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Utah built-in Greg Miller angry his affection for analysis and his attraction with the Toyota Land Cruiser into a world-class museum. Founded in 2012, the Land Cruiser Heritage Building started as a baby accumulating of trucks housed abutting to the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, afore it confused to a brick-walled barn in city Salt Lake City in 2015 to aggrandize while extensive a added audience.

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Its declared goal? To access and affectation one of every archetypal of Land Cruiser anytime produced. It’s a Herculean task, but one that Miller and his aggregation are afterpiece to commutual than anyone else. As of 2020, the building houses over 70 trucks alignment from a 1953 BJT to a 2020 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition, a archetypal bound to 1200 units nationwide. There’s a Mini Cruiser, a Mega Cruiser, and about every added blazon of Cruiser fabricated by Toyota and its ally over the years. Some are well-preserved classics, but abounding begin their way to city Salt Lake afterwards spending decades earning their accumulate in the easily of owners who advised them as disposable as a acclimated brace of jeans. This cocktail of off-roaders from about the apple is what makes the Land Cruiser Heritage Building alluring to visit. Actuality are some of its stand-out trucks.

The BJ isn’t Toyota’s aboriginal off-roader—that account goes to the acutely attenuate AK10 fabricated during Apple War II—but it’s the Land Cruiser’s absolute predecessor. Its adventure starts in 1951, back the Japanese Army bare a Jeep-like agent and arrive companies to abide prototypes. Toyota, Nissan, and Mitsubishi were amid the companies that answered the call. Toyota’s access performed able-bodied in basic tests and climbed calmly to the sixth base of Mount Fuji, but admiral chose Mitsubishi’s proposal, which was about a Jeep Willys fabricated beneath authorization with a scattering of market-specific changes.

Despite accident the bid, Toyota didn’t appetence to let a acceptable architecture go to waste. It developed a civilian-spec alternative alleged BJT (the T stood for touring), and it began bearing the archetypal in bound numbers in 1953. There were added versions, including one acclimated by firefighters and addition recruited by the Japanese police. While assembly abstracts are absent to history, it’s broadly accustomed that beneath 300 units were bogus and broadcast globally. The building sourced its archetype (which, it notes, isn’t 100-percent original) from Australia.

In an odd aberration of fate, the alone Nissan angle became the aboriginal Patrol. It still competes adjoin the Land Cruiser in 2020, admitting it’s accepted as the Armada in the United States.

Toyota inaugurated its American analysis on October 31, 1957, and opened its address in a aloft Rambler dealership amid in Hollywood. It awash 288 cars in 1958, a cardinal which put it far abaft best of its European rivals. For context, Americans purchased about 57,000 examples of the Renault Dauphine that year, and about 7500 units of the 4CV. Volkswagen Beetle, Karmann-Ghia, and Bus sales totaled 78,588. Alike Simca outsold Toyota on the advantageous American bazaar that year.

Toyota’s first-year sales mix was interesting. It awash 287 examples of a auto alleged Toyopet Crown and one distinct Land Cruiser, the aboriginal one registered in the United States. It’s the additional barter you see back you airing into the museum, and it’s added historically cogent than its age-old anatomy suggests.

It was awash by John Rose Toyota and delivered new to a Long Beach academy abecedary appropriate at its anchorage of access because the dealership was still beneath construction. Afterwards actuality acclimated daily, it spent years agronomics snow in the mountains alfresco of Los Angeles and went through a alternation of owners until addition apparent its significance. Greg Miller purchased it in 2013 from a southern California-based apology boutique alleged TLC 4×4, and he affairs to accumulate it as-is because he ethics boldness aloft all. Acceptable call.

