MotorTrend Presents: The Land Cruiser Rally

MotorTrend Presents: The Land Cruiser Rally

(dramatic music) – Born as a military vehicle in Japan in the 1950s, the Toyota Land Cruiser has become an international sensation. With a rabid fan base,
a legacy of dominance in off-road racing, and a
reputation unlike any other SUV. Today, we’re bringing that history to life on a custom course in
Utah’s rugged terrain. This is MotorTrend Presents
the Land Cruiser Rally. Welcome to the Land Cruiser Rally. I’m Townsend Bell, and we’re here at the Land Cruiser Heritage
Museum in Salt Lake City. Now this is the home to
the most diverse collection of Land Cruisers in the world, and it includes really
specialized examples like a pickup truck, a
tow truck, a fire truck, even a TV production truck
version of the Land Cruiser. Now we’re bringing decades
of adventurous spirit back to life with five amazing
examples from this collection along with an all new 2020 Land Cruiser. We’re gonna be heading out into the rugged terrain
of Utah’s West Desert. And I’ll be joined by a few guest drivers, including Scott Evans,
journalists from MotorTrend, and Greg Miller, the founder of this amazing heritage museum. (upbeat rock music) So the 4×4 Toyota craze
started in the late ’50s with the 20 series and
specifically, the FJ25 model. In fact, this example
is the very first FJ25 ever sold in America. Now we’re very lucky to have Greg Miller, who’s the founder of this amazing heritage collection of Land Cruisers. I got to ask the obvious question, where did this fascination
start in the first place? – I think it started with
my dad working for Toyota. His career began with Toyota back in 1968 and I got bored while he was working and wandered out on the back lot, and stumbled into my first FJ40. Of course, I didn’t know
it was an FJ40 at the time, but I thought, “That looks
like a cool vehicle.” – So from that early
fascination you then went on, as I understand it, to
drive a Land Cruiser on all seven continents. Give me your top three highlights
from that amazing journey. – [Greg] Driving across
the Australian Outback. Driving across the M56 highway in Russia, in Siberia was amazing. It was dangerous ’cause there’s
so many crazy drivers there. I would say Antarctica
was also a highlight. – So this of course is the 20
series where it all started. We want to get into the 40 series now. I know you’ve got a bunch of examples here that are amazing and pristine, but I’d like to see this
thing in its natural habitat. What do you say we get out
and do a little off-roading? – Let’s do it. (upbeat rock music) – This is the 40 series,
and this vehicle is what really introduced the Land
Cruiser to the American market. It had a 23 year production
run from 1960 to 1983 and it just has all of
that raw visceral appeal that you would expect
from a 4×4 from that era. I just love some of the
throwback elements here. The skinny steering
wheel, you kinda hold it like the Bob Barker microphone. You can just kinda walk this thing around. This particular FJ40 happens to be a 1977. And I love all of the analog controls, it even has a choke, no
fuel injection in this baby, you’ve got to work the choke a little bit on a cold morning to get it started. All the push/pull controls on the dash for fresh air, warm heat, headlights. 4.2 liter inline 6, about 135 horsepower, 210 foot-pounds of torque. And this motor is just
so happy at low revs, just kind of lugging its
way over the terrain. It actually rides through the bumps and the ravines really nice. Springs on the seat seem just perfect for what you need to take it in stride. (rock music) So here we are. This is the turnoff
into Rattlesnake Canyon. Oh man, I’m smiling already,
this is gonna be fun. But first, we’ve got to pull over and go with a little bit of a manual intervention to lock those hubs, because no auto locking
hubs back in the day here. So in order to fully
engage four-wheel drive, we’ve got to do it with the transmission, but we’ve also got a lock those both right and left front hubs. So I’m going to stop right here and get out and lock those babies up. All right, hubs are locked. Let’s get that choke speed
going, four, low, low. So there’s a little bit of a riverbed, little washout here
that’s awfully tempting. You know, it’s one thing
about this vehicle, you just see stuff that looks gnarly and your natural instinct
is, “Let’s send it.” And this thing’s happy as
can be right down in here, just wide enough to fit the FJ. Big rock here. No, I’m not gonna back out, I’m going. We made it. A little bit of rev, a little
