What air-cooled 911s are to the collectable coupe genre, Land Cruisers are to off-road enthusiasts. With a reputation forged over decades, in every possibly terrain type, the Land Cruiser has never pretended. Or been embarrassingly marketed as a lifestyle vehicle.
They truly last forever but the initial FJ40-Series Land Cruisers were never built in huge volumes, and as such, the market for them is critically undersupply. You know the simple economic arithmetic: high demand, low supply – huge price.
If you want to own a short-wheel base FJ43, which is on a parallel level of coolness with W123s and early 911s, some crafty Americans can make it happen. The work of FJ Company, based out of Miami, this impeccable restomod is worth about R3m – which, if you consider the price of a Singer 911, is not completely outrageous.
Restored to classic dune beige, it’s all the exposed steel styling you love, with those some modern convenience items you could not imagine foregoing. Technically, the six-cylinder engine configuration and solid axles remain, but power sourced from a Toyota 4-litre V6 and Fox factory dampers balance out the forces when traveling over rough terrain, with the help of an Old Man Emu suspension kit.
Other modern upgrades are larger side mirrors, LEDs (yes) and perhaps most importantly, disc brakes all four wheels. The cabin is beautifully executed period 40-Series Land Cruiser, with a tiny instrument binnacle, huge first- and secondary transmission levers and exposed bodywork everywhere. There have been concessions to comfort, though, with a set of semi-bucket seats from Recaro and between the two of them, an iPod docking station.
FJ Company’s ’43 signature series car looks fantastic and best of all, they’ve been subtle with the modernisation, improving powertrain, suspension and brakes, without ruining the iconic presence of Toyota’s most adored off-roader.
If the heart has always yearned for an FJ shorty, but you can’t deal with carburettors and abysmal ride quality, well, the good people at FJ Company are planning a production run of 24 units. Best get your R3m financing in order. Then again, consider it is a Land Cruiser, there’s no question of it outlasting you.