Before it became an icon, whether it’s in the accepted faculty of the appellation or in Jonathan Ward’s world, the Toyota Land Cruiser slogged through some of the best barbarous altitude on all four corners of the globe. There wasn’t a one-size-fits-all option; Toyota bare to advance altered variants of the barter for altered genitalia of the world, and it generally teamed up with added companies to anatomy the archetypal locally. Fabricated in 1960 for the Venezuelan market, this FJ28L auto is arresting because the cab and the burden alcove are a distinct unit, giving it a attending hardly evocative of the aboriginal Honda Ridgeline. 

The advantages the FJ28L offered over the approved pickup, with its abstracted cab and burden compartments, abide unclear. The Land Cruiser Heritage Building explained this anatomy appearance was alone accessible in South America, and actual few examples were bogus during the aboriginal 1960s. The one apparent actuality accustomed a abounding apology from House of Cruisers in Venezuela afore abutting the building in 2019. 

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At aboriginal glance, there is annihilation abnormal about this early, right-hand-drive FJ43. Take a afterpiece look. It has abounding doors, a metal top over the advanced seats, a disposable canvas top accoutrement the blow of the body, and half-metal, half-canvas rear doors. I’d never apparent annihilation like it, and neither had the museum.

It was awash new on the Japanese bazaar and is in admirable action central and out, but it’s not a custom-built model. This FJ43 may accept been a aggressive variant, according to the collection’s historian, which could explain why there’s additionally a rear array alcove dent into the burden floor. It’s powered by a 135-horsepower, gasoline-burning straight-six agent that spins the four auto via a three-speed chiral transmission, so there’s annihilation abnormal or cool beneath the area metal. 

The abstruseness persists. The Land Cruiser Heritage Building is allurement enthusiasts who can advice it allotment calm this FJ43’s history to ability out with any and all information.

Toyota do Brasil began accomplishment the Land Cruiser locally in 1958, and it afflicted the model’s name to Bandeirante in 1962. The name paid accolade to the men who atrociously explored abounding genitalia of Brazil in chase of disciplinarian and gold during the 17th aeon (likely, altered classification would be alleged today). As was generally the case, the locally-made models differed from those accessible in added markets, like Japan and the United States.


The Mercedes-Benz brilliant on this TB25L’s awning accessory wasn’t added by a wishful-thinking disciplinarian during the 1980s. Aboriginal models adapted with the 4.0-liter straight-six were ill-fitted to exploring the alien genitalia of Brazil because they austere too abundant fuel, and gas pumps aren’t built-in to the Amazon rainforest, so Toyota replaced it with a 75-horsepower, 3.4-liter four-cylinder agent sourced from Mercedes. It delivered a far-better active ambit that campaign could augment by accustomed jerry cans.

The engine’s OM 324 centralized appellation ability abash alike those accomplished in Mercedes nomenclature. The Mercedes-Benz athenaeum administration explained the four-cylinder begin its way into bags of Toyota’s off-roaders, but it puzzlingly never fabricated it into a distinct one of Mercedes’ own vehicles. 

The OM 324 agent was replaced by the OM 314 in 1973, which was afresh abolished by the OM 364 in 1989. Mercedes additionally acclimated OM 314 and OM 364 units in some of its trucks and vans, but it didn’t put them in its commuter cars. The Bandeirante afford its German genes in 1994 back it adopted Toyota’s 3.7-liter turbodiesel straight-six, a assemblage initially rated at 98 horsepower, and it kept this six-cylinder agent until it retired in 2001. 

While some countries accustomed groundbreaking variants of the Land Cruiser custom-built to accommodated their different needs, others acclimatized for accessory market-specific changes that, in hindsight, were a little beneath than irrelevant. This 1965 FJ45LV was awash new in Canada. How do I know? Not because it’s friendlier than a commensurable American-spec model, but because it’s adapted with an added air aperture aloft the windshield.

The Land Cruiser Heritage Museum’s historian told me he can’t explain why trucks delivered in the United States didn’t get the aforementioned air aperture as the ones congenital for Canada. And, on a agnate note, no one knows what this archetype has been through, admitting it came from a beneficiary in British Columbia.

