn’t find one, and you definitely couldn’t find parts. Most of the 45LV’s components are no longer made or stocked by anyone, anywhere in the world.
But it's not just rarity that makes this truck a find. The FJ45 differs from the famed FJ40 through its longer wheelbase and additional seats. The FJ45LV differs from the “plain” 45 with its fixed-roof. Think of it as the precursor to the modern family SUV; something like today’s Toyota Sequoia.
The FJ Company lucked into this particular vehicle. A collector had found the rusted, but intact body and frame decades ago, and slowly assembled the complete collection of original parts needed to restore it. But he never finished it, and the truck lingered in the back of a collection for years. FJ Co describes the find as a “treasure trove.”
That could be literal. This FJ45LV will go on display at the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours next week, and will be displayed at the SEMA show in Las Vegas November 1 through 4, but it's already been sold to a client in Dubai—we’re guessing for more than the $200,000 sum Road&Track’s went for. You’ll find 300-plus photos of the truck on FJ Co’s website.