For all that we in the UK love Land Rover Defenders for their go-anywhere ability, in reality there is another 4x4 that is beloved of those who live in the world’s most hostile environments: the Toyota Land Cruiser. Boasting a heritage that goes back almost as far as the Defender, the Land Cruiser has a hard-earned reputation for being almost indestructible, summed up by the bold claim made by one of Toyota’s adverts: “We’ll know how long it lasts when the first one wears out.”
The 40 series Land Cruiser was originally introduced in 1960 and the main production run continued through to 1986 with a closely related version continuing to be manufactured in Brazil right up to 2001. It was available in a wide variety of body styles and its versatility saw it rack up a million sales by 1980. Initially sold with petrol engines only, the smooth H series diesel was introduced in 1972 and provided more than ample torque driving through a three speed manual box with a transfer case that provided six forward gears, three for on road and three off road.
Available in the UK since 1975, the Land Cruiser has a strong following and enthusiastic owner’s club who help to keep them running, not that they need much assistance in general!
This example started life in Australia, hence the odometer being in km rather than miles, and is the long wheelbase pickup body style rather than the rather functional ‘Ute’ option that was popular down under. It has been restored at some stage in its native country, though the exact date is lost in the mists of time and the process of transporting it half way round the world. It was imported in 2016 by the first UK keeper who planned to add a camper conversion on the back but too many projects saw it gathering dust and so it was sold to the current owner.
As befits its reputation it was put to work as a farm truck and in aid of that over £5,000 was spent on a new Canvasman cover which has helped it to stand out at a couple of show visits. Last year’s service added a near rear hub seal and flexi joint in the exhaust. However, it’s not seen heavy usage and, with a planned extended yachting expedition in the works, the seller has decided to let it go to a new owner lest it undergo another fallow period, to use a farming metaphor.
Sadly the car’s history from Australia didn’t make it over with the car and so there’s a just a small collection of old MOT’s and invoices from its time in the UK.
The current MOT expires on 23 August 2022.
For anyone familiar with the slightly cramped cabin of a Defender, the Land Cruiser offers some useful extra girth and accommodates two people comfortably without either occupant needing to put their arm out of the window.
The rugged simplicity of the exterior extends to the dashboard design which is clear, largely made of metal and, though showing some patina, has a feeling of solidity that implies that it will comfortably outlast the driver. There is an empty slot with an aerial connector where a radio could go although speakers are not obviously in evidence.
The vinyl seats are in good order and fold forwards to reveal the original jack and tyre iron. Under your feet, the flooring shows signs of use but is made of material that wouldn’t object to a vigorous scrubbing while up above the headlining looks completely unmarked.
The door cards are also in good condition, although the passenger door is missing its window winder. In all, it feels exactly like the kind of no-nonsense environment you would expect and generally very well preserved.
While not pretty in a conventional sense, the Toyota is handsome in a functional, sixties kind of a way. It looks perfectly at home parked in a field in the UK but it’s easy to imagine it back in Australia being piloted by some kind of Crocodile Dundee character in the outback.
But rather than romanticise about the past, let’s tell you about the present: in general, the respray and new cover for the rear mean that it presents very well.
On closer inspection, some of the paint has cracked and, on one section on the driver’s door, has flaked off to reveal the original white colour. But the cover for the rear is still in absolutely pristine condition and, while the rear deck has clearly been used for the purpose for which it was intended, it retains a patinated look.
Patinated would also be the best way to describe the ancillaries such as lights, door mirrors and towing hooks and the repainted wheels have some surface corrosion but are in generally good condition with plenty of tread on the tyres. The overall effect is honest and characterful. Meanwhile, underneath has received some weather proofing at some stage and all looks solid.
Under the bonnet is all very original and the 4 litre diesel engine generally takes a few moments to start but does so without fail. As diesels go it sounds pretty good but just to be up front: this is not a fast vehicle. The engine is all about reliability and torque and, if you’re off-road, then torque is your friend.
It’s fair to say that, by modern standards at least, refinement is not a strong point but then neither is it in a classic Defender. But within the confines of the genre it goes stops and steers exactly as you would hope with no untoward noises. Off road it’s the same story where it feels unstoppable.
From its rugged styling to its famed dependability, there’s much to love about the J47 Land Cruiser. They’re now a rare sight in the UK and worth preserving for that alone but as ever there are options for the next owner.
Engine swaps from the Hilux are apparently common to give the Land Cruiser a little more poke and there remains the possibility to do a camper van conversion which would surely be popular in today’s market.
That would involve losing the almost new canvas top which would be a shame and, though the paintwork on this example showing signs of wear, some light restoration work would make it very presentable. If none of those appeal, then there’s always the ability to take it as is and to continue using the Land Cruiser as a cool retro working vehicle which may well be most in the spirit of the model.
Whichever of these alternatives takes your fancy, you have to be in it to win it so head on over to the bid button now.
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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.
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