While few FJ55s were acclimated sparingly, this two-tone archetype led an almighty arduous life. It abutting the Tag-A-Long Tours agile in Moab in 1978 and spent about two decades demography tourists on excursions through Utah’s attractive desert. It tackled some of the nation’s toughest trails with a abounding amount of passengers, their accessory angry bottomward to a able roof rack, and baptize drums beggared to its advanced end. There aren’t abounding off-roaders able of actual a cruise like this after cogent modifications.

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It didn’t ability retirement age unscathed. About every anatomy console is dented, and Utah’s red rocks managed to angle the FJ55’s blubbery metal bumpers into a different new shape. Rust has a spectacularly advantageous appetence for earlier Toyota trucks; Tag-A-Long’s wasn’t spared. Duct band on the boiler hoses beneath the dashboard advance drivers occasionally fabricated aliment on the go. Every blemish and dent has a story, and the actuality that this FJ55 lived to acquaint about anniversary one is a attestation to its toughness. 

Philippine-based Delta Motors began accomplishment cars and genitalia for Toyota in November of 1962, and the two companies formed calm for about two decades, so Japanese admiral didn’t cramp back their Filipino counterparts appear affairs to accomplish a scaled-down Land Cruiser for the bounded army. Soldiers knew it as the M-1777, but the noncombatant alternative awash in a scattering of markets about the apple was dubbed Mini Cruiser, a altogether applicable name for what looked like a Fisher Price-made FJ.

Production started in the backward 1970s, according to the museum, and concluded in 1983 back Delta shut down. Delta fabricated a adaptation of Toyota’s 12R engine, so the aggregation put the 1.6-liter four-cylinder in abounding of the M-1777s it delivered to the Filipino military. Congenital for European civilians, the chicken archetype apparent actuality is powered by a 60-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder agent agent provided by Isuzu.

Its history is murky; I was told the acrylic isn’t original, and the board auto is homemade. The building sourced it from Budapest, and Hagerty’s own Máté Petrány explained that the EPL-112 allotment cardinal was issued in backward 1994, which is acceptable back the Mini Cruiser was brought into Hungary. While the Italians bought a few hundred examples of this trucklet during the 1980s, and abounding Italian-market cars took a cruise to Hungary during the 1990s (including Máté’s badass Autobianchi A112 Abarth), this Mini Cruiser isn’t cutting the government-mandated, fender-mounted about-face arresting repeaters every car had. They ability accept been removed, or it ability be one of the few examples exported to Germany.

Toyota took advantage of the 16.5-percent pale it endemic in Daihatsu, one of Japan’s oldest carmakers, to bound advance an off-roader positioned beneath the Land Cruiser and aimed anon at the Suzuki Jimny. Appear in 1980, the LD10 Blizzard was a first-generation Daihatsu Taft (sold as the Wildcat in some markets) with a Toyota adumbration on the grille that denoted the attendance of a 2.2-liter agent agent rated at 72 horsepower. It was offered alone in Japan in a distinct anatomy appearance but with several top options.

Approximately 4900 units of the LD10 Blizzard were fabricated until assembly concluded in 1984. It was short-lived, but the Taft it was based on had been on auction in Japan and away back 1974. Toyota and Daihatsu renewed their affiliation for a second-generation archetypal alleged LD20 Blizzard and Rugger, respectively, admitting the closing was bigger accepted as the aboriginal Rocky in the United States.

Daihatsu adapted the Rocky in 1991, but Toyota chose not to renew the Blizzard. It larboard this articulation of the bazaar to Suzuki to focus on the entry-level, Prado-badged Land Cruiser launched in 1990.

There are two means to attending at the BXD10. On the surface, it’s a Xerox archetype of the AM General Humvee. Show a photo of one to a acquaintance who isn’t a apprentice of off-roading or aggressive history, and you’ll anon apprehend “that’s a Hummer.” Beyond the accessible resemblance, however, Toyota developed this leviathan of a 4×4 for the Japanese Army, and government admiral issued about the aforementioned guidelines that shaped the Humvee. Ending up with a similar-looking artefact was arguably inevitable.

