Toyota Motor Corporation in order to expand its 4WD lineup manufactured a series of 4WD vehicles called the Toyota Land Cruiser. It is important to note here that Toyota’s Land Cruiser has nothing to do with the Studebaker Land Cruiser manufactured and sold in United States between 1934 and 1954.
Toyota started working on the first generation Land Cruiser somewhere around 1951 which was initially a jeep-like vehicle. The first generation Toyota Land Cruiser went into production in 1954. Variety of different versions of Land Cruiser has been produced up till now including convertible, hardtop, station wagon and utility truck. Land Cruiser gained a lot of fame all across the world, particularly in Australia where it is one of the best-selling body-on-frame, full-size, four-wheel drive vehicle considering its reliability, longevity and endurance.
In 1941 when the Imperial Japanese Army took hold of the Philippines, they came across an old Bantam MkII which they immediately brought to Japan. The Japanese military authorities guided the Toyota to build a same vehicle but not to base its design on American Jeep as a result of which the prototype model AK built.
In 1942, the Toyota manufactured a 1/2 ton prototype light truck called AK10 under the directions of Japanese government. Some of the characteristic features of the truck were an upright front grille, flat front wheel arches angling down and back similar to FJ40, headlights fitted above the wheel arches and a folding windshield.
The AK10 featured the 2259cc, 4-cylinder Type C engine taken used in the Toyota Model AE sedan mated to three-speed manual transmission and two-speed transfer gearbox attached to it.
BJ and FJ
BJ and FJ were produced from 1951 to 1955. The first Toyota Jeep BJ prototype was built in January 1951. It went into regular production at Toyota Honsya Plant (Rolling chassis assembly) while body assembly and painting was done at Arakawa Bankin Kogyo KK (later became ARACO), in 1953. The name Land Cruiser was first suggested by the technical director Hanji Umehara in 1954.
From 1955 to 1960, Toyota produced the second generation 20 series. It was offered in different body styles including: 2-door Softtop; 2-door Hardtop; 2-door pickup truck and 4-door Station wagon.
The 20 series was upgraded to 40 series in 1960. The company was involved in the production of FJ40 from 1960 to 1984.
The 50 series remained in production from 19 67 to 1980. It was a 4-door station wagon based on FJ40’s drivetrain.
The Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60 remained in production and marketed from 1981 to 1987. A front mounted, four-door wagon which can accommodate five to seven passengers. It offered 4WD as well.
70 and 80 Series
70 series launched in 1984 as a soft-top, hard-top, FRP top, utility, cab-chassis, and Troop Carrier. Since its first appearance, it has been in production until now.
The Land Cruiser 80 or Lexus LX 450 was first appeared in 1989 as a four-door SUV. It was discontinued in 1997.
90 and 100 Series
The Land Cruiser 90 or Land Cruiser Prado was first appeared in 1996 in two versions including a 3-door short wheelbase and a 5-door long wheelbase.
The 100-series Land Cruiser or Lexus LX 470 replaced the 8 year old 80 series in 1998. It remained into the production till 2007 and then discontinued.
The redesigned model of Land Cruiser is referred to as 200 series. The company redesigned its Land Cruiser for the year 2008. It is also called Lexus LX 570.