bit of fight and muscle, and we made it through. FJ40 got to love it. (rock music) Scott Evans. – Townsend, how are you? – Good to finally meet you. – [Scott] You too. – Read your stuff for years, so it’s good to meet you in the flesh. I know you normally cover new cars, but man, today is all about the throwback. You must be loving some
of this older stuff. – Oh, this is great, right? I don’t get to play with these
kinds of things very often. (rock music) – So this is the FJ55,
it followed the FJ40. But when I look at this thing,
it instantly says passengers and a little more comfort, right? It’s a little longer, it’s got four doors. Is this an SUV? – You know, back when they made this, they would have called it a wagon, because no one had
invented the term SUV yet. – It certainly has a different look, but mechanically, just
as we start going here, I mean it’s FJ40 underneath,
through and through. Mechanically it feels
like the same vehicle. – They basically just stretched it out. We got the same engine under here, the same four speed
transmission, same axles. It’s all the same
capability and equipment, just in a bigger package. – This bench seat’s kind of funny ’cause I’m six feet, you
might be a little shorter, and it’s one size, right? It’s what the driver wants is what the passenger’s gonna get. It’s one bench seat that
just sort of slides, right? – Right, whoever’s got the
short legs and is driving, gets to decide so they can use the clutch. Look, I know you’re supposed to love the Land Cruiser
40 series the best ’cause it’s the original, it’s the icon, and it is super cool but I just can’t help but love the 55 here, the Iron Pig. It didn’t get that name
because it’s beautiful, but I kind of love it
’cause it is different. Everything from the two tone
paint to this funky nose, but it’s also very conventional, right? It’s kinda the first SUV. – [Townsend] We’ve got the hubs locked, manual lockers just like the FJ40. We’re in low gear it sounds like and just about to get
real steep here real fast. At first glance you think, “No way.” But it just begs you to go for it. – Yeah, it’s not even trying. Those wheels aren’t slipping. I’m barely on the gas. We’re just rolling right up this thing. This thing’s got a good
approach and departure angles. – Think we can get up there? – I bet we could. (rock music) Probably a good thing the guys from the museum can’t see us right now ’cause I think they might
have other ideas about this. – The FJ55 says, “Hell yeah, bring it on.” – [Scott] We’re going right up this hill. – Wow, that was impressive. You know what I think
is remarkable is, 1977, how many miles are on this thing? 182,000 miles. There is really not a rattle
or a shake or a shimmy. This thing is solid. The build quality is remarkable. – Yeah, and this thing’s been
sitting in a museum for years. They just pulled it out and got it running and brought it out here. There was no special preparations
or anything like that. – So Scott, this was pretty cool, but we’ve got a lot more to
explore today with Land Cruiser. Let’s move onto the next
phase, the next era. That’s going to be the 60, right? – The 60, yeah. I don’t wanna stop driving this guy, but so much more to see and do and check out what the 60 is capable of. – We’ve got about 50 years
to cover, so let’s get going. (rock music) All right, Scott, we just
got out of the 55 series. You still had to get out
here on the 60 series and lock the hubs but other than that, it looks a whole lot
different, doesn’t it? – It looks whole lot different, and it’s true not much has
changed underneath the skin, but you look around this thing and you see that it’s become
a lot more comfortable. – You see the upholstery. I really feel like this is the start of the injection molding revolution, just in terms of the dash. Beneath the skin, this is
really not much different than the FJ40, right? – Just about the same underneath. Same inline six gas engine,
making the same power. Same four-speed transmission
and low range gearbox, leaf springs, it really
hasn’t changed much. – I got to tell you, Scott
Evans, no stranger to challenges. You’re taking this thing head on. – Well, that’s the great thing about these old things is they’re
just made out of iron. It’s a big old tough frame and
solid axle and leaf springs, so they’re really tough to hurt them. – You definitely get the feeling that my body’s gonna give
up before this body is. I mean these things are built super tough, this is exactly the terrain
I imagine the engineers envisioned when they set out
to design this 60 series. – [Scott] It’s still
