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1973 TOYOTA LANDCRUISER FJ40

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Seller

chriscringle

1973 TOYOTA LANDCRUISER FJ40

  • Location: Bournemouth
  • Odometer Reading: 61561
  • Engine: 4200
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Color: Green
  • Interior: Black MB tex

Background

The third-generation, 40-series Land Cruiser was launched in 1960 and remained in production for an astonishing 51 years. Resolutely utilitarian in nature, even the official Toyota UK website says that: “The simple pressed-steel body panels were essentially there to stop the outside coming in”, which is wonderfully refreshing in a time when the same company touts the modern Land Cruiser with sales speal such as “the bonnet is shaped to enhance downward visibility at the centre”.

Originally offered only with the F-series petrol engines, a diesel engine joined the range in 1972. However, in line with its role as a working tool rather than an excuse for marketeers to have a long liquid lunch, the 40-series had a choice of three final drive ratios, depending on the intended use: ‘full’, ‘economy’ or ‘moderate’ being available, along with a low-ratio transfer gearbox that gave a total of six forward gears.

Four different wheelbases were also on offer, along with a variety of different body styles. First officially sold in the UK in 1975, Toyota had shifted a total of a million worldwide by 1980.

Like the automotive equivalent of a Great Train Robber, the Land Cruiser died in Brazil in late 2001.

The Vehicle

We are delighted to be able to offer you this classic ex-military Toyota FJ40. Built in January 1973 and imported by the vendor only recently, it has spent the majority of its life in a private collection of vintage 4×4’s and military vehicles in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Fitted from new with right-hand drive, it retains its original 4.2-litre straight-six petrol engine and has the rare, and much sought-after, options of both power steering and air-conditioning. Completely free of rust too, which stands it in stark contrast to the usual stuff you see clogging up the small ads.

Recently serviced and fitted with freshly reupholstered seats and floor covering, it is fighting fit and ready – literally - to conquer the world. Much more civilised and, dare we say, reliable than the equivalent Land Rover, it is being sold with no reserve, so will sell from the very first bid, no matter how derisory that might be.

So, why not pop in a cheeky bid and see what happens? After all, the very worst outcome is you end up owning a very nice example of an iconic vehicle.

On the Outside

As Toyota itself admits, the bodywork on this series of Land Cruiser is rudimentary, to say the least. But, what there is is wonderfully preserved thanks to a gentle life led in a tropical climate where there is no need to fling salt around the place at the merest hint of cold weather. It’s a great colour too, and the panels all line up very nicely. They’re largely straight too, and free of major dents, scrapes and damage.

It’s also fitted with the rare canvas top, a feature that the owner believes may well be the original considering the straps are made of leather rather than synthetic materials. The canvas top can be taken off completely or the three-part rear can be zipped open and rolled up, which is a nice touch for those summer drives.

It looks to be in good shape too, although we imagine its weather resistance in the winter is more notional than actual. Still, the FJ was born in a time when men were men and so were the women, so perhaps you just need to clench your pipe between your teeth a bit more firmly and just get on with it, eh?

Not one for the traditionalist, this delightfully retro Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser is beautifully finished with a high-level air intake, two spotlights on the A-pillars, black wheelarch extensions on the rear, and the sort of front bumper that wouldn’t look out of place on the Forth Bridge.

Black steel wheels are only fitted to support the matching Komodo MT mud terrain tyres, all of which have their tread measured in inches rather than millimeters.

As we will never tyre of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but do give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

Problems? Look, with a vehicle like this you aren’t going to worry about the odd stonechip, scratch or scuff as the paint is there to stop rust rather than to look pretty. What you need to worry about is rot, so you’ll be pleased to hear that the vendor reports this one is rock-solid underneath and well-assembled up top. The paint it does sport is actually pretty good for a utility vehicle – it’s certainly way better than the sort of hand-painted Land Rovers we more usually lust after.

Real problems are pretty much limited to the need for a new rear window, as the plastic one has split and cracked.

We can also see that the FJ’s new owner might want to buy a matching mud tyre for the rear-mounted space wheel. Not because there’s necessarily anything wrong with the one that’s already there but simple because a matching one would look cool.

Don’t judge us, okay?

On the Inside

Unusual in having a non-original, front-facing rear seat fitted, the Land Cruiser can seat four/five people at a pinch. Freshly re-upholstered in black MB Tex vinyl material only six months-or-so ago, the seats look magnificent - and while they don’t offer much in the way of lateral support, that’s not really going to be an issue in a nigh-on 50-year-old Land Cruiser now is it?

It’s got a new floor covering too, and is even fitted with air-conditioning, which the vendor assures us blows nice and cold. You weren’t expecting that, were you?

