History of the Toyota FJ Series

From the Atacama Desert to the Rocky Mountains, from the dunes of Dubai to the open plains of Australia, the Toyota FJ Land Cruiser stands alone as the most reliable, long-lasting, and nearly unbreakable vehicle that gets you anywhere you need to be (Toyota FJ Series).

The BJ25 was Japan’s answer to the American Jeep and the British Land Rover. There’s really no sugarcoating it: Toyota reverse-engineered the Jeep and perfected it within a decade. By the time the US started placing orders for the FJ to assist in the Korean War, the FJ had grown into the sturdy 4×4 we know and still love today. From 1955 through 1984, the FJ improved piece by piece, but still managed to maintain its now-iconic look and feel.

The Toyota FJ25 came around in the early 1950s, establishing Toyota as a global brand. It revolutionized the compact 4×4 market with its strong engine but relatively small chassis, a perfect combination for tackling the rough and tumble.

Appropriately, the FJ Land Cruiser formed the backbone of the Toyota brand and became the emissary of Japanese engineering and much of the world’s first experience with Toyota. The FJ was decidedly a military vehicle at first–like the Jeep and Land Rover–but quickly spread worldwide as a fantastic method of transporting people or cargo in places that didn’t have well-maintained roads (or any at all!) for uses as varied as farming to ambulances to deserts to rock climbing. After making it up to the 6th station of Mt. Fuji on a showcase run in 1951, the FJ captured the attention of not only groups like the Japanese Forest Service but also makers of Jeep. Successive FJ models morphed from the brusque military style to a more comfortable and functional ride with improvements like more room in the interior as well as softer springs.

How did the FJ get its name?

We get this question a lot! The “J” definitely stands for “Jeep” and the “F” indicates the engine type. This is why the early FJs were actually known as BJs–they had a Type B engine, not an F.

Made of sterner stuff

Toyota’s FJ series is positively famous for not breaking down–which is why you can still find authentic antique FJs all over the world in working condition (at the very least, you can find suitable samples for restoration). Since it’s used for so many purposes, it seems almost fitting that there are nearly countless configurations in the FJ Series from wheelbase height to the type of covering for the roof and more.

The Japanese approach to engineering critically rests on the relentless pursuit of perfection. It’s not good enough to have the mentality of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”; they would prefer that it never break at all. Why replace something when you can build it right the first time? Given that, it’s no surprise that the quality and durability of the FJ’s transmission and suspension is legendary. The leaf spring suspension is particularly worth mentioning: it’s absolutely suited for a heavy vehicle like the FJ, spreading the weight around more evenly, plus it actually alleviates the need for additional weight from extra parts that you would need with coil suspension.

The electrical system tends to survive just about anything you throw at it. It’s truly unmatched in terms of reliability and superiority for cars of this era–especially when you consider the beating many FJs have endured over their lifetimes in conditions most vehicles can barely handle for a day of driving.

Land Cruiser Engine Configurations

There are two basic engines for the FJ series: the type F engine and the type 2F engine. There are numerous diesel configurations starting from 3.0L–4.0L. Diesel engines are available and usually come from regions where the predominant fuel is diesel.

Type F

Used from 1955-1974, the Type F engine made the FJ famous: not the most efficient but virtually impossible to break! It was (and is) commonly known to run 500,000–600,000 miles without a problem. It was constructed as a 3.9 liter naturally aspirated, in-line six cylinder engine. The F series of engines were deliberately engineered to be similar to GMC L6 OHV 235 engines but improved upon its inspiration to suit the FJ’s needs.

Type 2F

Running from 1975–1988, The 2F improved on the F, increasing engine size to 4.2L. This engine is a little bit more efficient and powerful than the F engine, but it still has the same feel that FJ drivers love.

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