basically a military vehicle underneath that they put
some nicer seats into. – Speaking of creature comfort, this really was the nose
up started the trajectory, if you will, on very
small early luxury touches like power windows, power
steering, power locks. Those were all introduced
here on the 60 series. – Right, we take those for granted today, but those were really fancy items for a Land Cruiser back in these days. – Well, I like the way this
luxurious trend is going. I’m gonna jump in the 80 series and just see how far things
went in that direction. (rock music) This is the 80 series and I
wanted to drive this bad boy because it’s got serious
rally racing credentials, winning the Dakar Rally, that insane race across the desert, multiple times. This is a little bit bigger, of course, than the FJ40 and the 60 series. And it’s really the first
one where Toyota realized that the American customer
would want something where you could take the family. And what better way to take the family than across this section we
like to call the Python here, as we go through these crazy steep berms. And what’s neat is, it really needs speed, kinda like the banks at Daytona, to make this thing hang on
at 30, 35 degrees of banking. Here we go down hill, let’s
crank in some steering. And I love how precise the steering is, it really responds well to every input. This suspension seems perfectly tuned to the weight of this vehicle. And speaking of suspension, this was the first Land
Cruiser that had coil springs, every previous Land Cruiser of
course with the leaf springs. And it was the last Land
Cruiser with a solid front axle, which still makes it very
popular among off-roaders. Full time four-wheel
drive with an electronic locking center differential as well. (ethereal music) You’ve got to look for
the little touches here and you talk about electronic innovation, I love the power antenna. Such a cool throwback for me. Power up to catch KISS FM in
LA, power down to streamline and help your high speed aerodynamics. (rock music) So with this 80 series,
there was a real debate among the hardcore enthusiasts that the Land Cruiser lost its soul. But I got to tell you,
that the more refined and the more innovation that’s
introduced on this model, it actually just begs me to go faster and faster through this Python. So how can you argue against
the off-road credentials when it just improves
the vehicles performance over these crazy sections right here, where you really have
to carry speed to hold? And it just takes it, it takes a pounding. I have no doubt in telling you that the 80 series is
every bit a Land Cruiser as the earlier models were. In fact, this might
just be be my favorite. (upbeat music) So Greg, it’s good to
get you out of the museum and into the natural habitat where these Land Cruisers are happiest. And I got to tell you,
I’ve got a lot of friends with a lot of fancy cars, but nobody I know lets us
take the prize possessions out into this harsh
environment like you do. We’re here in the 100 series now and this is really
unapologetically a full commitment to luxury and off-road all in one package. – Yeah, that’s true. With the 100 series, it
was a big step up in luxury from the 80 series, which
of course, was a big step up in luxury from the 60 series. The thing that was so cool for me about the 100 series
is it’s the first time we got a V8 in the Land Cruiser. It came with a 4.7 fuel
injected gas motor. (rocks rattling) – [Townsend] What about the
independent front suspension? ‘Cause that was introduced as well. Do you feel a difference
on a road like this? – Yeah, it’s a great ride
even by today’s standards. – [Townsend] Were you resistant at all to the full introduction of luxury in something like say, the 100 series? – If I’m being truthful with you, I was actually pretty happy
about the advancement, not only in performance but also luxury. Because that advancement
paralleled my aging process, and the older I got, the
more welcome I’ve found these leather seats and
the seat heaters to be. And it’ll be neat to see where that goes with future models of the Land Cruiser. – It’s like a lot of my motocross friends, they like to say that
with age comes a cage, they end up racing off-road
trucks and things like that. While this 100 series really
emphasizes the full move to luxury with off-road
with the Land Cruiser, there is a vehicle that has been produced over the last of decades
that still holds true to pure utilitarian
military type experience and that’s the Mega Cruiser. You’ve got one in the museum, we’ve got one out here to try out. What do you say we go for