The rest is, er, as basic as you probably did expect. So, that means we don’t need to worry about the condition of the door cards, carpets, headlining, electric windows or central locking because it doesn’t have them. What it does have is the sort of ultra-utilitarian interior that’ll last forever and can be cleaned easily with nothing more high-tech than a deftly directed garden hose.

The hood sticks look more like a rally-quality rollover cage, and the hood itself can be removed, or rolled up to allow a throughflow of air. It’s a bit grubby inside, but you could shampoo it easily enough. Or leave it. Because no-one will care.

Work to do is limited to fettling a few bits of the trim where their patina has moved into shabby chic. Stuff like the dashboard-mounted cubbyhole, instrument panel, and grab handle, all of which could do with polishing to remove the surface rust they’re starting to develop.

Underneath

Recently given a full service with fitted with a new carburettor, HT leads and a battery, as you can see from the video, it starts on the button and ticks over beautifully. And what a change it makes to hear a four-wheel-drive with a lusty petrol engine, eh? Magnificent in its smoothness and throaty roar, this is how life behind the wheel of an iconic 4x4 should sound.

The vendor tells us that it drives well too, starting and stopping as it should, and pulling powerfully. He also mentioned that the transfer gearbox works, something the mud-pluggers and rock-crawlers among you will appreciate.

The engine bay itself is clean and tidy, and very neatly soundproofed. It even still has the original siren in the engine bay and holes in the wing where the external siren fits (sadly not present).

The dampers look to be recent, as does the exhaust, and the new starter motor has been produced in conjunction with Powerlite. Well-known to classic car enthusiasts for its range of upgraded and updated starter motors and alternators, the firm used this example to engineer a replacement starter motor for the FJ range. As you can see and hear in the video, it spins the engine over much faster than the standard unit ever did, making it a worthwhile upgrade that the winning bidder will get for free – and before anyone else; how’s that for bragging rights?

The floor and ladder-frame chassis are both, and you’d expect given a life spent in a salt-free climate, utterly solid and looking fabulous. Nicely detailed too, with none of the great gobs of underseal the unscrupulous put there to fool the unwary. Industrial engineering at its finest, please take the time to watch the whole video to see for yourself just how good it is under there.

History Highlights

The Toyota doesn’t have a current MOT certificate, and while it is exempt by virtue of its age, we would strongly encourage the new owner to have the car re-MOT’d at the earliest. The cost of an MOT is a small investment when offset against the purchase and upkeep of any classic car, and it gives an independent, third-party assessment of the car’s condition, which not only provides reassurance to the owner (and any subsequent purchasers) but might also be invaluable in the event of a bump when negotiating with the police and any interested insurance companies…

Nor does it come with much paperwork; the military’s maintenance of its vehicles is usually peerless, but there is rarely much in the way of paperwork to verify this. The vehicle was also in storage for around five years before the vendor bought it, which was another opportunity for the paper trail to go cold. With this in mind, potential bidders should base their bids on the vehicle’s current condition rather than relying on an extensive maintenance record.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

NB. We know that many of you will be limiting your social exposure over the coming days and weeks, so if you’d rather not come go to see the Land Cruiser in person, please give the vendor a call and ask him if he can shoot a personal video of the car honing in on any areas you’d like him to concentrate on. He’s a lovely fella, and we’re sure he’ll do everything he can to reassure you as to its condition.

What We Think

This is not a concours, factory specification FJ40 but then nor is it a wreck, which is good news for the Toyota enthusiast on a budget because it means that the hammer price will probably start with a one rather than a three.

And, because it’s fundamentally solid and in fine overall condition, there is plenty of headroom to add value over the coming months and years as the new owner starts work on the few jobs that still need doing; the great unwashed are finally starting to appreciate early Toyota Land Cruisers, and good ones are starting to make their mark on the scene – and this can only continue to grow as people realize how easy they are to work on, how accessible parts still are, and how much fun they are to own and drive.

As an ex-military example, we are fairly confident that its early years would have been marked by regular servicing and maintenance; when your life depends on your vehicle’s reliability, skimping is not an option. It then moved into a private collection before going into storage under probate and finally ending up in the hands of an enthusiast here in the UK.

So, we think it’s probably a good ‘un, largely because we haven’t seen anything that leads us to believe otherwise. The owner is known to us, and he’s a lovely chap and one we’ve found to be scrupulously honest.

And realistic, which is why he’s happy to offer this on a ‘no reserve’ basis, so it’ll sell from the very first bid. Where will the hammer fall? Well, we think that’ll be somewhere between £10,000 and £15,000, which is peanuts for such a well-preserved and beautifully engineered vehicle.

This particular car is located with the vendor in Bournemouth; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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