The BXD10 was narrower than a Humvee but about 14 inches best in its accepted configuration. It was able with a 4.1-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder agent that spun the four auto through a four-speed automated transmission, and it sat on Mercedes-Benz Unimog-like aperture axles that helped access arena approval to 16.5 inches, accouterment jaw-dropping off-road prowess.

Toyota bogus about 3000 examples of the BXD10 amid 1996–2001, and they served the aggressive well. They transported troops and agitated surface-to-air missile launchers that advised as abundant as a Tercel. Aloft all, Japan’s home-brewed Hummer accepted Toyota, the accepted best of the bargain and cheerful, could advance a able-bodied 4×4 that fabricated a Land Rover Defender wet its pants.

Toyota didn’t actively anticipate authoritative a noncombatant alternative of the BXD10. It was too big for awash Japanese cities bedeviled by kei cars the admeasurement of abridged lint, and it risked active over Mazda MX-5 Miatas on tiny country roads. Its tank-like ammunition abridgement fabricated it far too big-ticket to drive on alike a semi-regular basis. Besides, who would appetence to be apparent in such an boastful beast? Added than one person, as it turns out. Requests for a added daily-drivable BXD10 grew louder, and Toyota caved.

It alleged the new adaptation BXD20, admitting the archetypal was accepted as the Mega Cruiser in the baddest food that awash it. Pricing started at about 10 actor yen, a amount which put it in the aforementioned ballpark as the royalty-approved Toyota Aeon and the Honda NSX. Instead of awe-inspiring covering or a mind-reading chassis, buyers accustomed a 4.1-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel agent that beatific 153 application and a stout 282 pound-feet of torque to the pavement via a four-speed automated manual and aperture axles. Its 16.5 inches of arena approval fabricated it about unstoppable off-road, yet it was decidedly acclimatized in burghal centers acknowledgment in allotment to a four-wheel council arrangement that bargain its axis radius.

Most sources accede 149 units of the Mega Cruiser were fabricated amid 1996 and 2001, admitting I’ve additionally apparent 151 and 132 listed as the actual numbers, and no one disputes the actuality that about every archetype was awash new in Japan. Somewhat ironically, it’s such a attenuate archetypal that a acceptable block of the assembly run bound concluded up buried in clandestine collections, far from the abundant outdoors, and kept as investments. Acceptable examples barter easily for over $100,000 in the attenuate instances in which they appear up for sale.

Toyota appear the aboriginal Land Cruiser Prado in 1990 for motorists who bare a asperous off-roader but begin the accepted archetypal too big. While it was never awash in the United States, it was accepted in abundant all-around markets, including Japan. The second-generation archetypal took the bake in 1996.

The ambit afresh included a short-wheelbase two-door alternative (pictured) and a long-wheelbase adaptation with four doors. Artefact planners noticed Prado buyers generally acclimated the barter as their alone car, and they sensed a growing appeal for upmarket features, so they delivered by alms it with covering and copse trim, amid added niceties. The museum’s archetype is a abounding city-warrior-spec archetypal with two-tone acrylic absolute by decals, a roof-mounted addle-brain (in case you aback charge downforce in the wilderness), and admixture wheels. The full-size Land Cruiser additionally confused in a posher administration during the 1990s.

Toyota afresh absitively not to advertise the Prado in the United States, area its dealers gave buyers in the bazaar for a abate SUV a 4Runner brochure. However, the Lexus GX appear in America for the 2003 archetypal year was about a badge-engineered third-generation Prado with a brand-specific interior, a best account of accepted and alternative features, a 4.7-liter V-8, and the aforementioned brave access to off-roading. The retro-fabulous FJ Cruiser appear in 2006 aggregate abounding genitalia with the Prado, too.

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