a little rip in that thing? – That’d be awesome. We don’t get to drive them very often, so this will be a lot of fun. (rock music) – Well Greg, I can feel it right away. The Mega Cruiser, that
four-wheel steering is kicking in as we’re winding through these trees. It doesn’t get more unique than this in the Land Cruiser world. – It does not. These Mega Cruisers are so rare, between 1200 and 3000 Mega
Cruisers in the military version. In the civilian version,
they were even more rare, there were 149 civilian
Mega Cruisers built. (rock music) – Like a Humvee, four-wheel
independent suspension. It’s super wide. But that four-wheel
steering, I’m just blown away at how we can navigate
through these tight turns. – Yeah, especially in a vehicle this big, it’d be almost impossible
to drive this thing in a meaningful way without
that four-wheel articulation. – Rumor has it you can get the entire Utah Jazz in the Mega Cruiser. (rock music) If we can get up and over in this, this is gonna be impressive. Come on Mega Cruiser. – [Greg] Yeah! – Whoo! That was cool. Boom! Yes! – [Greg] Little bump,
we got right over it. (rock music) This is incredible, isn’t it? – [Townsend] This is terrific. – Not even spinning a tire. – No, and we haven’t even taken advantage of the ability to drop PSI. That’s just at the flick
of a switch on this thing. Let’s go to this fire pit
here and just find out what kind of tight circle
we can actually spin. (rock music) You know, for a guy that
does a lot of crawling, there’s a lot of anger in those hands. I love it. (dramatic music) So think about where we
started the day in that FJ40, that 1977, beautiful example,
just how raw that was. To where we are today, with this 2020 Land
Cruiser Heritage edition, you are just surrounded in the full evolution of the Land Cruiser. Everything from a heated steering wheel, heated seats, ventilated
seats, the leather. It’s quiet, it’s refined. In some ways, you’re a little afraid that you might get hazed
if you saw an FJ40 owner. Truth be told, this still is a beast. It still has a lot of that original DNA from the FJ40 back in
the ’60s and the ’70s that really introduced not
only FJ and Land Cruiser, but arguably Toyota to
the American market. So on the 2020 Heritage,
there’s some nice little styling cues that set this
apart from other Land Cruisers. It starts up front with
the darkened housings for the headlights. You can’t miss those bronze wheels though, with the matched bronze stitching inside. Those are lightweight BBS forged wheels. And then, they’ve deleted the side skirts, which can give you a little
extra clearance on the side if you were running a narrow trail. So I’ve got five settings
with crawl speed here, and I’ll start off at the slowest, which is basically like walking
speed or crawling speed. And there’s five settings
all the way up to what I would call a very, very light jog. And it’ll hold that speed
uphill and downhill, making sure you don’t
go too slow or too fast. (rock music) All right, now the reality is, that I’ve made my living the
last 20 years going fast. We’ve been kind of crawling
and slowly massaging our way over some of this terrain, and it’s time to figure out what state-of-the-art
suspension feels like. So let’s open this baby up here. This is kinda like Baja pre-running, as we’re gonna rip this Land Cruiser across some of these washed out sections. And man, it just soaks things up. Really impressive how it takes
all of these bumps at speed. You’re kind of floating on top. Trying to fly the front
end on the throttle here as we come across. And man, it just keeps
taking it and asks for more. That DNA of the Land
Cruiser absolutely found here in the 2020 Heritage edition. Now we come through the river,
we’re gonna gun it here. Let’s get this thing going up on plane. You can hear that 5.7 liter
growl, 381 horsepower. And this thing is meant to go. Throw her in, yee-haw,
come on dog, dig, dig, dig! (rock music) And then once you’re back on the highway, it’s literally like you’re
in an LS Lexus sedan. I mean this thing is
just, it exudes luxury, it’s quiet, it’s serene. So after a rough day out on the trails, you can recover, get that
air conditioned seat on, help yourself cool down,
and you’re good to go. So from the military
vehicles of the early 1950s to this beautiful beast
that I’m driving right here, Land Cruiser has literally
dominated the SUV market for more than half a century, and ruled its class for generations. Which I had the privilege
of enjoying, right here. (dramatic music)

