Maxim Vintage Car Shopper: 1970 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ55

Of course the ultimate beach-mobile is colored like a Creamsicle. 
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Of course the ultimate beach-mobile is colored like a Creamsicle. 

The Year: 1970

The Model: Land Cruiser FJ55

The Drivetrain: A rorty 3.9-liter inline six routed to all-wheels through a three-speed manual transmission.

Favorite Five Points:

1. To our knowledge, the only two-tone cars you can buy today are custom jobs from Rolls-Royce, Bentley, or Land Rover. This unbelievable cream-and-orange scheme is reason enough to bring the look back to the mainstream.

2. The roof rack: as if the huge cargo space weren’t enough, the rack up top means you can bring as many bikes, boards and beach umbrellas as you’d ever need.

3. The winch: a winch makes it incredibly hard to get a car truly stuck (winch your way to freedom!) and incredibly easy to help any other stranded motorists.

4. The twin round headlights: this rough-and-tumble truck has a smiley face to match its sunny paintwork.

5. The capability: we’ve never driven a Land Cruiser of this vintage, but they’re as handy, if not more, than contemporary Land Cruisers, and the big straight-six and manual mean more than enough grunt.

Quirks:

-       The original F-series engine can require hard-to-find replacement parts.

-        Rust, especially in the wheel wells, is an issue in early Land Cruisers, though this example seems to have escaped intact.

-       As expected from a 45 year-old truck, mileage is poor.

-       The listing doesn’t include pictures of the interior or underbody.

Good Buy?

            Yes, quite yes. The FJ55 has escaped some of the pricing craze of the FJ40, and we love its station wagon size and usability. The apparent near-perfect condition of this truck, the stellar colors, and the everyday reliability and go-anywhere capability of the FJ55 make this the perfect summer cruiser or beach-truck. We’d snatch it up and plop a surfboard on the roof, pronto. Find it on Hemmings, for just under $32,000.

Photos by Hemmings