A little primer on Toyota’s history of manufacture, marketing and sales of the legendary Series Land Cruisers is in order on a site like ours, so please read on...
First, to familiarize you with Land Cruiser history in general I highly recommend this site (requires Flash plug in):
Also, try this one:
And this one (from our friends at IH8MUD):
Early History - The “BJ”
It all started in early 1949 and into 1950. Toyota’s managing directors realized the utility of the early Land Rover models and of the ubiquitous American Jeep, of which there were many still in Japan after the occupation of WWII. They directed Toyota’s designers to take the best material attributes and basic utilitarian style of the two vehicles and design what would become the “BJ,” as dubbed by then Managing Director Hanji Umehara in 1951. In July of that year, test driver Ichiro Taira drove a prototype BJ model up the Fudo temple steps in Okasaki City inspired by his Samurai hero, Heikuro Magaki, who climbed the steps of Mt. Atago on horseback in 1634. Taira’s feat with the new BJ convinced potential commercial buyers and a skeptical public of the prowess of the new Toyota and the rest, as they say, is history…
Toyota "Honsha" Plant - 1958. Home of the Land Cruiser!
Later in August of 1951 Toyota unveiled their 1952 model line, of which the BJ was quite an unusual truck. Designated early on in design as a new vehicle for the then-fledgling Japanese Police and Self-defense Forces, the BJ mated a relatively large 6 cylinder engine (B-type petrol in cast steel, based on the GM Chevrolet 6 cylinder) designed for 3 and 4 ton trucks to a small utilitarian frame. The BX version was designed for civilian use, the BQ version was designed for the military. Ironically, the police and military didn’t adopt the new BJ! This twist of fate allowed Toyota’s designers to concentrate on overseas markets and sales, and the “Land Cruiser,” a name coined by Umehara in direct marketing competition with “Land Rover,” was unleashed on the world.
FJ 20 Series
In the mid-50s during Japan’s first post-war economic boom, Toyota decided that the time was appropriate to expand their Land Cruiser line-up with a variety of utility and civilian models expressing a wide variety of uses for the tough little BJ. Thus, in August of 1955 Toyota introduced the 20-series line for the domestic market (including Police and Military by this time) and overseas. In the next few years a total of 10 20-series models were introduced (20-29), with the FJ25 as the standard platform. 1958 saw the introduction of a van-type body and for the first time, a single FJ25 sold in the U.S. market. The overall theme for the 20-series showed much softer lines and softer suspension, reflecting design for the civilian markets. This basic design pattern was reflected throughout the next 25 years of 40 series design.
FJ 40 Series
Securing its market share with the success of the 20 series both in Japan and around the world, in 1960 Toyota decided on a manufacturing and body redesign, dubbing the new vehicle the “FJ40.” Expanding quickly with 3 basic wheelbase designs, the FJ40 (short), FJ43 (medium), and the FJ45 (long), including the FJ45V (van) and FJ45 in a utility bed (pick-up). The FJ45V was replaced with the FJ55V in 1968, and more importantly, the H-type 6 cylinder diesel engine debuted for foreign markets. 1968 marked another milestone for Toyota - over 100,000 BJ and FJ models had been sold worldwide, only a fraction of what was to be sold in the next 17 years before the 40’s retirement. The early 1970’s saw the further development of the FJ line. By 1972, 200,000 Land Cruisers had been sold, by 1973, 300,000. 1974 saw the first win for a stock Land Cruiser at the grueling Baja 1000 off-road race, its only modification being the use of propane instead of petrol as fuel! In 1975 Toyota introduced an enlarged 4.2L B-series engine and a new 4-speed transmission. By 1977 one-half million units had been sold and by the end of the decade in 1980, over 1 million Land Cruisers had been sold worldwide. To say that the Land Cruiser was a success was an understatement. It had become legend in the most far-flung and remote areas of the world, known for its ruggedness and ultra-dependability. Ceasing exports of the 40 series to the US in 1983, Toyota continued to manufacture the 40 series in 1984 (like our Troopy) for export and finally retired the line, replaced by the 60 series, which had been introduced in 1980 primarily as a replacement for the FJ55. Of note, Toyota licensed factories in Brazil and SE Asia continued manufacture of the 40 series (Brazil manufactured the LC40 “Bandierante” until 2001) and many examples of these models are still seen on the road today.
What Model is Troopy?
Our Troopy is an example of the 40 series medium and long wheelbase "wagon" evolution, from the earliest FJ28V, the FJ43/45V and finally to the FJ/HJ47 “Troop Carriers.” To its credit, Toyota continued the Troop Carrier concept to this day with the FJ75 series Troopies. Solid, dependable and classic, our HJ47 Troopy has a long and proud heritage, with many FJ/HJ 40 series long wheelbase ‘Cruisers still driving on the most challenging roads on the planet today. A very proud heritage indeed…
Some Historical Photos:
An early 20 Series in Egypt
An Evening Drive in the Desert
HJ45V Test Drive - Early 60's
Can I have this job???
Spec Sheet - 1964 FJ45V Station Wagon