87 thoughts on “MotorTrend Presents: The Land Cruiser Rally

  1. Have a '74 FJ40 They are so fun and love the simplicity!

  2. Toyota Mega Cruiser is so rare!

  3. This channel is the best, we do old truck flips and ripping!

  4. 1st

  5. Can you please upload something related to the SRT 🙂

  6. I have 2 land cruisers …

  7. The FJ40 was the only model worth anything, but even that was deeply flawed but easy to fix

  8. The Fj60 didn't have power windows or power locks. That was the FJ62, which also added fuel injection.

  9. Класс!! Но много зависит от резины.

  10. I ❤️my fzj80!! It’s my DD & Jeep recovery vehicle! 😎 3xlocked baby!

  11. 2:57 you can find a lot FJ40 in Mount Bromo, Indonesia. Local driver use this FJ40 for explore Bromo caldera

  12. ha

  13. 70 series?

  14. I need one that is fj40 can i have it please,,,

  15. 100 series for life!

  16. Used to have an 87 3door in Ireland with a 3.4lt Diesel non turbo. Was used to pull trailers with 4-5 cattle in it and took hills with ease. Front diffs were manual lock and have a manual hand throttle and 2 12v batterys, leaf springs would have to be changed form time to time but it could go anywhere
    J70 with a 3B engine

  17. That 55 may look a bit off, but there's no denying that it's basically a poor-man's Wagoneer. It may not have the looks of a Wagoneer, but it's certainly got personality. I'll give it that much.

  18. You sir are and will be the only driver to take the 200 series off road which is a sad statement for the unintended consumer.

  19. Wow the day after my dad got his 1978 repainted for restoration!

  20. You show a Mega Cruiser but don't show the 70 series? THE Land Cruiser that the entire world has been using for over 3 decades???

  21. Сколько легенд машиностроения. 👍🏻

  22. I love the display of FJs, gotta visit! However calling the 55 "kinda the first SUV" really ignores the fact Kaiser did that back in 1949 when they made the 4WD Willys Jeep Station Wagon

  23. can i get a cooled steering wheel, so my hands don't burn when the car is parked in the sun?

  24. Mr Bell for President!!!

  25. Hate the host

  26. Great video, More 200 series please.

  27. Currently dailying a 267k lx470! #100Series

  28. Have a 1976 FJ45. LCs are the best. I just have one question.

    Why did you snub the 70 series?

  29. How far are you guys at Motortrend disconnected from reality? You totally didn't even mention the 70 series. If you gathered up the whole world, and asked everyone what they thought of when you say "Land Cruiser", it would be a 70 series. It's been in constant production since 1984. It is the quintessential ideal of what the Land Cruiser name means, and is the direct replacement for the always-loved J40s. You even showed a Megacruiser which isn't even a Land Cruiser and wasn't ever sold in the USA, so I can't even assume you were only showing US models.
    Snubbing the 70 series in a documentary about Land Cruisers, when the founder of the museum's personal Land Cruiser he drove on all those continents, is a 70!

  30. Land Cruiser owner for life #landcruiser

  31. Unfortunately the FZJ70 didn’t sell in America, I had one overseas with the 1FZ 24 valves 4.5 liters engine, it was a beast.

  32. We have a FJ 40 in our house…..but no one uses it anymore because it is old

  33. You guys need to experience the Australian variants of the Land cruisers. Unique to the world, and with variants from indestructible mining spec to the pure luxury of the 200 series, and Australia being a showpiece for Toyota's engineering, the trip would be worth it. 👍👍🇦🇺

  34. Pretty much the top 4wd in Australia! Don't go into the outback without one!! 😁😏👍

  35. You forgot the 75 and 79Series!!!

  36. Didn’t even mention the best cruiser made, 79 series everyday 🤙🏽

  37. HAHAHA the US got petrol 200 series, We got the 4.5 v8 twin turbo diesel in Australia.. American is missing out!

  38. Daily 55 driver for the last 24 years

  39. My 100 series is my baby 2.5 OME lift, full dissentoffroad front bumper custom ditch lights and rocklights

  40. the new land cruiser is just too expensive… starting at 85k…! you could have 2 built 4runners for that price

  41. There hasn't been a single day of my life where my family has not owned a Land Cruiser. I was practically born in one and I still drive it today!

  42. this dude is so cringy "lets send it" imma head out

  43. yes u didnt mention the mighty 1992 75 series 1hz diesle ute i own here in austraila plus i own the 1989 60 series mine with 5 speed full electrics gxl….lots different to your sixty…….and roads you tested are like a highway around my area…… didnt test these old cruisers through muddy and wet areas they would of got bogged with no diff lockers installed in them

  44. I´ve got an 80 series. Love it!!

  45. Greg Miller is a Rock Star !

  46. 80 series was not that last cruiser to have solid front axle! You would think reporting straight from the greatest collection on earth you would of done more research. 2006 brought us the LAST solid front axle cruiser being the 105 series

  47. Where’s the worlds greatest drag race 9?

  48. 21 minutes of cringe…


  50. U make Fjcruise price go to the moon dude

  51. The FJ55 didn't follow the FJ40 they were still making 40's for about 5 years into the FJ60 production

  52. 12:00 Retractable antenna were the most selling spare part until every owner realized that a flex antenna was the solution !

