Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chocolate Thunder!

I was walking around Prospect Heights recently when a great brown cloud covered the sky. Once my eyes adjusted I realized I was standing before an enormous building made of rich chocolate. Behold!
This is a 1980-1989 Toyota Land Cruiser Fj60 in BROWN. There was a Copper Brown Metallic available in the early '80s but this doesn't seem to be it. I have a feeling somebody decided this was in need of a repaint at some point and instead drove it to Hershey Pennsylvania and had them coat it in rich molten chocolate.
I hate to give such a vast range of years when featuring a vehicle but this has me 100% stumped. 1980-1989 is the entire lifespan of the 60 Series Land Cruiser. When it was introduced it was sold alongside the Fj40. The 40 Series had similar dimensions and was the first station wagon style Land Cruiser that was geared towards comfort. It looked pretty primative as shown here in a pic I snapped of a red & white example in Oregon:

The round headlights are attached to the grill in the 40 like its predecessor in the background. The 40 and 60 Series were sold side by side from '80 to '84. When the 40 was dropped the 70 Series was introduced which had 4 square headlights. The Fj60 as a result never had the spotlight to itself.
This thing is huge in person. Unless you are 6'5" you climb up into this vehicle. While this might have a small lift it's close to (and might actually be) factory height. 
Power was supplied by a 4 liter inline 6 cylinder engine that was carried over from the 40 Series. Toyota engines of this era are some of the most durable ever built. The body will rot away completely but if you turn the key chances are excellent that it will start and move no matter how ugly.
The basis for this vehicle is that you can take 6 or 8 adults off road to any location on Earth. Even though this is a large vehicle its off-road capabilities are legendary. Customers of the larger Land Cruisers forego the ability to remove the roof and they only came in full size 4 door station wagon style (the term SUV hadn't been coined when this first arrived) but if the height wasn't an issue you really can coax this thing just about anywhere. When fitted with a snorkel for the engine you can conquer rivers and stream with ease. Keep in mind that the driver needs to get out of the vehicle to manually lock the front hubs to engage 4 wheel drive so you can't wait until you're stuck in waist deep mud.
The rear access consists of a large liftgate and smaller tailgate. It's not an accident that the fresh air ventilation output is located so high up behind the rear side window as water could get in otherwise when crossing rivers. This was the first Toyota off-road vehicle where creature comforts like air conditioning was available. It was dawning on automakers that their well-to-do customers who drive a Mercedes or BMW to work were starting to keep a capable off road beast in the garage for ski trips (or just to go to the store). Jeep came out with the Grand Wagoneer in '84 in an attempt to cash in on this trend.
I'll finish up with this shot showing the scale of this beast next to modern cars.
As with any Toyota these are reliable and economical to drive daily. Given their nonstick popularity and solid reputation they've never gone all the way down in value and are holding remarkably well. If you encounter one with no rust that seems to run good for under $10,000 I'd say you've got a solid deal on your hands. 

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