Toyota has been building the Land Cruiser since the 1950s, and it has changed quite a bit over the decades. There are many different generations of the SUV, from the original FJ40, which was first imported into the United States in the mid-1960s, to the latest version of the 200 Series, a model that’s still available at your local Toyota dealer.
With so many different versions to choose from, there’s quite a bit to consider before you purchase a secondhand Land Cruiser.
Although every Land Cruiser features four-wheel drive with a low range transfer case, and they all have a well earned reputation for being among the toughest and most off-road capable SUVs ever made, each generation of Land Cruiser is very different than the other. Each has its own appeal and its own trouble spots buyers should be aware of.
To help you navigate this rocky terrain, we’ve created this Toyota Land Cruiser buyers guide for three of the most popular and affordable versions of the iconic SUV. We’ll cover the pros and cons of each as well as their current values.
Early Land Cruisers
Sales of the very first Land Cruiser, the FJ40, lasted into the 1980s, and today they remain very popular with collectors. Unfortunately, this has made them prohibitively expensive for many buyers. Plus, their bare bones design and limited interior space isn’t for everybody.
The FJ40’s design was fashioned after the original WWII Jeeps and Land Rovers — in fact, the “J” stands for Jeep while the “F” denotes the engine series. Models sold overseas powered by Toyota’s B series diesel engine were designated BJ40.
FJ40s are quite small, with a short 90-inch wheelbase, and many have folding soft tops, which keep some — but not all — of the weather out. They also all have manual transmissions, and creature comforts like power windows weren’t available, although you could get air conditioning.
In 1963, alongside the FJ40, Toyota introduced a long-wheelbase variant, the FJ45, which came in short- and long-bed pickup configurations — as well as, for the first time, a four-door, fixed-roof wagon. Four years later, that evolved into the long-lived FJ55, a slightly longer wagon (106.3-inch wheelbase), which was produced until 1980.