  53. One minute of silence for not having the 70’ in America

  54. Call me crazy but I've been seeing shows and magazines covering Land Cruisers more this past year. It's almost like Toyota might actually be trying to ramp up advertising for Land Cruisers for once here in the US. I hope this is a good sign that they are looking to bring something new to the US market with a Land Cruisers badge.

  55. Great vid but most of that terrain could have been done in 2WD. And missing the 70 Series is sacrilegious.

  56. It's a toss up between the Jeep CJ 7 and the FJ 40 slight nod to the CJ but hands down I'd take a Wagoneer over a 55

  57. I'm surprised the 70 series wasn't in the lineup. The museum has lots of them including ones that went on all seven continents.

  58. If you want to know about Landcruisers you need to come to Australia.

  59. I like the FJ-55 the best. I'm not one for leather and a soft ride. I like the hard core old style 4×4's more than the new ones.
    I guess I am showing my age.

    Plate C

  60. 70 series?

  61. It should be noted that calling any Land Cruiser an "FJ" is sloppy nomenclature. Acceptable shorthand when referring to a Land Cruiser would be to call it by its series number: 40, 55, 60, 70, 80, etc.

  62. 7:08 if the 50-series is the "first SUV", what's an FJ40?

  63. Love my 80 series!

  64. Nope… The last Landcruiser made with a solid front axle was the FZJ105.

  65. I am an avid LandCruiser fan, but this guy is awful to listen to. He ruined this for me and I was really looking forward to this when I first saw the trailer.

  66. Mega-Cruisers were originally built for the Japanese Military.. Pretty sure that the only other market to get them from the factory was the Middle East..
    There are a few that were imported by individuals, second hand to a few other countries ut very few.
    They take up a lane and a half on a highway.

    Sadly the majority of reasons the 70 wasn’t sent state side is due to emissions.
    He has got many facts wrong though….

    Oh well, here in NEW ZEALAND we get and have them all!! Ok except the mega-Cruiser

  67. This only makes me want an 80 series more than ever. Thanks motor trend.

  68. No 70 series. Bit of a disappointment, best cruiser of them all.

  69. Isis car

  70. Well dam, now I’m on Autotrader lookin for a Land Cruiser.

  71. A landcruiser documentary is not complete without the 70 series.

  72. Your hitting the bumps in in the 80 series on the python, you weren't being bounced around in you seat!

  73. The fj55 is beautiful.

  74. Fj80 with 24 valve turbo diesel, manual and 3 locking diffs would be the one I would like.

  75. What about the 150 series? Cursed are those who do not have the 70 series

  76. FJ55's (Iron pig) were not made until 1968, it was the FJ45lv in the early 60's. I know because I let one get away! Doh!
    I currently own a 1963 FJ40,stock. A 69' fj40 heavily modified but not fully built yet. A 1983 Fj40 Overlander, and a 99 UZJ100 family wagon!

  77. god i love land cruisers

  78. They also didn't mentioned the j9, j12, j15 series beside the good old 7 series. This is a shame.

  79. That was impressive. Never seen a Toyota Mega truck in action. Utah was simply beautiful.
    The video production values superlative. I just had to congratulate MotorTrend you knocked it out of the park.
    For the knockers they can come drive my old 70series truck which is more of the same it’s stuck in the 80s even though it’s manufactured in 2014.

  80. Excellent! Also glad to see the piece of trash FJ Cruiser was not put in video.

  81. I used to have a BJ40 , really miss it now, It was such a practical vehicle for serious 4x4ing, And i bet there are many that wouldnt understand what im talking about

  82. I sure do love me a Land Cruiser

  83. The j100 as j105 model also had a solid front axle and why is the j7 series missing?

  84. Wtf I see ful videos….maybe they're sick

  85. I wish dirt every day and Roadkill were still put on the tube,I'm too cheap to pay for MT. Y'all need to stop being greedy and put more free episodes back up.

  86. The 80 series wasn't the first to have coil springs it was the 70 series

  87. The FJ55, the original SUV!?! The Jeep Wagoneer was in production four years before the 55.

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