I'm really not sure what it is about Toyota's classic FJ40 Land Cruiser, but for some reason I find them to be really cool. Several years ago I was watching some show where a Jeep was broken down on a trail and a classic Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 came to the rescue, it was at that point that I knew I just had to have one. About 5 years later, my dream finally came true. I bought my 1968 Land Cruiser in 2002 with the intention of doing a frame off restoration at some point in the distant future. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) that "distant future" was only two years away, and the FJ40 rebuild has been ongoing ever since.
By the time I got my hands on Toyota FJ40, the drive-train was pretty much bone stock except for the mud tires, and as one can tell by the pictures, the paint had been "updated". Mechanically, it was solid, easily able to cruise the highway at 80 mph, cosmetically, on the other hand, there was a lot to be desired. The rattle can yellow was exciting, but the metallic brown hard top was just strange. The FJ40 didn't look half bad from a distance, but under all those aluminum panels was the cancer that plagues most vehicles of this age, rust. Unfortunately for me, what appeared to be areas of surface rust, turned out to be patch panel after patch panel of stitch welding the body tub rebuild.
This site documents the progression, and occasional regression of rebuilding a classic Toyota off road vehicle into a capable daily driver. The final product will have a 2001 Chevy 5.3 from a Silverado with a NV4500 and the NP241 transfercase. The axles will be Dana 60's with 4:56's and have 325/80/R16 ProComp X-Terrains mounted on Helo Maxx 8 wheels. Until I can afford a new fiberglass hard top, it'll have a Kayline (then STC now out of business) soft top. The new cage is 1.75", .120 wall DOM. The new custom FJ40 Land Cruisers frame was made from .120 wall 2X4 and 2X6 tube with 2X.25 steel strap along the bottom. The new/custom FJ40 dash is a 1' round tube frame, skinned in sheet metal. For the guage cluster I've got a 2002 Cadillac Escalade cluster that will be wired into the data feed from the PCM. I'll keep the Honda Del Sol seats up front and add a Jeep fold-and-tumble to the rear.
Basically what the Toyota looked like when I bought it in 2001. Not bad from 20 feet, not even that bad from the inside, but pull the carpet or crawl underneath and you'll find what appeared to be "just" surface rust.
That was then and this is now...